Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Intentional Life Project...2014 Goals and Progress

Here are New Year's Resolutions from the past.  Sometimes I add on later.  Some never get checked off.

In college I learned a lot from an assessment on StrengthsQuest and discovered that I have a strength in planning for the future.  It was eye-opening to my (ignorant, young) self that people who were not planners were NOT LAZY, they were just stronger in and more oriented toward "present" or "past" tasks, ideas, hobbies, interests, ways of thinking.  Like many people of the planning persuasion, I have fairly religiously made annual goals/resolutions each year and revisited them at the end of the year.  (See above.)  My significant other is not a natural planner, but reluctantly joined my tradition a few years ago, and now HE is excited to revisit them and reminds ME to revisit them every SIX months, instead of annually!
Although it's not right on time (you can't wait until January to start everything!), I've decided to meld my goals for this year into the Intentional Life Project.  Linking up with Bre,  Ginny, Erica , Emily, and Jacqueline, who are also updating their progress and tips for this project.

  • Visit mother (out-of-state, same coast) since we'll move across country soon.
  • Take vitamins and use my Vitamix to make and drink smoothies more regularly.  My mother always reminds me to take vitamins.  My Vitamix recipe photos go viral on Pinterest.
 ===> PROGRESS:  I visited my mother for the longest ever! 10 Days!  It's rare that she was between jobs and had time to hang out, and my stepdad (who has a serious illness) was feeling well and in good spirits, so the trip was better than I could have hoped for.  I was nervous about being a polite houseguest for so long, since my stepdad has a hard time dealing with company, my gluten free diet makes eating a bit difficult, and my mother can treat me like a child at times.  
My boyfriend sent me with a gift:  a box of cards he wrote for each of the 10 days I was gone.

Before I left, my marine surprised me with a gift to open when I got to my mom's.  It was a box of greeting cards, one for me to open each day, with greetings and well-wishes and motivating words written inside from him and our furbabies.  It was very romantic and sweet (and extra special, since this type of thoughtfulness is not a habit of his, with all due respect, remember- he's not a planner)!  

***Karma?***After my divorce, when I was learning how to be a girlfriend again, I sent a card a day to my new boyfriend (at the time) while I was out-of-town for the holidays and when I got back, the jerk rudely, passive-aggressively, and purposely made a show (in front of me) of begrudgingly retrieving a bunch of them, unopened, out of the mailbox to illustrate how little he thought of the gesture.  At the time, it made me feel like he viewed me as desperate and trying too hard (hey, I was trying to correct the mistakes from my divorce and give out more attention).  Now, I feel redeemed!  I enjoyed receiving the cards from my CURRENT and BEST boyfriend, and have kept them in the box on my dresser ever since.

Regarding the vitamins and smoothies, I'd say I've been doing smoothies all week, biweekly.  Vitamins,  about every-other-day, which is an improvement.

===> FEBRUARY GOALS (Intentional Life Project monthly focus of Health):  
  • Learn to speak some Norwegian. (I'm a Viking by heritage.  Puts some pieces into place, doesn't it?)  Keeping my mind active and healthy, always learning new things. Challenging new things!
  • Eat healthier and increase workouts to 4 times per week.
In March, I began Norwegian lessons in person.  He is pleased with my progress! Greit!
Norwegian woman.  Viking.  Vikings show.

  • As of March, I am working out 5x per week.  I began working as an "extra" on Vampire Diaries to pay for a new "fancy" gym from our "has seen better days" crossfit gym.  I have been doing a 5k weekly, taking a swim class (water resistance!) and also tried new classes:  Sh'Bam!, Le Barre, and Kardio Funk.
===> MARCH GOALS (Intentional Life Project monthly focus of Money):  
    • Earn $ by teaching a Zen Doodle class at a nearby spiritual center seeking instructors.
    • Research expected expenses for our move to California this summer and discuss a "rough" budget with my marine.  
    • Save the tax returns.
    ===> PROGRESS:
    • I prepared for and taught the class.  Only a couple people turned up, but it was fun.  I probably will change the topic if I do it again so the price can be more attractive to people.  It'd be easier if I didn't have to give half my earnings to the center as well.  I have not been paid yet.
    • My Leatherneck and I  had a "fro-yo" date and wrote the budget on a napkin.  It was fun.
    • Saved the tax returns.  

