Wednesday, 31 December 2008
Our Synagogue always has a talent show before we pray in the New Year.
This year, Mark and I are going to take part. It is a very simple dance, without a lot of motion so that it is easy on my hip and leg.
I have added some of my dance stretches to my PT and it helps. My right leg muscles are beginning to loosen up, but there is still pain. But I am able to do so much more.
After the talent show, we are returning to our little love nest and bring in the New Year.
Slow dancing of course.
I have to be honest, I got this idea from Quaker Oats.
Many years ago, Quaker Oat came out with various flavors in its variety pack. I would take one plain pack and mix one of the flavored ones into it for my son. He loved it.
So, I found it cheaper to buy a gallon plastic container. One quart box of Quaker Oats. A cup of cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, chopped dry banana chips and pecans. Mix all of this in the gallon container and shake well to mix. Sometimes I make plain Oatmeal with a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips and dried strawberries. Yes, it is a little work, but much cheaper than the instant.
In a sauce pan, I use a teaspoon of honey, two drops of almond oil, pat of butter and a pinch of sea salt. Let warm and then stir in your oatmeal.
For Diabetics, cut your spices, dry fruit in half and do not use honey. You can also forgot the fruit if you wish honey.
While the nuts are a nice touch, if you are allergic to nuts, do not add.
And for the record, I love Oatmeal cookies.
Tuesday, 30 December 2008
Monday, 29 December 2008
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
– Lin Yutang
Pt went will today. Mark had to go and get a Pet Scan to make sure the Cancer did not return. My therapist is pleased and now that I am no longer using the crutches to now start practicing lifting up my ribcage so I can start standing straight once again.
She reminds me that this is going to be slow going, but worth it in the long run.
I feel badly, however, since at this time I should be working atleast part-time to help out and I can't work at all.
But I have to keep giving myself the same sermon I give others: our hopes doesn't lie in the stars, a President or in ourselves, but in G-d. G-d has taken care of us in the past and He will do it again.
And that is the reason for this season; as a nation, these looked bad for the Jewish people. But G-d stepped in and we won! We got the Temple back. Yes, it was a bloodly mess (pig's blood had been spilled on the altar) and there was only enough for one night.
But Oil lasted eight nights. G-d doesn't always show up at the time you wish or even how you think, but He does.
That is why this is the season of Hope.
It has been a wonderful day, but I would a do-over.
If you are familiar with the game The Sims, you know if things go wrong, you can re-do the game by not saving.
Real life isn't like that.
This morning my arm hit my coffee cup and went all over the keyboard. Now half the keys don't work and we have to sent it back to the company to have it repaired. However, our warrity doesn't cover accidents, so we have to pay 419.00 to get my baby back up and running.
So, now I am using the Laptop I gave Mark to take to Iraq and he is trying to update the older laptop we have.
But it has for the most part been a happy Hanuakkah and once I get the pictures downloaded, I will post them.
The first night of Hanuakkkah we had two families join us. Mark and I made sweet pototoes latkahs and salmon cakes, served jelly dounuts and cheese cake. We each lit the lights and played dreid and of course told the story of Hanuakkah.
There were three girls, two teens and a little one, and all had so many questions. They were thrilled to realize they remembered so much from Mr.Howard's class.
But the best part: even with both sinks full of dishes and the kitchen needing cleaning, it was still good to share the evening with my beloved.
Sunday, 21 December 2008
Friday, 19 December 2008
It is a cold, dreay day here in Virginia, but nice a cozy in the Reel Home. It is a several hours before Shabbat and of course we are getting ready for this special time as well as Hannuakkah. Mark and I are trying a new tea we found: eggnogg.
It's not bad for the season, but not something I would wish every day.
We have all of the Channukiahs in each window (except the bathroom) and they now just wait to be lit Sunday evening, the first night of Hannuakkah. I have stopped for a few minutes to finish up the Hannuakkah Kippur I am making for Mark.
Pictures to follow.
I am sore from PT, but feeling good. In fact, I realize I didn't take my medication last night or this morning. I have taken some now. My Therapist is really pleased with my progress. And so am I. But I am also wise enough not to over due things.
