Memorial Day is a time to pay homage and remember the sacrifice of those who have been killed in action serving our country.
Today I’m remembering my marathon guardian angel Megan McClung, who as a Marine Corps Major served as a Public Affairs Officer in Iraq. A triathelete and accomplished marathoner, Megan was the first female Marine officer killed in action.
The flag-lined Blue Mile at the Marine Corps Marathon is a stark and emotional reminder to all the runners of fallen warrior sacrifices.
I will never forget your sacrifice my Marine sister, and Semper Fidelis.
I’m at an age where I could retire from my day job, but I am my father’s child and work gives me purpose. I’m hoping to have established myself well enough as a writer so that when I finally leave the day job, I’ll have momentum and works in progress to keep writing and creating.
With the new year, I’ve changed my day job schedule to give me a day off every other week to enjoy 3-day weekends. So 2019 is the year to settle into a writing routine that works for me to avoid burnout, to keep working on my memoir, and explore fiction and new creative ventures.
Recently, I applied to be a driver for Lyft and Uber. My father worked as a shuttle driver until he was 83 and it kept him young. He thoroughly loved meeting and connecting with new people, finding out what was going in the world outside his door, and exploring different parts of the city. Though it will be a very limited side hustle, I’m hoping it will provide fodder for my fiction exploration.
This year I also intend to connect with a local writer’s group, attend a writer’s conference, and continue expanding my blog. I’m committed to writing five days a week, whether it is just a quick note in the morning, an essay, or a blog post. I want to have more adventures, artist’s dates, walking meditations, and camping, lots of camping with my girl and The Bookends.
I’m not going to lie, 2018 has been a year filled with challenges. Between my grief hibernation and my partner’s job chaos, there were no adventures or camping in 2018. We vow to change in the new year.
So cheers to new dreams, careers, and side hustles…bring on 2019!
Back in the day, before Shutterfly made fancy photo Christmas cards easy peasy, the one Christmas custom I had was designing and producing a photo card. It was literally a production — one year cutting palm fronds to stage a California beach Christmas or renting Lederhosen another year for a German-themed card. Living far from family and friends, it was a great way to keep in touch through the years and my elderly aunts looked forward to getting them every year.
Some years the ideas came easily, like the year my ex had a Harley so we were born to be wild in our black leather.
Other years, not so much…like the year we were doing a routine Christmas shopping trip and a chance photo op with Santa turned into our card. No production, no dress-up, just the crazy mis-matched clothes she was wearing. Of course while we were in line, I dashed off to the nearest Claire’s for a hair accessory to tame the mane.
Turns out, it’s my favorite card of all. The perfect Santa from Central Casting and my sweet baby girl wistfully thinking about what she wants for Christmas.
Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas…and I hope all your wishes come true!
It hit me like a gut-punch this week. In a year of firsts since my father passed, this would be the first Christmas without him. I crumbled at the thought, but sucked it up, stuffed my emotions, and went to work.
“Guess what I did Pa? I joined the Marines.”
“Guess where I am Pa? I’m in Vegas and I just got married.”
Yup, I was that kid that would turn a parent’s hair prematurely gray. My father was my Rock. No matter what I did or where I was, he’d respond, “You did what?!” and then want to know all the details. He was always a shoulder to cry on and a soft place to land through two divorces and the death of my mother, his first wife.
The cycle of life is inevitable but getting older sucks. I know I’m lucky he was in my life for 63 years but it doesn’t ease the pain of the gaping hole his passing left.
I’m fortunate to have had a lifetime of loving memories with the man I’m proud to call my father. This weekend, I’m taking a stroll down memory lane looking through pictures and watching all the 8mm movies my father took that I had digitized. It will be another first, watching our younger years without being able to call and reminisce with him. Please pass the tissues.
Wishing you a Thanksgiving filled with gratitude and love.