Sunday, May 27, 2007

THE Most Exciting Day of My Life

It's finally over!!!! The love of my life is safely home on US soil and in my arms again!!! "Why," you ask... "in the heck are you messing around blogging on myspace???????" Because the life of a navy girlfriend means constant separation. He has duty every 4 days which means he has to be on the ship all night. He was supposed to have duty the day the ship pulled in, which would have meant he couldn't come off the ship until the next day. :-( In order to not have to do that he switched with another guy so he has to sleep on the ship tonight (Sunday) and tomorrow night (Monday). I'll see him again sometime on Tuesday. So, I figured this was a perfect time to let everyone know how I'm doing and how amazing homecoming was!

It all started the day before. I drove from Richmond to Norfolk to meet up with my fellow navy girlfriend, Angela, and get ready for the night before reception. I was so scatter-brained that I had to turn around twice... once for my welcome home sign and the other for my homecoming outfit. DUH! It was awesome meeting up with Angela after talking for almost 8 months online. It's amazing, though, no matter what, people never sound like they "should". She's just as great as I expected and we had a wonderful time. We ran a few errands I needed to do around Norfolk, got our parking passes for homecoming, and checked into the Navy Lodge.


The funniest part was when (while trying to talk on the phone of course) I turned left too early and instead of pulling into the parking lot for the building to get our parking passes, I turn into gate 5 for the base with no way to turn around. So, I tell my friend I'll call them back and pull right up to the cute sailor in his camis. I turn on the sourthern charm and flash my biggest smile possible with the largest lost puppy dog eyes I can muster and say, "Oh dear me! I'm so sorry! I think I went the wrong way. I'm trying to get my parking pass for homecoming tomorrow!!!" He smiled and confirmed that I had made a wrong turn. He was so nice and stopped traffic coming out of the base so I could turn around. I made sure to smile big and thank him as I left. I told the girls that just because I was a feminist didn't mean I could work it when I needed to! Heheheh! Then we met up with my favorite veteran Navy wife, Kim, and headed off to the night before reception on the base.


(I stole your pic Kim. The one on my phone didn't come out as well as your did.)

The night before reception wasn't as great as I was hoping. The room was really big and there were a lot of people. When the speakers got up, I could tell they were giving some really great information about getting on the pier and parking and such but the sound was so bad that we couldn't hear what they were saying. So after the slide show of the sailors and what they've been doing/ where they've been, we headed back to the Navy Lodge. We cracked open a bottle of red wine and settled in for the evening. I figured I wouldn't get any sleep but by about 1pm, I was dead asleep. I am sooo thankful that I was able to stay at the navy lodge instead of having to drive back to Richmond. It was so nice, also, to be able to talk with someone who felt as anxious and nervous and excited as I did.

So at the butt crack of dawn I wake up. Of course I had hardly slept for fear of oversleeping and missing the entire homecoming (which had been a reoccurring dream for the past few weeks)! My roommate, Mandy (Jay is Mandy's husband and Angela's boyfriend's supervisor), was supposed to get in the shower but I could tell she was going no where fast, so I just jumped in and took my time getting ready and putting on my make up and such. We went up to Angela's room that she was sharing with a couple of her and Brian's friends.


We were all so excited we could hardly talk but were all quite worried about the wind on the pier which of course none of us had really thought about when we'd chosen our homecoming outfits. Opps!


So we grab a quick bagel (which we'd been smart enough to pick up the night before) and headed out to the pier. Believe it or not we had 4 girls and 1 sort of metro boy out the door by our designated time of 7am. We'd heard so many different things about when the ship was supposed to be pier side, everything from 9-9:30 to 11-11:30 so we figured we'd play it safe.

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I left early to grab some gas on the way and soon figured out that the gate we had all planned to go in was only allowing traffic to enter from the other direction and was VERY backed up. So, I called the others and gave them the heads up to go in the other gate. Getting on base was no problem but it took a little navigating to find the pier since we were coming from a different gate. I parked a ways from the pier since the girls had said it's a huge pain to get out if you park too close. I grabbed my sign


, met back up with the others and we headed for the pier. It was a truly awesome sight and a wonderful feeling to know that soon it would all be over! We were lucky enough to snag a seat on the bleachers which was a life saver. I'd have hated to stand the whole time!



We settled in for the long wait and I looked around and thought how strange it was that there weren't more people there. Little did I know they were all to come!

It was funny to see all us girls who had spent the last probably 7 months worrying about our outfits standing there without shoes on or wrapped up in sweaters or whatever. It's amazing how something may seem perfect in your home or at the hotel but doesn't quite work at the pier!


Soon, the other ships in the group started coming in, which only made wait harder!


There were some people who were standing lookout at the top of the bleachers. One guy in particular had assured us he would let us know when he could see the IKE, so after what felt like a lifetime, we finally heard a strong, "WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!" And we knew it was coming home!



It took it a while to get to the pier, but not as long as I was expecting. They were blaring music on the pier (The Boys are Back in Town was my favorite!) which gave the whole thing a party feel. I turned around and realized that the entire pier had filled up and I was so thankful that we'd gotten there when we did!