Besides, Mark won't let me.
Thursday, 18 December 2008
WASHINGTON (Dec. 18) - President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday defended his choice of a popular evangelical minister to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, rejecting criticism that it slights gays. The selection of Pastor Rick Warren brought objections from gay rights advocates, who strongly supported Obama during the election campaign. The advocates are angry over Warren's backing of a California ballot initiative banning gay marriage. That measure was approved by voters last month.
But Obama told reporters in Chicago that America needs to "come together," even when there's disagreement on social issues. "That dialogue is part of what my campaign is all about," he said.
Obama also said he's known to be a "fierce advocate for equality" for gays and lesbians, and will remain so.
Warren, a best-selling author and leader of a Southern California megachurch, is one of a new breed of evangelicals who stress the need for action on social issues such as reducing poverty and protecting the environment, alongside traditional theological themes.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights organization, said Warren's opposition to gay marriage is a sign of intolerance.
"We feel a deep level of disrespect when one of the architects and promoters of an anti-gay agenda is given the prominence and the pulpit of your historic nomination," the group said in a letter to Obama, asking him to reconsider.
Obama's selection of Warren is seen as a signal to religious conservatives that the president-elect will listen to their views. During the campaign, Warren interviewed Obama and Republican John McCain in a widely watched television program that focused on religious concerns.
The holiday originated when Judah the Maccabee and his followers reclaimed the temple in the village of Modi’in from Syrian King Antiochus IV.
The temple was cleansed and prepared for rededication. The Hebrew word Hanukkah means “dedication.” When the sacred temple Menorah (candelabra) was relit, there was only enough sacred oil to burn for one day. Yet, according to tradition, the oil miraculously lasted eight days until more purified oil could be found.
A lesser known story from the Apocrypha tells of the beautiful widow Judith who plied enemy Assyrian General Holofernes with cheese and wine until he fell into a drunken stupor. Judith beheaded the general in his sleep, and his soldiers fled in fear, thus saving her people from the Assyrians. This story is the subject of much renowned artwork.
In remembrance, a candle is lit each of the eight days of Hanukkah. Children receive gifts of gelt (in remembrance of the coins minted by the new independent Maccabee state) or money and play games of dreidel (a spinning four-sided top.) The tradition of receiving a gift on each of the eight days of Hanukkah is fairly recent. Since Christians exchange gifts at Christmas, Jews have come to exchange gifts other than coins at Hanukkah, which comes at the same time of the year.
You will also see this holiday spelled Chanukkah and perhaps even Hannukah due to different translations and customs.
This week's book choice is a no-brainer.
A Christmas Carol. Written in 1843, it is still in print. And while there are many movie versions out; some good, some not so good, the book is still the best. Charles Dickens paints a wonderful tale that gives you a good, scare, a good laugh as well as a good think. Without a doubt, his best work.
The morale is one is never too old to change.
But I think there is a deeper truth.
The Spirit Present states, the Child born in Bethlehem doesn't live in Man's hearts one day of the year but in all 365.
Does He? Does He really live in the hearts of us who claim to be followers of this Child, no longer a Babe in a manger, all the year?
At the end, Scrooge vowed to change his ways, and it wasn't just "keeping Christmas" Christmas Day, but for the rest of his life, touching the lives of all who knew him this time as a blessing and not a curse.
I believe there are lessons as to how to treat our fellow human beings in this Ghostly Tale.
Mark has never read A Christmas Carol, so this year, we are reading it at bedtime before our evening prayers.
The discussions are awesome.
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
We need to start getting the house ready for Hanuakkah.
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
An Old Farmer's Advice:
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
*Leave the rest to G-d.
Today is a quiet day. While Mark is at the unemployment office, I am working on Yosef's quilt and quite determine to finish it this week. It is going to look a little different than I first started, but I also think the outcome is better.
Today is also my friend Debbie's birthday. We have a tradition of getting together for each other's birthday since we became friends years also. And when I married Mark, he was blessed to be added to the mix. This year, because of the car accident, Debbie and Sturat brought my birthday party to me. This year is is so cool that Mark is here to join in the fun.