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

    And...We're Off!

    As a military family, we certainly aren't accustomed to letting the grass grow under our feet.  My previous post established that we were awaiting military orders, and they were taking a long time.  My marine's replacement has known he'll be coming to Atlanta since September.  I was being pretty patient until it got to the point where my pets would have to suffer in quarantine because I wouldn't be able to meet the time required to get them to Hawaii (no rabies there, big pet process to keep it that way) or Japan or Europe if any of those places became our destination.  My marine has put Camp Pendleton as his first choice for 15 years, unsuccessfully.  For recruiting, we got to choose 5 from 18 available cities.  Neither of us wanted Buffalo or Des Moines, so he picked Seattle and Phoenix, while. I picked Chicago and Atlanta, and we both picked Ft. launder dale to be near family.  We were happy it was Atlanta, but annoyed that as a native of Ft. Launderdale he still didn't get it.  As for our current situation, my marine figured we'd find out by. Jan. or Feb.  I'm the pragmatic one who believes there are no promises in life nor in the military, so I didn't expect news until March for our move in June/July.

    After mid-March came and went, I began (tongue-in-cheek) asking my marine like an excited child every night, "Did we get orders yet?"at random moments, making both of us chuckle because we know that if he had gotten them, I certainly wouldn't need to ask him to tell me.  Now, I am not keen  on receiving the notice from my marine via a distracted, life-altering, phone call where he drops a  bomb at 7 AM and then has to rush to hang up and get back to work.  Most people do it that way since it's the most intuitive and natural.  I suffered through that once (he was randomly accepted to a school to which he did not apply, which uprooted him a year or two early from 29 Palms several  months after we had met in CA.  He found out when a Colonel shook his hand randomly while passing in a hallway to congratulate him on his acceptance, much to my marine's shock) and prefer to never have it happen like that again, where I'm left to get through the longest day ever, carbonated                   thoughts bubbling up and me trying to tamp them down until we get home and can pop the cork      together.

    So, I am not working, since often the timing of my employment 'under-laps' (I try to avoid overlaps!) with our moves.  I have been booking gigs as an extra on Vampire Diaries and teaching an art class to pay for a fancy gym  membership (heated pools in & outside, sauna,jacuzzi, new equipment, classes  galore) and I love it.   Since I make it a point to not let my life revolve around my marine's work hours (no clock-watching, texting when will u b home? Eta?), I was coming home from the gym one night and I opened the front door to darkness, the odor of char/smoke, and Dr.Dre's "California Love"  blaring.  Then, I turned and saw my marine standing next to the dining room table (with lit candles atop gluten free cupcakes from Gluten Free Cutie) with the most enormous, dazzling smile, arms outstretched, wearing a t-shirt with the California state flag on it.  Never one to make assumptions, I broke through the noise of the music to ask if it was 29 Palms (desert, where he was when we met) or Camp Pendleton (beach, his perennial first choice that he never has gotten). His response was to                                                             make a surfing motion and say, "Babe, if it was 29 (Palms), I'd be blowing sand in your face with a hot blow dryer right now."  We hugged and his smile hasn't faded since.  He is on Cloud 9.

