Shopping on Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day. Like most grateful American I want to thank all those in the armed forces for their service, including my father and my cousins. I’ve written about the veterans in my family before, here and here.

Today in observance of Veterans Day, I had the day off from work. Like most busy, working moms I was grateful for the extra day off. I decided to use the time to get do some chores around the house that have been bugging me.  I wanted clean out some of my closets. I started with my linen closet.

My linen closet before the purge and reorganization.

My linen closet before the purge and re-organization.

I was making some good progress that was derailed when I stopped to run some errand to one of my favorite stores, Banana Republic. I intended to be really quick but I found they were having a huge sale and I stayed much longer.  I got as far as cleaning out my linen closet, and didn’t have time to clean out my own closet.

Too bad because I had a successful trip and Banana Republic and now I have no place to put away the clothes I just bought. I guess I’ll have to wait until the next holiday and day off from work,  Thanksgiving.  Followed by Black Friday. Oh no!

Happy Veterans Day! Happy Shopping!

My linen closet after the purge. Now I have room for more towels!

My linen closet after the purge. Now I have room for more towels!

 

Sunday Offerings – Veterans Day

Today was Veterans Day, a holiday to honor those who have served in our country’s armed services. Since I am a government employee who gets this day off from work, I like Veterans Day, but in the last several years the holiday has become more to me than just a day away from the office. Perhaps it’s because I have come to appreciate the sacrifice that the veterans have made to ensure our freedoms. Veterans like my dad, and my cousin who graduated from West Point and whose daughter graduated from West Point too. My dad speaks proudly of his time in the army–how it changed him and how he feels a brotherhood with fellow veterans. I sometimes get a lump in my throat when I witness the patriotism of our veterans and am so thankful by their dedication to service.

Last Memorial Day our church celebrated the holiday with a veteran from our parish community offering the American flag during the offertory. My dad, who doesn’t usually attend my church happened to be there that day. When a church staff member was scrambling looking for a veteran to carry the flag, she saw my dad wearing his American flag lapel pin and asked if he was a veteran . My dad proudly stated, “Of course.” Then she asked him if he wouldn’t mind carrying the flag. Well, my dad said , “I would be honored.” Of course he would. He may have been a Catholic in an Episcopal church but he’s still a veteran. He is proud of his service, as I am. So, to my dad and the thousands who have served, thank you.

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Veterans’ Day for Dad

Here’s a re-post of an earlier tribute to my dad, an army veteran who served in the Panama Canal Zone. Happy Veterans’ Day to you, Dad and all those who have served, and are serving. Thank you.

Today is Veteran’s Day and I want to add my words of gratitude to all those who have served in the armed forces, especially my cousins,  and my Dad.

My dad didn’t talk too much about his experience in the army when I was younger, and apart from my awareness that he had served,  I really didn’t know much about his experience.  He speaks more about it lately.  He served in his early twenties, in the army. According to my dad, it was good experience for him because it helped give him discipline and focus and provided him a career direction in the aerospace industry.  My dad’s Spanish-speaking skills also gave him the opportunity to be stationed in Panama–an experience he recounts fondly.  He is proud of his service, as he should be.  And although our family may not have recognized this day and celebrated with my dad in the past, today I want to say thank you Dad, and let you know that we are proud of you too.

Dad in the Panama Canal Zone, 1953

The Writing Prompt, a Tool for the Tired Brain.

It’s late. I have been working at my computer all day. Writing. Editing. But, not the kind of writing and editing that stirs my creative soul or stimulates the right side of my brain. It’s the kind of writing I do all day at my job. You know, the job that pays the bills. The job where I edit legal documents, draft factual crime summaries, and write affidavits for the victims whose lives are traumatized by crime. So, now my work day is over, dinner is done, dishes are washed and kids are asleep; and as part of November’s daily blog post challenge,  I am supposed to blog. I am supposed to write about something. Anything. Or not. I got nothing.

So, instead of writing about something that came to me in the middle of a giant brainstorm, I turn to a tool I have never used before, the writer’s prompt. I need it today, I spent the entire day working on documents for a murder case. A prompt is supposed to stir an idea, and in this case, it’s offerred to bloggers who are participating in November’s post a day challenge. The prompt changes daily and is posted at the web site hosting the National Blog Posting Month challenge. I clicked on the site and scrolled down to today’s prompt:

“Has anything traumatic ever happened to you? Describe the scene surrounding a particular event.”

Huh?

Didn’t I say I was tapped out? Didn’t I write about enough trauma today?

I thought about the traumatic events of my life. Certainly,  nothing could compare to some of the trauma crime victims experience. But, still there must be something? I could talk about the traumatic birth experience I had with Nico. No, I’ve dealt with enough graphic scenes today.  I could write about the trauma of my divorce, but that is just exhausting and I don’t want to delve into that emotional abyss. So, how about a little light-hearted trauma? Is there even such a thing?