Debbie has been wanting to learn the Hebrew prayers, but being blind, there are no Siddur, (prayer books) for her to use. But I did find The First Steps of Hebrew Prayer on CD, so that will be our birthday present to Debbie. Sinc they both like Starbucks, we are getting them the Holiday blend for Hanukkah along with the Hanuakkah mugs.
If they haven't sold out yet.
Speaking of coffee....
This is a picture of Debbie and Sturat at Mark's surprise birthday party a few years. They are one of the sweetest, loving couples I know.
Monday, 15 December 2008
Saturday, 13 December 2008
Mark just came home and told me that the Christmas Party is an lunchen in our honour, so I won't be making cookies this evening.
Which is fine because I really want to work on finishing the quilt I have been working on.
Mark has taken a shower and now a short nap before supper.
I think he will stay up for the movie.
Friday, 12 December 2008
It was a quiet morning. Mark and I talking and laughing as usual. He's out right now. This is his Reserves Weekend, so he is off to get his hair cut and beard removed :( One day, when he retires from the Military, the beard shall stay!
As I went about my daily duties I notice two things;
1.I am moving faster and my step are steady.
2.I have no pain.
Now I don't plan to over do things, but I am happy to report that I'd had atleast one pain free morning.
It helps that the sun is shining.
Thursday, 11 December 2008
My beloved made chicken soup for supper this evening. And it was so good. It has been cold and rainy all day and still haven't led up. So nice hot soup was just the ticket.
I have been updating the Love From Iraq Journal. I did get most of it before AOL deleted the journals, but there were things I wanted to included. Things from my private journal that I felt could help another spouse going through the same thing. There is nothing like reading a journal of someone who has been where you are right now.
It also helps me see how I grew as a person while Mark was in Iraq. It made me realize what a wonderful marriage I have; that it could even survivor an year deployment, that it actually became stronger. There are parts that make me even laugh.
After my nap this afternoon I realize the pain level is better. I can tell the stretches are helping and I feel my leg is getting stronger. I can even do my stretches with little pain. While I was in a lot of pain this morning, but not as much now. In fact, I have no pain.
It has been cold and rainy all day here in Norfolk. And it I must admit, it affected my mood.
I am truly thankful to learn that it is a slight case of arthritis and not Aseptic Necrosis, that with P.T. the muscles can be strengthen to support the site and I can on with the rest of my life.
But to be honest, when I awoke this morning, I was angry. Angry because I have been complaining for years of cramps in my upper thighs and hamstrings. All I have ever heard was 'drink more water' 'eat more bananas,' 'you have a mineral imbalance and you need X-Y and Z in your diet.' I have asked several times could it be my hip. The women of my family have large hips and all have suffered from arthritis in the hips. But in all cases by the time it is found they were all in wheelchairs. But each doctor said no; it is a mineral problem.
It took my Physical Therapist asking a series of questions to get to the root of the problem: it isn't my leg, but my hip. Most leg pain doesn't come from the leg but the back or the hip. It is a matter of finding out which is which.
So I was in a rotten mood. And it took the love of my beloved and my support of my Therapist to help me work through this.
Again, the condition was caught in time so I will not share in my aunts' fates. Being atherwise healthly works in my flavor as well as the desire to get my life back. After six weeks of Physical Therapy I can fully return to my activities.
We went to see my mum and she put it into a nutshell: "you two have gone through so much this years, it is no wonder you would feel depress at the moment. Just don't stay there."
Then, she handed Mark a StarBuck's gift card and told him to treat me to a Peppermint Mocha Latte with a Twist.
I am feeling much better. The weather does have a lot to do with how I feel.
But the dark cloud has lifted and I am once again counting my blessings. And not facing the Surgery Theater is on top of the list.
I am thankful that it took a medication reaction to lead me to Robert and Leann and they knew exactly what to do to find the answers.
That I had a doctor who agreed with the Therapist and ordered the x-rays.
That that x-rays were quickly read.
That now we know what is wrong and how to right it.
That I have such a loving and supportive husband.