     I'd have preferred Hawaii or Europe (our 2nd and 3rd choices since my choice of Atlanta won out last time so I let him pick the first spot), but am ecstatic that he finally got his dream job in his dream locale.  Having resided in SoCal for 13 years, I was not in a hurry to go back just yet.  I own a home in California, but it's too far from the military base for us to live in it.  Plus, I'm in this life for the adventure of it.  That said, even after all that time, I have never lived by the beach nor been north of San Francisco in that giant, banana-shaped state! So, the relief of not getting Camp Lejeune (North Carolina military town where I probably would have to live in Charleston to keep my sanity, forcing my marine to drive 4 hours to visit me on weekends) coupled with his elation and beach living has  me brimming with excitement for our next  chapter.  Stay tuned...                                                            
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    Monday, March 3, 2014

    Life...On Pause

    Many people sum up military life with the phrase "hurry up, then wait".  After over 4 years of military life, I agree. We are on the last few months of his 36 month B-billet (random job in between deployments/real job assignment).  This means, my marine, who is trained as an infantry officer, was selected by a board of Colonels (and Generals?) to command the Recruiting Station in Georgia for the Marine Corps.  
    From billboards to medical processing to the boot camp bus, my marine is in charge of 15 recruiter stations for most of the state of Georgia.  Over 100 marines and over 900 kids waiting to get into the USMC are his responsibility.  His boss is in another state, so the buck stops with him.  While he loves teaching his recruiters how to give presentations to classes of high school kids, giving speeches himself at Glazier Football Coaches Clinics and H.S. Principal Conferences on Leadership and Ethics,

    The U.S. Marine Corps is renowned for its leadership and organizational strategies.  This is why my marine has met with Atlanta's Mayor Reed as well as Glazier Football Coaches clinics (!shameless! brag alert:  my marine has been rated #2 speaker in the nation at these clinics, just behind SF 49ers coach Jim Harbough).  He has also been invited to speak at many school and community events, especially around Veteran's Day.
    and just helping his wo/men make their mission and fulfill the dreams of young people toward becoming marines and young leaders, his heart belongs in the field/the fleet, training a battalion for deployment or preparing humanitarian missions for disaster relief across the globe.  It kills him to think that the leathernecks he trained are deployed without him.  Marines don't want to be "sitting on the bench", they want to be "in the mix", using their skills and doing what they do best. 

     For more on the often asked question, "Why do they like and want to deploy?" watch Battleground Afghanistan (my grunt would be equivalent to the guy who never sleeps on there, the Captain, since he hasn't deployed as a Major yet) and read the book No Easy Day.  That book is about the Seals, but the writer conveys the attitude about yearning to deploy to a tee.  If you watch Army Wives, as I'm often asked, my equivalent would be closest to Denise, although TV moves their careers much faster, so we are a rank or two below where they were, last I checked.

    My marine is what is lovingly and proudly known as a "grunt" in the Corps.  Uber-smart, National Merit Scholars, who earned full college scholarships have a plethora of career opportunities open to them.  But, even as a child, he was often wearing military clothing and running around the woods in Florida with a fake rifle planning battles.  His mother has a Mother's Day mug made by him in 3rd grade that has tanks and big explosions drawn all over it.  His mother was a teacher and his father an artist, so being a marine seemed to have come out of nowhere.  We now know it was his calling.  As an only child, the marines are his true brothers.  He is a charismatic, natural born leader.  I can't imagine him ever working in a cubicle.
    So, while recruiting isn't any grunt's first choice of duty station (the 2011 Military Spouse of the Year proclaimed Recruiting Duty as far worse than 4 deployments due to the stress and 70+ hour work weeks), we have made the best of it, and enjoyed living more of a "civilian life", away from military installations.  We have explored and completed a bucket list of activities for the state of Georgia, from hiking the Appalachian Trail, to visiting Martin Luther King's church.  Now, we are ready to say, "Bye, y'all"!
    Image courtesy of DigitalArt at

    So, we will move in a few months.  And the destination is yet "unknown".  We submitted our geographical preferences.  Any day now, he will come home from work with a present for me to open.  Inside will be some token or trinket symbolic of our next duty station.  It will be our 4th move in 6 years.  Then the pause button will be lifted and a frantic house-hunting, budgeting, and packing mission will begin.  We are on this adventure together.  I had my dream career as a teacher for 13 years.  I'm happy and proud to support him in his 15th year of his dream career.

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