Sunday, March 21, 2010


I can't WAIT to live in a NORMAL place where:

1. I can buy yarn whenever I want. Not only that, but to live in a place where if the one Mom and Pop yarn store is closed, I can go to JOANNE FABRICS or MICHAEL'S on a Monday at 9:00 a.m. and they will be OPEN for me to buy yarn.

2. Recycling isn't such a pain in the ASS! Where I won't have to have 7,000 recycling bins in my pantry and cardboard boxes from won't take over my life ANY MORE!! Where my good intentions are rewarded with big recycling bins that the city will provide for me to throw all of my recycleables in and then provide me with the courtesy of paying somebody to take it all away for me.

3. I will have multiple choices of places to go grocery shopping. Where I won't be forced to shop at Walmart, a commissary the size of a shoe box, and the most expensive Safeway in the world.

4. Any grocery store will have EVERYTHING I need and it will all be fresh, edible and not have an "expires on" date of 2 days ago.

5. I can drive through town and not cringe and then want to go home and sanitize myself.

6. The best restaurant in town is not Subway.

7. I can shop at fabric stores that have more than just cotton quilting fabric and actually have (GASP!) PATTERNS!!

8. If I do happen to crave snow, I can DRIVE to it and enjoy it from the comfort of a 5 star ski resort with a spa, casino and bar.

9. My son will wear out his sneakers before he grows out of them. Where I won't buy him new sneakers only for him to wear them 2 times before the rain and snow come and he's forced to wear boots for the next 9 months straight.

10. The expression "7 degrees of seperation" is true and not "2 degrees of seperation".

Monday, March 1, 2010


As this last (yes, LAST!!) patrol's end is in sight, I really have been feeling a whole range of emotions about what it means to even be able to say those words.  Last. Patrol.  The magnitude of those two words is immense.  I did it.  I DID IT.  We did it.  We, my friends, have basically made it to the end.  I have had many day dreams about what it would feel like to be here and to say those words.  3 years ago, heck, even 3 months ago, I thought it would never happen.  It has happened.  It's happening, and I am loving every single second of it. 

I DID IT!!!!  I MADE IT THROUGH!!!  I survived, and dare I even say thrived?  I do say thrived.  I insist upon saying that, actually.  I'm pretty damn proud of myself.  I'm proud of us.  I'm proud of my kids.  I'm proud of my husband.  I'm proud of many fellow Munro spouses who transfer out with us this year who have also made it through. 

If you will humor me and my nostalgia for a moment, I can honestly say that I will never, ever forget the day we got THAT  phone call.  I was happily chatting away with a friend at Joanna's preschool in Port Angeles while we cleaned up glitter and glue off the tables while the kids played outside.  My cell phone rang.  It was Jake, and that was weird.  He knew where I was, and he hardly ever called my cell phone anyway.  I knew instantly that something was up.  Indeed it was.  That phone call put my life on a completely different course than it was on just mere seconds before.  In an instant my pleasant life had come to a screeching halt and done a 180 degree turn.  I literally thought the world was coming to an end.  I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but that's how I felt.  Kodiak, Alaska?  ALASKA???  Not only that, but a 378???  What on earth had I done to deserve that horrific punnishment?  Why was this happening to us?

We considered going geo bachelor.  For those non-Coast Guard people who might be reading this right now, that means the Active Duty member goes to the new duty location and the spouse and family stays behind.  We wrote it all down.  Pros and cons.  On paper it seemed crystal clear.  He would go and the kids and I would stay.  We had such a nice, cozy little house.  Our parents were close by.  He would come home when the ship was not underway.  It made sense.  Jake was going to tell the detailer the next day that our decision was made. 

Then, when it was time to put the kids to bed, Jake took a little extra time to say goodnight to them.  When he came out, he had a funny look on his face and said, "I can't do it.  I know we might be miserable in Kodiak, but I'd rather be miserable with you there than miserable without you."  I knew he was right.  So, he made the call to the detailer the next day and said we'd all be coming along for the ride.