My Therapist, Mark and I were talking about marriage during my treatment this morning. Her marriage didn't last and she is still sad about it, but has since moved on.
Then she pointed out that what Mark and I have is "the real thing." That the staff often remark: 'see how he looks after her,' 'see how sweetly she speaks to him,' 'see how they treat each other,'
That is how married couple should treat each other.
My grandmother often said: "What we go through isn't about us; it is for someone esle's benifit."
And if going through all of this was to show several people what a g-dly, loving couple looks like, then all of this was well worth it.
Thank you, G-d for Your Healing Power and Loving Care.
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
I arrvied early for my appointment since Mark had to be on the other side of town. Very early; one hour and a half early. And of course I was seen right away.
Well, I have my answers;
the shading we saw on the x-rays are what I thought: arthritis. I have some light arthritis in the right hip. And if I hadn't had that drug reaction, I would have gone on my merry way until things got worse so that a hip replacement would have been needed. This way, since we now know what the problem is, I am to continue Physical Therapy I can fully return to my to stenghten the muscles and the joint itself. No trend mill, bike or Stair Master yet. Not until the muscles are healed and builded back up.
So, soon I will be putting the crutches back into the closet and back out walking and dancing.
So with that bit of news, I hung about the clinic, trying to stay awake while sewing. I did get a lot done.
An interesting place, Boone Clinic. They no longer have an Acute Walk In, now you have to make an appointment. And because of our insurance, we have to be seen on base.
Interesting watching different folks coming in and out; active duty, retirees, mums and dads in umiform bringing in their sick little ones. They had just finished decorating the Christmas tree (white lights) and begun hanging Christmas stockings, bringing holiday cheer.
If there are any Scoorges about, I didn't see them.
Mark had told me earlier during his prayer time, he felt I was going to get good news, that my hip will be healed soon.
I give thanks to G-d for His healing touch.
And thank you, all who prayed and gave me words of encouragement. It meant more than you know.
This afternoon I have a doctor's appointment at Boone Clinic. I take the x-rays with me and hopefully we will have the results. It would be nice to know where things stand. If I am in the beginning stages of Aseptic Necrosis (in which case this can be reverse or halted by Physical Therapy I can fully return to my Or if I don't have it, and it is just muscle and tissue damage, then intense Physical Therapy I can fully return to my Right now I am hanging in limbo and and I'm no longer having fun.
Mark also has to go to the Norfolk School board for the afternoon. So while he is filling out paperwork and learning all the ins and outs of becoming a Norfolk School teacher (we hope) I will be sitting in the doctor's office in another lovely paper gown. I am also taking some quilt pieces to work on since I will have to wait for Mark.
Thinking about taking my Laptop too.
But then, that would be difficult to get about with crutches.
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
Well, I survivor the night. though Mark had to turn on the heating pad about 2a.m for my leg.
Today, I almost called and canceled because I was in so much pain. But the only way to get through this is to push through. Part of it was a nice hot shower and the other, the medication. By breakfast time, I felt I could face the day.
My physical therapist went easy on me today, knowing what I had to face with x-ray.
What we are looking for is called Aseptic necrosis. This is a rare side affect to having been on steroids for a long time. In my case, this would be for the several years of steroid use for asthma and then a month ago a very high doseage to remove nasal polps. Aseptic necrosis causes an insufficient blood flow to the hip, causing bone death. This would mean a hip replacement.
From first glance of the x-rays, this doesn't look like the case; the ball hasn't collasped and still in place. We will know fully when the reports are in. We are hopeful that this is muscle-tissue damage that can be repaired with P.T.
So, today after the stretchs, I walked one end of the clinic to the other. The aim. To get me off the crutches.
My muscles were tight, so I had a nice hot pack (hot the hot packs) and then rested until Mark came to take me home.
I'd had one of Mark's yummy grill cheese sandwiches and now ready for a nap.
I plan for a nice long nap: Hanuakkah preparations begin this evening.
Monday, 8 December 2008
Ever have one of those days you wish you could have stayed in bed?
Today was mine.
First, we met with the head Therapist @ the Physical Therapy I can fully return to my Center. While they feel there is some improvement, he still can't tell if this is muscle, tissue or bone. So, we will continue the plan as is, no changes until we get the results from the X-rays.
