140 Characters or Less:A Love Story

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As posted on Branford Patch:

I’m not quite sure where to begin in the tail that is our love story. John and I ‘met’ on Twitter almost 2 years ago when we were both going through very difficult times in our lives. And, in 140 characters or less, we formed a friendship and supported each other through our personal struggles. Our 140 characters eventually turned into 140 cups of coffee, 140 kisses, 140 “I love you’s” and 140 memories. Even though we have gone above and beyond 140 characters in our relationship, we still enjoy our daily Twitter banter (even when we’re sitting on the couch next to each other). So this Valentine’s Day I raise my mason jar to 140 more memories.

An Unsuspected Angel

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There are some people who come into your like a whirl wind. They come in so fast and so strong that you actually find yourself standing there wondering why. Why did this person start responding to your tweets? Why did this person friend you on FB? Why should you even care about anything this person does?

And you can stand there asking yourself those questions all day, every day but it’s never going to get you any where. Even if you’re not a Twitter or FB person I know you’ve encountered these people. They come in like a tsunami and as fast and strong as they’re there, they’re gone with nothing but a memory behind them.

And this is where I find myself at this moment, standing in the wake of JS. She came into my Twittersphere out of nowhere a few months ag, almost immediately acting as my own personal cheerleader. I’m sorry to admit that I was a bit sceptical about this at first, but changed over time. There were things going on in my life that involved stalkers and an emotional roller coaster of a relationship that made me skeptical of everyone around me. But JS stayed strong. She enjoyed every blog post I did and responded to my early morning tweets as loyally as my coffee pot brews in the morning.

The past few weeks I’ve noticed that JS’s tweets have been few and far between…actually I hadn’t heard from her in about 2 weeks. As any good tweep would do, I went to go stalk her Twitter timeline, and this is what I saw, “Was nice knowing some of ya!!!! 36 more hours. Just 36….”. I should mention that this is a woman who put forth amazing effort to find a woman who had helped her relax on a flight this past January. She had put forth an amazing effort to find one single person who had simply calmed her down just so she could say thank you.

And she accomplished that. She found that woman she had met on the flight 9 months ago, she found her guardian angel. My hat goes off to JS and her efforts to give one person a simple ‘thank you’. All this effort and heart made me proud to know her, but also broke my heart today when I found out that JS was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer.

She thought she had nothing more than simple bronchitis, but upon further testing it was discovered that JS does, in fact, have cancer. Evidently JS has decided to spend the rest of her life volunteering her time to help other people, to spread the joy of life, instead of getting treatment which she believes will not cure her. This is a woman who has spent months telling me about the strength that she received on one flight from one woman. She has been telling me almost daily about how she has always been looking for that strength but had never found it until January.

This woman who never seemed to fully believe in herself suddenly seems to have felt the freedom of life. As long as I have ‘known’ her she has called herself ‘boring’ and never given herself any credit. But what I see is an amazing woman’s journey from caterpillar to butterfly. Yes JS, faced with death, you have found yourself and your purpose. You are going to change the lives of so many in your final adventure. Please know that you have already touched my soul before this final adventure has even started.

You give the woman on the flight so much credit for being such an inspiration, but please know that your amazing acts on this final adventure are an inspiration to some many more than just one person. I wish you all the happiness and joy throughout this final adventure. Please know that your story of hope and determination will live on through me. You are truly more amazing than you give yourself credit for, I hope you realize this soon. God speed and God bless.

Love Lost Is Never Forgotten

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I found love last year. True love. And it was beautiful. And now its over. All those feelings, all those emotions, all those words…gone. Now they are all nothing but a memory. This mommy now finds herself treading water and looking over the horizon for dry land.

I don’t know if my love will return and I don’t know if I will find a love as great as the one that left. My only choice now is to push forward and find steady ground where my kids and I can grow.

My emotions come in waves. I feel a bit bipolar. One minute I’m laughing and the next, crying. Conflicting feeling of joy and grief come and go faster than high way traffic. I’m standing here confused with the world swirling around me. I know that this too shall pass, but for now I oddly bask in the hurt coupled with fear….and maybe some joy. I think its that very tiny piece of joy that enables me to bask. I don’t know where it comes from or what it is, but its become something to hold on to. My little light at the end of the tunnel.

I need this time alone (as much alone time as one can get with 2 kids). My kids need this time. By next year it will be just the 3 of us. No BF. No donor. Just us in this little town in Connecticut hours away from family. Everyone around us will have left. But we can do this. We will move on. We don’t have a choice.

To my love, thank for all the happy times. The comfort. The joy. The peace of mind. The companionship. The love. I wish you all the happiness in the world. You are still, and will always be, my friend. Thank you.

T-Minus One Week

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My 32nd birthday is a week from today.

That’s right, I’m going to be 32, and I’m not ashamed to say it! I love my 30’s. I’ve never felt sexier and more alive. I feel as if I live an entire lifetime each year. I keep learning new things about the world around me and myself.