And what a ride!!  It really has been a series of incredible highs and lows.  Will I miss living here?  Will I finally make my journey back to the lower 48 and find that the old addage about the grass being greener on the other side is true?  I honestly don't think so.  For me, the simple fact that Jake will no longer be on the ship automatically tips the scale to the "Heck no I won't miss a darn thing about Kodiak" side.  I will miss certain people.  If I could pack a select few with me in my suitcase to California, I would!  (You know who you are!)  I think that's about it, though.  Really!

I guess the things I will truly treasure about my time here in Kodiak are not tangible at all, but will be all the life lessons I've learned.  Sometimes I feel like I had to get conked on the head with orders here to get me to finally learn them.  First and foremost, I've learned that I CAN DO ANYTHING!  Anything from relocating my family to a strange, isolated place by myself and against my will (Yes, I came to Kodiak with the kids by myself), to taking apart the vacuum to clean out whatever is in there that's flapping around and making a noise (and then putting it all back together again)...and everything in between.  I CAN DO ANYTHING!  Yet, while I'm very proud of the fact that I have accomplished so many things by myself in the past 3 years and I pride myself on my self-relliance, part two of this lesson is this:

While I am very aware of the fact that I am fully capable of doing just about anything on my own, I don't want to.  EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH JAKE.  I mean everything.  Even the most mundane things like doing the dishes or folding socks is better when he is by my side.  I realize this sounds so cliche and lame, but it really is a heart-felt truth for me.  And while I've always loved my husband with all of my heart, it took orders to a 378 in Kodiak, AK to truly make me aware of this.  I can't help the fact that I love him, but I would (and do!) consciously choose to spend the rest of my days with him by my side through every sock-folding, dish-doing, kid-wrangling moment.  He brings out the best in me, and I am beside myself with excitement to know that we will share our next adventure together as a family.  Oh, and trust me, ye olde salty sea wives who are shaking fingers at me right now.  I know what you're thinking.  I am not dilusional in my thoughts and understanding of what it means to be a Coast Guard wife.  I know the possibility is there that we may again do another tour on a ship.  You know what, though?  It's not this time around, and I'm going to enjoy every single ever-lovin' second of what California has in store for us! 

That brings me to another important lesson I've learned while stationed here:  GO WITH THE FLOW.  Oh, wow, what a lesson, and it's one I'm still struggling with to this very day.  In my opinion, ultimately we have no control over our lives, and to understand that, to fully comprehend that, and make choices to accept that has been one of the hardest things for me to do.  I'm a Camagna, after all, and Camagnas plan.  Camagnas think and play the "What if?" game over everything that life throws at us.  Sure, we can choose to turn right or left at a stop sign.  We can choose to have chicken or fish for dinner.  Really, though, we don't actually have true control over much, and that, on a strictly human level is hard to come to terms with.  For me, it is, anyway. 

I can truly say that living in Kodiak has put such an interesting spin on this one for me on so many levels.  Do you know that I have no clue how much gas costs right now?  All I know is that I fill my van up when it's empty (every 6-8 weeks) here on base, and that is the best deal in town.  Did I have a choice about Jake getting stationed in Kodiak on the Munro?  I surely did not, but my choice was to make the best of it, and I believe I have.  Has it been easy?  HELL no, it hasn't!  There have literally been times I've wanted to run out my front door and simply get on the next  plane out of here even if the final destination were to be Timbuktu. There were mornings in the middle of December, when the sun doesn't even start to rise until 10:00, where I lied in bed and forced myself to count 10 blessings before I got up to start the day.  Every time the ship got ready to deploy, I could feel my skin get a little thinner; the wound not yet healed completely from the patrol before. 