But I wasn't prepared to have Physical Therapy I can fully return to my ! Thankfully, I did take my medication.
After that we went to Dr. T's for my next treatment and then to Boone Clinic for X-ray...
Mark said it was a pity I didn't bring my camera. Ah! but I did. I have learned from Marty and Clyde always have my trusty camera ready....
Don't I look cute? Where X-ray is now is where the Dental Clinic use to be. The Muriel's for the Children's area haven't been painted out. I thought the Seven Dwarfs was a fitting backdrop. The pain was making me Grumpy and the medication Dopey.
Here I am in my the lovely paper gown one wears for X-rays. At least my head dress matches my socks.....
So tomorrow I have to go back to PT...
Sometimes all one can do is smile....
Sunday, 7 December 2008
Supper is almost ready (lamb chops, string beans and mash pototoes).
Mark is in the study, searching local areas for jobs. I am working on getting our pictures in ablum forms. It will make posting pictures as well as mailing them to family easier.
I have returned to our wedding Journal, We Made Our Huppah, going ahead and finishing it. It is is one of the reasons I wish to get the pictures in order. I think I can add music as well. Which would be nice.
Later, we plan to watch one of our favorite movies, A Christmas Carol. I love the tale of Redemption and even in old age, having a second chance.
Bedtime is early this evening. PT, X-rays of the hip and getting ready for Hanuakkah.
I awoke this morning in the worse pain I'd had in days. So into the shower I went. Ahhh nice hot water...
While taking my shower, Mark came in the bathroom and asked:'Yes?"
He thought that I had called him.
So, back to making breakfast he went (yes, Mark makes breakfast and for the single ladies, no you can't clone him)
About ten mimutes later, here comes Mark again. "Yes? Did you call me?"
Remembering my Torah studies, I called, "if you hear your name called again, I would say 'hinneh' (Behold)
"I am doing that right now." was his answer.
If you recall young Samuel was about seven years old when he too heard G-d calling his name. He was asleep and each time he heard his name, he went running to the High Priest Eli, thinking he was calling him. Eli wisely realize the L-rd was calling the boy. Often times, G-d will speak through a voice that is familiar to us.
So Eli told Samuel the next he the Voice, go into the Holy Place and say, "your servant is listening.
So Mark spend about 30 minutes in the Prayer Room as I prepared for the Day.
Mark came out, smiling. It was clear that indeed G-d wanted a few minutes with "his child." G-d wanted to assure Mark of His love for him and He was indeed guidinf his steps.
Yes, I know someone wonder if it was the 3a.m pizza speaking or what was in his cup of coffee. For G-d doesn't speak to people like this anymore. G-d doesn't speak. There is no G-d.
Are you sure?
Once an old rabbi was asked by one of his students, if G-d still speaks.
The rabbi answered: "Yes, The Holy One is always Speaking. The question isn't is The Holy One Speaking, but are you listening?'
Friday, 5 December 2008
I hadn't heard this song in years. And I love it too. Funny thing is, I am married to a man who would buy me one
Update, Mark came home and was depressed. He could leave his resume, but the job openings were for those with more teaching experence. H had just walked in the door after I had viewed this video. I played it for him and he hasn't stopped laughing.
It is a quiet day in the Reel house today.
That's because next week will be a busy one.
Mark is at a job Fair this afternoon, but will be back in time to welcome Shabbat.
I am picking up the LviningRoom. Properly named for we really do 'live' in here. There is no other place for my Laptop, I craft here while on the sofa and Mark reads while I am working on the computer, crafting or one of our movie nights.
My hip is feeling better today. Even with the stretches. I think it is the stairs that is still my undoing. But it's can't be helped.
Part of our plans starting next week is getting ready for Hanuakkah. I already have cards and stamps, so we need to go ahead and get them out in the mail. There is a special gift we wish to get to a friend and that too goes in the mail. Then there is the menu and the guest we wish to have over for the holidays. This year, Hanuakkah is the same week as Christmas, so we are hoping to have some of our family over as well this way they can get a taste and joy of Hanuakkah.