I’ve learned to breath.

I’ve learned the importance of true friends.

I’ve learned my minions are the air I breath.

I’ve learned to love fully.

I’ve learned to let go.

I’ve learned that there are some things in life you can’t change no matter how hard you try.

I’ve learned that lying to yourself only delays the inevitable.

I’ve learned to move on.

And when I turn 32 next Saturday I will say good bye to this life time and move on to the next, taking those lessons with me to build on. With so many things in this world that are unsure, I am sure of three things. I am sure that I have the power to make things better. I have the power to be happy. I have the power to love and be loved.

I am going to embrace this next year and really make it count. Happy birthday to me! Now how’s making me a cake?

The Reset Button

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The Reset Button

All of the electronics in your house have one.

Most cars have one.

And believe it or not, you have one too.

And when someone presses it, you feel AMAZING! It’s like you have a new leash on the madness going on around you. It’s better than coffee damn it! It’s what you need, you crave it. More than sex? Eh, doubtful.

I dare say that despite the absolute craziness that goes on around BF and I we have a pretty good life. Those of you that know us personally are thinking to yourselves, really? “I wouldn’t trade my life for theirs even if they offered it on a silver platter!” Our exs give us problems daily and we are both complete lunatics. I OVER think everything and he UNDER thinks everything. He farts on me, and I burp in his face. I want life to revolve around comical satire while he wants life to revolve around patriotism. He’s Garth Brookes to my Miranda Lambert. And that’s how we go about our days. Our friend Nicole even dared to say that we are “The most real couple she knows.” Oh Nicole, if only you knew sweetheart, if only you knew!

How does this happen? How do BF and I continue life in our happy little bubble, as we call it, with all our differences and craziness? Two words: Reset Button. Somehow, despite some of our extreme differences, we ended up with the same button. It’s called Pemaquid, Maine, also known as my hometown. It’s nestled up in John’s Bay about halfway up the coast. When we’re up there we are surrounded by water and trees, as well as a no-longer-working demolition derby car and enough lobster traps to build a small house.

View From My Parent's House

And we’re lucky enough to have a free place to stay benefit of staying with my parents that also comes with babysitters another benefit of my parents. Not that going out is top of our list while we’re there. I mean, who needs to go out when you can sit and have a beer with a view like that? Not to mention the ‘open air’ bathroom at the opposite end of the deck, aka: where no one can see you pee. On our visits BF is usually put to work clamming, lobstering yes on an actual boat, or weed wacking.

BF & My Dad Digging Clams

All the while BF has a huge shit eating grin on his face as he intently goes about whatever task is thrown at him because he knows that at the end of the day, whatever he is doing is going to have great reward at the end. Maybe it means the freshest steamed clams you’ve ever tasted, or as much lobster as your belly can hold. Or maybe even something as simple as sitting by the water in the early evening with an ice cold beer watching the sun set over the tree tops.

The Fruits Of BF's Labor

And this is where BF and I press our reset buttons and rediscover the wonders of life and each other. Where our worries melt away as our minds are refreshed with the scent of the salt air and bug spray and the mouth watering taste of fresh off the boat seafood.

BF standing in the front yard talking With My Dad...Who's on the boat.

This morning at 8am, as we drove up Rt 27 listening to the local Ford dealership on the radio encourage people to come trade in their old manure spreaders for a brand new F150,  our reset buttons were pressed. We laughed until we cried as BF did his best Main-ah impression. We were officially in Maine. Vacationland: ‘The Way Life Should Be’. And now, as we sit on the deck watching the tide roll out and dodging humming birds we were sitting too close to their feeder I say to you this: If you don’t yet have a reset button, go find one. And reset it often; because beneath all the chaos and drama of life is harmony, and it’s closer than you think. Cheers.

Cheers to the Reset Button!

I Love You

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“I love you.” We’ve all said it. You say it to your parents, your kids, your best friend, your significant other. Some people say it as a lie. And some people say it with every bit of their heart. Either way, we say it. I’ve even said it to my coffee at 5 o’clock in the morning. Sometimes I think that’s when I mean it the most. I hate to admit it, but there was a time when I did say “I love you” as a lie. That time has passed and now I find myself saying it with more heart than ever before.

I find the words “I love you” to be more important now than ever before. I randomly look at my kids and tell them I love them. I tell them I love them when I tuck them in at night and then go into my bedroom and kiss BF and tell him I love him while he’s sound asleep. Every time I get in the car with the kids I buckle them in, kiss their foreheads, and say “I love you.” When I talk to BF on the phone I tell him I love him before I hang up each time. It’s the same with my parents.

I know there are some people out there who say, “I don’t have to say it, they know it through my actions.” I, am not one of those people. Yes, I show it through my actions with hugs and kisses, wiping away tears, packing lunches, and even setting out BF’s clothes for work. Those things are all well and good, but I NEED to be sure those I love know it and I NEED to know that they love me back.

