Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stealthy-wife projects : Care Packages

Boy oh boy am I behind on posts. This one was supposed to come right after the boat blanket post. Anyway, here are the rest of my stealthy-wife projects.

Since he's on a boomer submarine they don't go into port, and as such don't get mail except the occasional unguaranteed mail drop. But our awesome FRG organizes for them to take care packages with them and distribute them to the guys on a specific day. I always theme my care packages. This time it was "warm and cozy". It took me weeks to collect all the pieces for it. And some of what I got didn't fit in the box so he'll get it when he gets home. I also collected small gifts and cards from a bunch of his family so he could get gifts and messages from them too since he won't be home for the holidays.
We are limited to a shoe-box sized box. I'm sure I am pushing it by using one of his size 12 shoes boxes. But that was honestly the only shoebox we had in the house besides a pointe-shoe box which wouldn't have even fit the beef jerky. Also, I had the hardest time finding this wrapping paper. If I would have known that "flannel" is actually called "gingham" it would have made things much easier! I had to order is online, but I was really disappointed that it came flat and folded so it already had crease lines in it. But, what can you do at that point, right?     
Lets see if I can remember what all was in this box now. As you can see, there is a beanie, some really heavy duty waterproof work gloves, and some warm socks with a pocket for some toe warmers. Also in that box is a miniature christmas tree, hot cocoa and some hot teas, a collapsible cup, two bags of jerky, cards and gifts from his parents, my parent's, his grandmothers and some of his family in California. Also, a few packs of hand, foot, and toe warmers.Oh, and a dvd of a fire place, lol. So he can turn on his fireplace, set up his little tree, and open presents. It may not be on christmas, but I wanted him to have as much of a Christmas as possible. There was also a "do not open till christmas" present. Though I have no idea if he'll get it before or after christmas. :) I think there was a couple more things but I can't remember now. I sent it off weeks ago before they left.


This was a great exercise in puzzle piecing. It took about three attempts to get it all in there. Besides being cute, there was a reason I tied the lid on.
I also included this poem that told him about everything in the box and tied the whole theme together.
A tight fit! But I got it all in there. It weighs a ton! Hope he has fun unwrapping it.

And then we did end up getting a mail drop which I packed as, basically, a dehydrated thanksgiving dinner. I know they serve one on the boat but Monkey is doing some super diet underway and he refuses to eat anything except his regimented diet plan. But, he said if I sent him something he would eat it. I don't think he was planning on my sending this, but, I got a little carried away. 

So this is his entire holiday meal. That was all fit into a gallon zip lock baggy (our size limit for mail drops). As you can see I had to make some creative substitutions. I could not for the life of me find any gluten free TURKEY jerky. It all had soy sauce on it. Plenty of regular beef jerky to be found but not turkey jerky. So I found, instead, some cured smoked salmon. Salmon... turkey.... almost the same, right? Well it's better than boat food anyway. So, then you can see I also sent some "cranberry sauce", and "Pumpkin Pie" etc. The mashed potatoes are probably the closest thing. They're the just add water kind. I had to take some of this out of it's packages and into smaller baggies to make room for everything. There were also some goodies and cards from his family to complete it.

I had to make and pack the big care package while he was home, so I had to be super stealthy. Lots of random errands to run, and lots of stuff coming in from internet orders. (He wasn't allowed to go in the closet if he was at the apartment) A couple of missed web cam sessions. I told him "Pre-deployments are like Christmas. When I have secret errands to run, you just don't ask questions because it's probably for you." The mail drop was much easier since he was already gone, but it still took me three shopping trips to find everything.

Friday, November 25, 2011

It's time for Monkey Mail!

After being gone for over two weeks I FINALLY got email from him. I actually got a couple super short ones a couple days after he left but they were about three sentences long and just said that there wasn't much to report. Understandably. But after that there was nothing. Nothing for two weeks!!! I was starting to get really antsy. But the night before thanksgiving, three emails showed up in my inbox, and then two more trickled in this morning. yea! I feel so much better now.

Below are excerpts from those emails.  (The stuff is green are my notes, anything in Brackets is omitted or changed for various reasons)
12NOV11 6:47pm

Hey mrs beautiful!
[...]There is not much going on here. Just a lot of time cleaning and watching... I have spent a lot of time on the gaming LAN trying to get is set-up. There are a couple less computers we can email on than there were last patrol. I keep an eye out for them to be open. I got emails 1-3 today and it definitely felt good. I always imagine your voice and its very relieving.

 Im going to start doing quartermaster UIs (Under-instructions) next week. Im already Dinq (delinquent until qualified) on it technically. But I should be able to catch up anyways. Other than that...... yeah... not much... its a boring steel tube.

 I realized that i forgot my micro SD card in my other laptop - so i have no music. If you have the time and money and wanna hook your Monkey up with a micro-SD card on the next mail drop... :-D Any size is better than none, but as big as you can go; if possible.