I have heard many people complain that after the first Day, Hanuakkah isn't that exciting.
That's because they never shared Hanuakkahwith the Reels
Thursday, 4 December 2008
As I was about to lay down for my nap, I remembered I didn't share yesterday Laini's Library.
So, here is my Reader's Choice this week: Mary Journal.
Written in 1992 by Evelyn Bence, I'm not sure if it is still in print.
What if Miriam (Mary) had kept a journal. Imagine what it would be like to read the jounral of Miriam, to know what it would have been like to try and explain how you came to conceive 'a Child without being married.' How do you tell your folks, the man your to marry? What was it like to raise the Son of G-d?
I am slowly recovering from PT. I thought I was doing better, bt half way to the Center, my right hip cramped up and I couldn't move for several minutes.
I am so thankful the first I get when I get to the Center is a hot pack.
The PT says while my hip muscles are loosing, there is still concer about doing anything else. I have to get X-rays next week so we should know where we are going from here.
Last night I was depressed. Mark just held me. He didn't tell me to snap out of it or count my blessings. Just held me and assured me of his love, of his support.
When we went to bed, he held me as he prayed for me.
I slept like a baby.
It is a beautiful fall afternoon, but my medication is killing in.
Wednesday, 3 December 2008
Saturday November 29, 2008
To invoke a much-overused cliche that seems to keep popping into my head today, we are all Chabadniks now. The Brooklyn-based Hasidic group comes in for its share of criticism, but today all Jews--all people--can do little but mourn those who fell in the Mumbai massacre.
For those not familiar with Chabad, the first question in your head might be, What were a bunch of Jewish Brooklynites doing living in Mumbai? The answer is serving. Some would--and do--call it missionizing, and it is, of a sort, though Chabadniks themselves hate the term. Their mission is to bring Jews to Judaism; that is, to turn unaffiliated and non-Orthodox Jews into Orthodox Jews, or at least introduce to their lives some elements of Orthodox practice.
Most often, however, that mission is lived through keeping small Jewish communities alive and providing for Jews--residents and travelers--in far-flung places around the globe. Thousands of young Jewish families from Chabad spread out throughout the globe, live uncompromisingly traditional lives where there is little or no Jewish community, and provide food, education, sometimes lodging, and other assistance to the Jews around them--and hope to touch some souls in the process.
There's plenty to criticize in Chabad, theologically and stylistically, especially when it comes to the fervent messianism that characterizes the movement. It's a focus that has led a substantial number of Chabadniks to believe that their Rebbe (rabbinic leader, sage) was himself the Messiah who will reveal himself to be the redeemer of humankind--despite the fact that he's been dead for more than 10 years.
But still, more than one critic of the movement has found himself or herself on vacation or away on business in some remote corner of the world--or even some remote corner of America--attending services at a Chabad house, having a Shabbat meal with the local Chabad family, or at least calling up Chabad to ask for advice on being Jewish where there are few Jews to be found.
It is a great irony, and a testament to their commitment and values, that this most sheltered of people choose to go out of their comfort zone to the farthest reaches of the globe. Hasidic men dress all in black, just as their ancestors did centuries ago in Europe, and women wear long dresses and wigs after they are married. Most live in tight-knit Jewish communities where most, if not all, of their social contact is with other Hasidim. Yet here they are, still in their traditional garb, setting up shop in places like Congo, Tunisia, Nepal, and Mumbai.
So what were these Brooklyn Jews doing in Mumbai? Providing kosher food, Jewish prayer services, and other ritual and educational needs to Western and Israeli Jews living there, and to travelers passing through. They were far from the only victims of the brutal terrorist attacks last week, but alongside the giant 5-star hotels, this family--who chose to leave the comforts simply to serve others, strangers, all of us--was no doubt singled out for simply being conspicuously Jewish where few are. Yes, we are all Chabadniks today.
Michael Kress is Managing Editor of Beliefnet.
About the Author
Sarah Smiley's syndicated column, Shore Duty, appears weekly in newspapers and magazines across the country. She is the daughter and wife of two Navy pilots, and has 28 years of experience as a military dependent. Next year, Penguin/New American Library will release her memoirs.