Those days are no more, though, and I feel the need to dignify the good of Kodiak with a shout-out.  The good in Kodiak lies with the people.  I have never, in the 12 years of being affiliated with the Coast Guard, experienced such an amazing camaraderie in a community!  In Green Bay, we had a very close-knit unit, but it wasn't like that extended out into the community.  In Humboldt, it was all about my home-town friends and family.  In Port Angeles, we pretty much stuck to ourselves and our parents.  Here, though, community is almost like the bread of life.  Without it, we would surely all perish.  Everyone here is in the same "boat" (or plane/helocopter) so to speak.  Love or hate this place, everyone who lives here surely can admit that living here has difficulties uniquely it's own, but we are all in it together, and that is what makes this place special.

One of my favorite lines in a movie is from "The Sound of Music" when Maria says (I think to the Reverend Mother):  "When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window".  I am not known to be a particularly religious person, but I love that quote, and have thought of it often during my time in Kodiak.  When we got orders here, I felt like the door wasn't just closed on me, but rather slammed.  Yet, I had to have that door slammed in order for me to learn what I've learned and meet all the wonderful people I've met.  Each friendship I've made here has been a little window that opened and brought light when I thought there was none, and for that, I am forever grateful. 

I still have several months left here in Kodiak, so this is in no way a "Goodbye Forever, Alaska!" post.  It's just my way of processing the past 3 years and the flood of feelings I've been having lately.  Thanks for reading my ramblings.  There are probably more to come.  :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Because I'm a slacker...

Because my husband's been harassing me to update (sheesh, you'd think he was far, far away out in the middle of nowhere or something), I now present you with a short montage of what we've been up to over the past month or so.                                        
These are my Valentine's Day Flowers.  Aren't they lovely?These are the cupcakes Audrey so kindly (and so much more expertly than I could have ever done) made for Joanna for her birthday at school.  Aren't they amazing?    Joanna at school on her birthday.Joanna and her friends.  :)Eating a cupcake.Sledding fun 2010!BNF (Best Neighbors Forever!)Hot chocolate deluxe afterwards."Deluxe" = marshmallows, whipped cream, sprinkles AND a cherry.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That was AWESOME!Cute.  Just cute.  :)

Well, have a great one, everybody!  (and a big XOXO to the best husband ever!)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back to bloggin'!

So, a little busy over the holidays and honestly didn't have much interest in blogging for a while.  I don't even know who reads this thing anymore, but now that a certain someone will be relying on this for updates on how his children and wife are doing, I am going to start up again.  You're welcome. 

I was laughing earlier, because a certain phrase keeps popping into my head and out of my mouth or onto my computer keyboard tonight.  First, I thought to myself, "I'm SOOOOO glad that the Vikings lost to the Saints today!".  Then, in my nightly email to Jake, I wrote, "I'm SOOOO glad this is our last patrol!".  And last but certainly not least, when I finally got a moment to myself and was enjoying a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich (which, by the way are low fat AND only cost a measly 2 WW points) I thought to myself, "I'm SOOOO glad that someone invented these Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches!". 

SOOOO, in honor of all the things I have to be SOOOO grateful and happy for (is that annoying yet?  I'll stop.  You get the point, right?)  I will now bore you with a list of things that fall into that category.  I need this right now, so hang with me, okay?

I'll start the list with a recap:

The Vikings are NOT going to the Superbowl!  HA!
I never have to go through pre-deployment syndrome again in Kodiak, AK while stationed on the Munro!!  I did it!  I've reached the end!!  The significance of that is mind-boggling to me right now.  I will have to spend some more time processing that later, I think.
Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches really are the best thing to ever be invented.  Really.
My daughter is turning 7 tomorrow!  What is up with that, anyway?
My bed is super comfy and I can't wait to crawl into it in about 5 minutes from now.
I'm ready to get orders and find out where the heck we're going in June.
Ferry reservations are made and we're OUTTA here on June 15!!
Don't think it's fair that I can't take people with me when I move.  I want to keep everyone forever!!

I guess that's it for now.  I had a very busy, tiring day, and I am going to bed.  So, watch for more frequent updates from tomorrow when I'll tell you all about Joanna's 7th birthday.  Later, gators!!