 The diet is going well. Im having a really difficult time drinking water - im just not thirsty. I think its just the boat water.. Its nasty.

Anyhoozle love, I hope you had a good day with [my friend "V"], and a good weekend... I love you and miss you so much. Know that I am thinking about you, especially when i curl up in the blanket you made me.

Love you!

15NOV11 3:17am

Hey you! I miss your beautiful face! Every time I go to sleep and put that beanie on I think of how good that last weekend was. I can't wait to come back home to you. Things are boring, as usuall. I'm still dinq QMoW but I'm catching up. I'm doing my UIs in my three hours between watches. This patrol is kind of busy in the end and not a great one for qualifications unfortunately just because of when we are doing certain exams and what-not. Kinda sucks but I think i can get it done. There Isn't really a lot to talk about though - flying under the radar mostly, not picking on A-Gang.... yet. I miss you so much.


Anyways love, I miss you, think of you all the time.

17NOV11 7:15pm

Hey beautiful love! I finally got to read an email from you! Its been days.... I keep getting this grouping of 300 emails about sports updates that I didn't ask for and they fill up my box. I got 1-3 and 9 of your emails so I'm missing a few in the middle there, resend them if you can in case they don't make it through the radio clog.

Things are getting a little more hectic or busy whatever you wanna call it. Things like focused after-watch clean-ups and drills and the like.

Love you baby!

Saturday 19NOV11 6:33pm

Hey there beautiful love! I just got to read number 12. So i have now received 1-3, 9 & 12. (This is really frustrating that most of my emails have gone missing. I hope they get this fixed soon, I don't like having to resend them all) Still not much to talk about today is likely to be hectic, I'm taking a sec while i have it. I won a 1TB external hard drive in the field-day raffle today. I caught a little angst because i have 10TB on board already. [...]

I find myself often wondering what you are doing at the moment I am thinking it. I miss you so much. I want to squeeze you. I miss my little Ducky.


I'm working on Quartermaster but its coming slowly at best. All the easy things on the card have been signed off so whats left is the experience-earned and heavy-reading check-outs. I think I will be able to get it done, but i have to work on Periscope in tandem which is really difficult to get practice on.

Anyways Ducky! I look forward to reading the emails I'm missing! Hopefully you get all of mine.

Love you so much!

23NOV11 12:52am


Mrs. Ducky, tomorrow is thanksgiving. I wish i could be there with you,[...]  Please spend it with family/friends though, I got the notion that you had plans which i was glad to hear. [...]

I'm holding on to Quartermaster by the skin of my teeth. I am nowhere near ready to stand it and I'm almost done with my card. My computer distracts me a lot. Not the computer itself but someone always wants something off of it. [...]

anyways mrs Ducky! Please have a WONDERFUL thanks-giving. I will be giving thanks for my wonderful wife, whom I adore and love to pieces. I give thanks for that every day though. I never feel like its enough. I wish i could send you flowers right now. Not just because I am not with you for thanksgiving but because i just want to send my beautiful wife some flowers.

I love you, need to sleep.
*hugs and kisses*

So, there you go. I really hope they get his mail situation figured out. I make a point to write him at least once a day. So it's really frustrating that they just get lost and he doesn't hear from me. But I will keep on writing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Just checking in.

I'm just checking in, because it's been a while since I've posted anything.

The problem is that all my planned posts require pictures which are on my computer at home. And, by the time I get home I'm too tired to make the post. Here's what's on tap though:

1. Halfway box and Care packages
2. Anti Bullying and suicide prevention
3. Restarting the Boohoo/Hooya link up
4. Hopefully soon, some Monkey Mail

I'll be in Seattle this weekend with Friends for thanksgiving, just steps away from the Seattle Salsa Congress! But, alas it's waaay too expensive for me this year since I'm trying to save for my Mac Book so I can work remote next year. 

I've been getting back into salsa recently. Which is making me miss ballet and ballroom, a lot! I have Groupons for some different dance studios to use. I should start that soon. I find myself standing in front of the mirror practicing ballet lines while I brush my teeth in the mornings. It's time to get back into it. I love the muay thai and jiu jitsu, but I'm a dancer, and I miss it.

Ok, I need to get back to work. Just wanted to check in. Hope you all have a great holiday weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Help a Special Education class - Postcard Project

I am passing along this request from a friend who posted on facebook. I know that I have many lovely readers from all over the world and am hoping you will help! I think this is a very cool and fun project.
Below is a request from the special education teacher at Caldwell Highschool in Caldwell, ID.

"I am a special education teacher at our local high school. I am going to start teaching a segment in geography and I am wondering if anyone would be kind enough to mail my classroom a postcard from the area in which you live. We are making a global map that will be attached to the cards mailed to my classroom. The class and I will discuss the information given on the postcard and the postcard picture Then it will be attached to the area on the map from which it came! I would love to receive as many postcards (from all over the world) as possible as my students enjoy receiving mail. Thank you in advance!"