They pulled over to the pier and then backed in! It was so awesome to see!


The sailors were manning the rails and it was so amazing! We searched and searched and searched for our boys since Angela, Mandy and I all knew our guys had been "voluntold" the day before that they would be manning the rails. Of course we were sure we could see our guys just to find out later they were on the other freaking side of the ship! Hehe! Oh well! Wishful thanking, I guess!



They finally started tying in and I really thought I might turn inside out. I was so worried about spotting him! There were probably 10,000 people on the pier and I knew there were close to 5,000 sailors coming off!! Worry wort me is freaking out because they had these fences up and I couldn't figure out how he would be able to get to me. Come to find out they took the fences away as soon as they called general liberty and the mad rush of sailors started coming off.


We were very lucky. Mandy's husband, Ryan, was able to get cell service where they were standing and started texting her. He confirmed that Rakes (Brian) and Stafford (Jay) were with him and we let them all know that we were in the first set of bleachers! They were able to let us know that they were fairly close to the front and should be off right away once liberty was called.

Watching the waves of sailors in their dress whites pour out of the brows was one of the most thrilling things I've ever seen. I stayed about half way up the bleachers so hopefully our guys could see us. Next thing we know Mandy and Angela's guys come through the crowd. I was so excited and then extremely nervous when I didn't see Jay too!!! I start yelling, "What happened to Jay?? Did you guys ditch him?!?!?!?!?" I look out at the see of dress white uniforms and start panicking! What if I'm not able to find him!!! I decided to just stay right where I was since that's where he knew to look for me and just a couple of minutes later I spotted him making his way through the crowd to me! I make my way down the bleachers trying not to fall, figured eating metal or concrete wouldn't be that cute!

I drop my camera back and throw my arms around him! He pulls me tight into him, picks me up and says, "Hi beautiful!" After over 5 1/2 years of not having him in my life at all, a year of being separated and 8 months out to sea... feeling his arms around me again was the most thrilling moment of my life! I'll never forget the moment I saw him for the first time or the look on his face when our eyes met.

The last 4 days have been the best of my life! He's amazing, and every fear I had about us not working out has melted away. I've never been so content in all my life. There is nothing I want more than to be with him forever.

I wish I had pictures of him in his dress whites on the pier or of us, but the moment I saw him I totally forgot about taking pictures! I'll try and get some new ones of us soon. We're turning in an application for the apartment we want on Tuesday and hope to get the keys on Thursday. I'll make sure and post pictures and let everyone know how it goes!

Thank you to everyone who helped me through this difficult time in my life! I'm thankful for each and everyone of you! Have a great day and I promise to keep ya updated!

thanks for listening, y'all!


Monday, May 7, 2007

Today was hard. I made my goal of Amarillo to Memphis, but it was really long. I left Amarillo at 10am and pulled into the hotel in Memphis after 10pm. It must have been longer than I expected or the multiple construction zones slowed me down or something. Oh well. I'm here, safe and sound. I was going to take some pictures of the hotel and Amarillo but the truth is... the town is kind of not so much! I'm not judging TX on the whole (since it always irritates me when people judge North Carolina by the drive up I-95) but I would certainly not want to move to Amarillo. Flagstaff, Yes! But Amarillo, No. I thought about stopping a couple of times to take pictures, but I'm worse than any boy when it comes to not wanting to stop on a long road trip. I think I stopped a total of three times all day!!!! But once was for a good leisurely lunch at Cracker Barrel so that I could compose a few blogs that will be posted over the next few days. My server was so nice and kept refilling my sweet tea (which probably accounted for TWO of three pit stops! Hehe!) and let me sit there as long as I wanted. I'd have to say though that just like last time the highlight of this leg of the trip was the breath taking windmill farm somewhere in New Mexico. That was the one time I was really tempted to pull off and snap some pictures but with that sort of thing I knew I could never capture the magnificent beauty and would only be disappointed.

So, tomorrow is the last leg. It will bring me back to where I started almost 2 years ago to the day. There's a lot of things going through my mind and a lot of emotions. The drive has given me some much needed time to think. I've spent the last 7 months of my life doing everything I could to avoid thinking, so there's some interesting things rolling around. Like I said, there will be some more blogs to come. n

ight y'all!


p.s. Sorry there are no pictures of Jeremy Jr. today. He spent most of the day sleeping (slacker!) and whining about having to pee due to all the sweet tea! Hehe! But he says HI!

Day Four

Morning all!

Sorry I didn't post this last night, but I totally crashed when I got to mom's. Then ended up going out with my mom, my brother and his girlfriend. It was awesome, but it was after 2pm when we got home! It's ok, though, since my body has no idea what time it is anyway!

The last leg of the trip was great! It was a little shorter and only took me a total of 10 hours including stops! But the best part was... most of is was in the mountains. Once you get to Nashville, you're in the Smokies and that was all I needed to feel at home! I'm really not sure why I left this place. It's truly the only place in the entire world that speaks directly to my soul. I'm hoping to get out and take some pictures over the next few days so keep a look out.