The closest thing I can recall to a light-hearted traumatic event is the experience I had when I was a child,  camping with my family in Mammoth Lakes and fishing along the Owens Valley River. My dad loved to stream fish. My brother did too. As for me and my sister, we liked it okay until we became too frustrated by the lost bait and tangled lines, and when we grew too bored waiting for the “big one.” We would often end up abandoning our poles and create games to play along the water’s edge, like catching minnows in the marshy banks.

After I discovered a large school of baby fish, I left my pole with my father,  who was still fishing along the bank and asked my mother for a paper cup so that I could scoop up the fish.  I returned to the riverbank and found an area along the marshy bank where the tall grass provided a natural pool for the fish. Here the water seemed still, even though all around the river moved swiftly. My father was still fishing upstream, about 15 feet away. I bent down to scoop up the fish, and fell in the cold water. I found myself sinking under the cold, cloudy water. I did not feel panic, rather I felt surprise to be underwater.  I looked up and could see the clear blue sky and the deep green marsh grass along the riverbank. That must have been the moment I realized where I was. I was disoriented but I managed to surface enough to grab a hold of the tall grass, and pull my head above the water. I could see my father drop his fishing pole and begin running towards me. I saw a flash of red from his jacket and a blur of brown from his shoes, as he approached me. The panicked expression on my father’s face as he stood above me made me  realize the seriousness of the situation. I became aware of the current moving swiftly around me and under me. I felt the grass begin to give way, its roots loosening from the muddy bank, and I felt the panic set in me. I don’t know if my father jumped in or reached in to grab me, but suddenly I felt myself being lifted out of the water. Being lifted out of the water,  shocked to me as much as the cold water temperature did when I fell in. The fear in my father’s eyes sent me into a greater shock and I gasped for air, coughing up the water I did not realize I swallowed, and choking on my great,  heaving sobs, which appeared from nowhere. I was cold, wet and scared. My mother came from the car with a blanket.  The rest is a blur. But, to hear my dad’s version of the story, the current was swift and if not for his fast action, I would have been swept away

My father has told this story before. I don’t know now if my own memory of this incident has blurred with his re-telling of it, but, I have a strong sense that my initial reaction was not panic. Rather my initial reaction was disorientation, and then realization, followed by my natural instinct to save myself.  It was not until I experienced  the reaction of those around me that I began to panic. Looking back at this incident, and other traumatic events in my life, I think that I probably have experienced these events the same way, with my survival instinct helping me to surface from disorientation, and my family pulling me to safety.

Fishing without the drowning part.

Past and Present

Yeah! You found me. It wasn’t that hard. So, now that you are here, let me show you around. Above, is my new banner. One of my favorite things in life are old pictures. I especially love looking at old photos of people in my family. The photo on the far left  in my banner is of my grandmother and my grandfather on their honeymoon. It was taken in about 1930 when they travelled to Venice Beach, California from Airzona. My grandmother was just 16 years old and my grandfather was 21.  I love this photo because my grandparents look so young and are such a handsome couple. Even though my grandmother was 97 when she died last June, and had aged so much, I could still look at her and see glimpses of the girl in the photo. It’s hard to see, but my grandmother is wearing an interesting piece of costume jewlery, which she gave to me a few years ago. I still have it and I wear it now and then.

The middle photo is of my mother, taken when she was about 15 years-old. She is wearing a Mexican folkorico dance costume, which was made by my grandmother. My mother was, and is, a very good dancer. She especially loved to dance traditional Mexican folk dances, and she instilled the love of folkorico dance and music in me too. I grew up learning and performing some of  the dances she had performed.

The other black and white photo is of my father when he was about three or four years-old. I love this photo because it’s one of the few photos I have seen of my father when he was a boy.  In this photo I think he looks like a little prince. My father was raised by his adoptive mother and grandmother. They were two strong women who supported themselves and got by on very little income. He tells me that these women always took very good care of him and made sure he was well dressed. I think this photo shows all of that.

The last photo is one of my favorites too, although not because it’s old. It’s actually the first portrait that Juan and I took with the kids as a family. It was taken about 5 years ago so it’s a bit dated, but I still love it,  if not for the mere fact that we all are looking at the camera at the right time and smiling. Do you know how challenging that is? I love that this photo captures a moment in my family’s life. And I love that this banner, captures some of the bits and pieces of my family history, merging into my own family today.

So, now that I have shown you around, I hope you feel comfortable and would like to stay awhile. Leave me a comment. Subscribe to my blog. Follow me on Twitter. Like me on Facebook. Or just come by whenever you like. I will be here, blogging about my well blended life.