Please address any post cards you send to the following address:

Caldwell High School
Room 137, Mrs. Castle
3401 S Indiana Ave.
Caldwell, ID 83605
Please comment below if you plan on sending a postcard!
Thank you all.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

And, here we go.

ok, as promised, a real update. It's long. I usually don't write this much but there is much to talk about.

Monkey is officially off on his next grand undersea adventure. *sigh* Which is why I haven't been blogging much. All I've had to talk about revolved around him getting ready to leave. I was a busy busy bee running around getting him ready, while secretly putting together his halfway box (hopefully next post), HoneyGrams - which are an awesome fundraiser our FRG puts together to arrange for hand written notes to be delivered on specified dates (he's on a sub, they don't get mail), and his boat blanket. 

The last two weekends I spent helping him sort 3 months worth of vitamins and supplements into individual baggies. And then packing up his barracks since he's being forced out of Geo-bach. He has a place for his stuff but not a place to live when he gets back. The place he was going to live fell through at the last minute. He has another friend and his wife who are interested so hopefully that get's panned out during the underway.

We thought that the weekend before last (the one spent moving him until 3:30 in the morning) was his last weekend, but then things got pushed out. Which turned out to be an excellent thing! If he had left when he was supposed to and my last weekend with him was spent just packing and moving, I would not be doing as well as I am now. Because, save for a small meltdown in the Wal-mart parking lot, we had an excellent last weekend. I was able to get in some really good quality Monkey time and get a real goodbye instead of the 45 second one I got the weekend before because he was running late to get to duty turnover. (I was not happy about that). 

Right now I am feeling a lot better than anticipated. I had hoped to make it at least through the weekend before the icky feeling set in. But, I actually thought it would take... eehhhh... two days. But, I'm feeling pretty ok right now. I mean, I definitely miss him like crazy, but I'm handling it MUCH better than last time. I think I'm getting used to this. Also, I started taking more supplements for my mood and focus, and I think that is really helping, too. 

I made a rule for all of my friends this time. I call it the "no pity" rule. Note, that there is a different between pity and compassion. They are most definitely allowed to care, and recognize that I may be sad some days and will need some support. But, they must follow these two simple rules. NO pouty faces in attempted empathy. NO responses such as "that sucks", "I'm sorry", or "I could never do that". I do not need to be reminded that deployments suck. What I need is; support and distraction. In general I'm just really tired of the pouty face reaction to "My husband just left." or similar/related statements. it's just so unhelpful and often presumptuous of my feeling at the time. Instead, I just ask that they say things like, "You are strong, you can do this.", "Let's go out"(and mean it). "How are you feeling?"(Listen to and care about my answer)  I have a couple of friends who are doing a very good job with this and it's also helping a lot. 

I know that the first weekend is always the toughest for me. It's always when I'll have the first completely unplanned day and I end up sleeping in way too late, I never get dressed, and don't leave the house. Then about 6pm I start to feel really lame that I just sat around and moped all day. So, my friend volunteered a girls weekend. She's been going through some of her own personal drama so we can both use the distraction.

So, this weekend we have scheduled: Saturday night - salsa dancing and a sleepover, Sunday - PJ breakfast then pedicures. Friday night I will be cleaning my poor neglected home. I've been meaning to do it for weeks but then ended up driving up to Bangor because he wasn't able to come down. Saturday during the day I need to go to Ross or some place inexpensive and find something to wear salsa dancing. 

Other than that I'm getting back to "gym-rat" status again. That's 2-3 hours a night, 4 days a week at the gym. I'll be working on my jiu jitsu, muay thai, and maybe adding Saturdays and getting back to Capoeira. And, I get to start my guitar lessons soon, too. There is one other thing that I will be doing as well, but that's for another post. This one is getting long enough.

See, I said this would be a real update! Here's hoping that this good mood lasts as long as possible. I know that  I will eventually, at some point, break down. I think it would be unhealthy if I didn't. But, I'm gonna stay happy as long as happy'll have me. And when I do break down, I've got my friends well educated on how to pick me back up again. I think I'm set. Deployment, I'm so ready for you!!! Uh, mostly. I think. I hope. Fingers crossed, anyway. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

15% off at Shabby Apple

Ok, I swear I have more insightful things to post than another "click here to get" deal. (I really do, lots to talk about that I haven't been able to post about yet) But, I love love love Shabby Apple and I'm sure you do too. What? You haven't seen this adorably vintage-inspired line of clothing? Well go now, here's 15% off AND free shipping though this link!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Win free Photoshop for life.

AppSumo is running a sweepstakes right now to give away free Photoshop and upgrades for life to 10 people. Pretty sweet deal! I know that a lot of you lovely bloggers love you some Photoshop, so I thought I'd pass it along. Good luck!

Click here to enter:

Also, I get an extra entry if you enter, so if anything do it for me? The worst that can happen is that you win, right?!