The second best part of this leg was once again, lunch. :-) Yes, I stopped at Cracker Barrel again, but I didn't eat the EXACT same thing! Hehe! I think it'll take me a while to get my fill of country cooking again. I got a few looks when I pulled out my camera at the table and started snapping pictures of my sweet tea glass (see below). But people were really nice. One guy even asked me what type of camera I had. I've learned that I actually enjoy eating alone. I've always hated eating at sit down restaurants alone because I get so bored with no one to talk with, but it was so nice to be able to sit down with my camera and my note book and work on a few things.

Well, I think I'm going to take a nap. I feel like I've only had a few days off here and there since I started working weekends in November, so this feels really good. I'll talk with you all soon.


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Thursday, May 3, 2007

Moving Back

Returning to the East Coast has brought up a lot of thoughts and fears for this already over analytical girl! It's all revolving around the concept of "moving back". For quite some time now, I've considered my decision to move to the West Coast as one of the best of my life. It afforded me a vacuum... a place free of expectations to hear the sound of my inner voice. Most of my life has been spent listening to the voices of my parents, friends, religious leaders, significant others and any and every one else. I had never learned to recognize the sound of my inner voice. Over the last 2 years, I have gained a deeper understanding of myself, my interest, my core beliefs, everything from my tastes in clothes and music to my fundamental spiritual thoughts. I've proven to myself that I can make it on my own. I left an unproductive marriage, found a job I was good at, forged what I think will be lasting friendships, and created a life for myself that I not only enjoyed but was extremely proud of.

Now as i sit in a Cracker Barrel in Oklahoma City, OK, I wonder if it's possible to move back without moving back-WARD. Can I learn to hear the sound of my inner voice amongst so many other voices? My fear is living somewhere that I'm known as "the (fill in the blank)" ... the dancer, the christian girl, the good child, the hippy... Can I be the person I've become in the face of those preconceived ideas? I guess we'll find out.

And now as I sit in a Cracker Barrel in Nashville, TN, I realize that there is a flip side to this dilemma as well. I fear that in an effort to not let go of myself, that I will refuse to change and stifle the natural evolution of life. I don't want to hold so tightly to the person I am right now that I miss out on the person I can become. At the risk of sounding cliche... Life is a journey, not a destination. And although I'm significantly happier with where I'm at right now then I've ever been, that doesn't mean I still want to be here in 5, 10 or 15 years.

Maybe the key is in the wording. Maybe I should look at it less as moving "back" and more as moving "forward". Even though in January I'll be back in Charlotte, where I spent most of the hardest years of my life, living spitting distance from many people who believe they "know" me, doesn't mean I have to move backward in my journey. I'm a completely different person now than I was then. There is truly no way for me to go back to being that person.

And just because people have expectations of me doesn't mean I have to live up to them, nor do I need to do things that fly in the face of them just to prove my independence. The next step in my journey will be learning to live ABOVE the expectations of others. For instance, not refraining from getting any more tattoos for fear of disappointing people but at the same time not getting any new ones simply to prove that I can.

It all goes back to that inner voice. Thankfully, I will be living with someone who understands these fears. He has reassured me that he loves me, for instance, for how passionate I am about things, not for the passions themselves as those change over the years. He loves me for the woman I was at 17 when he met me, for the woman I am now 10 years later, and the woman I will become over the lifetime we will spend together.

I hope that I can not only hold onto and encourage my own inner voice, but his as well... to not hold onto the man he is right now at the expense of the man he can become for once again...

Life is a journey, not a destination.

Thanks y'all!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My Latest Diatribe

Most of my friends and especially my mom are familiar with my infamous diatribes. They usually consist of topics like non-pedestrian oriented shopping center parking lots whose lack of side walks force you to DRIVE the 1/4 mile or less from one end to the other! ARGH! Or people's complete inability to push the button at a cross walk!

But today I have a new one... people on a long strip of open road who do not understand the concept of CRUISE CONTROL! I'm obsessive about my cruise control (especially after getting a ticket on Sunday!) I pay close attention to the signs and lock in my cruise at 4 miles an hour over or less. So then what happens is I steadily come up on a car going slower than I am. I smoothly pull into the passing lane and as soon as I get to them they wake up from their monotony induced coma and speed up to the EXACT speed I'm going. So, I figured I'll up my cruise a few miles an hour and get around them, but they continue to accelerate to keep up with me, as if they are some competitive 3 year old who can't let anyone pass them for fear of "losing". So, in order to keep from hanging beside them for the remainder of the trip I'm forced to slow down and let them pass ME in the right lane! Since they've officially annoyed me, I make sure I put plenty of distance between us before I resume my chosen speed.

Doesn't sound THAT annoying, right? I know what you're thinking... "There she goes again! She's such an OCD pain in the ass!!!" And I would be inclined to agree with you if the entire scene didn't repeat itself every 1/2 an hour to an hour with the EXACT SAME CAR!!!! ARGH!!!!

Have I ever mentioned that people drive me NUTS!!!!!

bye y'all!