After a two-week detour into the prickly world of politics, I'll now return to regularly scheduled columns about husbands who leave coffee cups on top of the car and drive away, and children who embarrass me at the grocery store.
But before we do, did you know that November is Military Family Appreciation Month?
Neither did I. As far as I can tell, the greeting card stores don't have a section for this in their displays.
In honor of the occasion, however, Operation Homefront, an organization that never forgets the military and its people -- greeting cards or not, this past Saturday gave away a truckload of free merchandise from stores like Pottery Barn, Garnet Hill, and Carters to all military families at the Air National Guard Base dining hall in Bangor, Maine.
When I received the e-mail invitation last month, I had to write the family services director to clarify: "You mean all the merchandise is free, absolutely free? For everyone?"
"For all military families, yes," she said.
"Do I have to do anything? Do I need to sign up? Do I have to be eligible?"
"Nope. Just show up at 10:00 in the morning with your military identification card," she said.
I simply could not believe my good fortune: A truckload of totally free products being delivered to my new, nearest home base in Bangor, where the military population is in the minority. At our previous duty station in Pensacola, Fla., an area where the military presence (including active-duty, reservists, students and retirees) seems to outnumber the civilians, a truckload wouldn't have been enough. The enormous amounts of military families there would have wiped the truck clean by 10:01 a.m.. But in Bangor, well, I knew sleeping overnight to ensure a decent spot in line wouldn't be necessary.
The day of the big giveaway was my oldest son, Ford's, 8th birthday. It was also the day of Bangor's first fall snow and the first time my children have ever seen snow when it wasn't in the pages of a picture book. There was a lot going on. Still, I wasn't going to miss a truckload of free products.
While Ford went to hockey practice with his dad and youngest brother, Lindell, I took Owen, 5, to the Air National Guard Base for the shopping spree.
"Do you have your strong 'carrying arms' on today," I teased Owen. "Ready to hold piles of stuff for Mom?"
"I'm going to grab everything in sight," he said. And then, "Will there be donuts?"
We waited briefly in line with a surprisingly large amount of other military families before reaching the check-in spot where volunteers were verifying I.D. cards. I peeked around the corner, giddy with excitement and the prospect of scoring free stuff. The room was full of tables with stacks of toys, clothing, decorations, and games. All of it brand new. All of it free.
Then, on our way into the dining hall, I overheard a conversation that made me pause. A fellow military wife asked a volunteer for directions, not to the room full of free merchandise, but to the spot where donors were giving away free Thanksgiving turkeys and food to military families in need.
The toy and clothing giveaway would go from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.; the turkey and food giveaway would be all day long.
While I'm celebrating my son's birthday and perhaps playing in the snow, there will still be families lined up waiting for a turkey. It didn't seem fair.
I walked into the dining hall and was overcome by the generosity of the national brands and companies that had contributed.
But now I also realized that this treat wasn't intended for me. My husband, an officer in the Navy, makes a decent living. However, his enlisted service men and women may not make as much, despite making the same -- and in some cases, larger -- sacrifices. The giveaway was in honor of all military families, but the donations were for those who needed it. I found a sweater and a hat for my new nieces, and I let Owen pick a birthday present for his brother.
On our way out of the dining hall, Owen asked me why some families were waiting for turkeys. I explained. We talked about being thankful and giving to others. As I drove home and watched Owen in the rearview mirror smiling out the window at the snow, I knew that he was happy.
He was happy about the snow and the upcoming birthday party, yes, but I knew that he was also content about leaving that brand new toy car, the one he wanted so badly, for another kid to find in the dining hall.
I am feeling the affects of PT this morning. I have taken my pain medication and now waiting for the coffee to brew. I preferr Scotch and coke at the moment, but the doctor said I can't mix the two.
I did prepare a Turkey this year for our table. It just wouldn't be Thanksgiving otherwise. We just chose to hav it Shabbath.
Since I was a little girl, we have named the Turkry that had the honour of gracing our table. And this year was no exception.
Meet Abert the Turkey.