Here are my rules for love:

  1. Only tell someone you love them if you mean.
  2. ALWAYS tell the people you love “I love you” before hanging up the phone.
  3. Kiss you kids and say “I love you” before you drive away in the car, even when they’re in it with you.
  4. When tucking loved ones in for the night, kiss them, look into their eyes and say, “I love you.”
  5. Say it to those people when you walk through the door.
  6. Say it to them again when you leave.
  7. If you feel like saying it, just because, then say it. You can never say it too much.
  8. Say it to your significant other when you roll over and look at them in the morning.
  9. Never pass up a oportunity to say it to your parents.
  10. And always say it to your siblings even when you want to throw snow balls at their heads.

Last night BF was in a car accident. I was asleep when he went to work and I didn’t get to say “I love you” before he left. I woke up to 3 missed calls from the donor (the accident happened across the street from his house) along with 2 texts from him saying that he was pretty sure BF was involved in the accident. I dropped my phone and started crying. I couldn’t believe that I had missed the chance to say “I love you” before he left for work. I had no idea how bad the accident was or what had happened. My mind jumped to the worse possible scenario a horrible habit of mine. I thought that was it, I had missed my last chance to say it.

I picked up my phone and looked again, and there in my texts messages was a text from BF saying he had been in an accident but he was ok. Needless to say, I was a bit relieved. The next half hour was filled with texts saying “I love you”, and its continued on into this morning.

I’m lucky that I get to say ‘I love you’ to him for another day, but there are some people who aren’t as lucky. So I say to you, tell those you love that you love them every chance possible because you never know if it might be the last time. And when you say it, say it like you mean it so they can feel it.

Coast Guard Remebrance

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I used to be in the military. I spent most of my 20’s in it, almost 7 1/2 years to be exact. So you would think that when a holiday such as Memorial Day rolls around I would be able to come up with a post that tugs at your heart-strings and make you want to rush out and hug a solder/sailor. Truth be told, I’m at a total loss. I have no idea what to say to overwhelm you with those emotions.

I think it has to do with the fact that I was in the Coast Guard the hippy branch and didn’t see any combat what-so-ever. Most Coasties don’t either. I remember all through my Coast Guard career learning/talking about Douglas Munro and all he stood for. There is a Coast Guard Cutter , recruit training barracks in Cape May, NJ , and a hall at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT  all named after this amazing WWII hero.

And then in 2004 the Coast Guard was shocked with the news that one of our brothers was once again killed in action. His name was Nathan Bruckenthal . This hit close to home for us. Even though I never had the honor to serve with DC3 Bruckenthal I knew people who had and had the pleasure of listening to their stories about being stationed with him. As a Company Commander (the CG’s version of a drill instructor) I used his story to motivate and educate my recruits.

There have been other casualties of war in the Coast Guard, LTJG Brostom, EN2 Phillips, LT Ritticher, FN Hernandez, ENC Beeson, EN1 Painter, and LTJG Kirkpatrick all gave their lives in the name of freedom in Vietnam.

I thank these men for their service and their selfless acts during a time of war. They did what the Marines, Army, Air Force, and Navy are recognized for every day. I know that many of you are thinking to yourself, “Yeah, but you’ve only mentioned 9 people in a little over 62 years. The other services have lost a substantial amount more.” And you’re right, they have. I’m not trying to down play that at all. I’m sure there are a few service members that I have run across  during my time in service that passed since the time that we were friendly. I lost contact with many of them and may never know if they have survived the war we’re in. But I thank them for their service and their sacrifice.

But I’m going to put the Coast Guard in perspective for you. The New York City Police Department has just of 34,000 officers. The Coast Guard defends all of the American shores, including inland waterways, the Great Lakes, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Virgin Islands. On top of all that they are also a growing force in the Mid East with the recent addition of their Deployable Special Forces: D.O.G. (Deployable Operations group). They’re a small knit group where there often doesn’t even seem to be enough people for 3 degrees of separation let alone 6. When just one falls everyone feels it as if it were a close relative.

The Coast Guard casualties of war don’t even come close to the men and women  who have died doing their daily duty to keep you, the American public, safe at home. Be it chasing drug runners, upholding maritime law, or rescuing a man over board, the Coast Guard has put their life on the line even during times of peace. They are a premier maritime force with 11 missions . They are a humble group who silently keep your waterways safe.

So the next time you run into a Coast Guard member/veteran remember to say “Thank You.” Or the next time you drive by Arlington National Cemetery , remember that there are some Coast Guard hero’s resting among the soldiers. Thank you to all my fellow Coast Guard members past, present, and future. Thank you to those who gave their lives in the time of war, but also to those who died selfishly in times of peace protecting the American public at home.

Happy Memorial Day.