Sunday Afternoon 9/17/2017

 

Both Brett and I are looking forward to the start of the new Ken Burns’ documentary tonight on Vietnam. We think it will be excellent, and present both the good and bad of that time as a cohesive whole. Brett did not serve in Vietnam, although he was in the navy and knew many who did serve. He started working for Black & Decker as a draftsman right out of high school in 1968, and joined the Army National Guard (like Dan Quayle) to avoid being drafted. However, he became very ill during his service (almost died) and was medically discharged from the Guard. But lo and behold, someone on his local draft board thought he should still be eligible, and one Monday in early 1970 he received his draft notice ordering him to report the following Monday. He had been a helicopter door gunner in the reserves, and when they told him he could possibly serve overseas he knew they didn’t mean Germany (and door gunners in Vietnam had a very poor rate of survival). So, on Tuesday he called the local navy recruiter and on Thursday he was at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center reporting for boot camp. He was only going to stay in the navy for one enlistment, but ended up liking his job and decided to make it a career. He spent the Vietnam years on an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. For my part, I remember the demonstrations, the craziness of 1968, and all the arguments with my parents about the war. It was a sad, bitter but defining time in our nation’s history, and in my opinion, everyone lost.

I think summer may be trying to turn into fall here. Although the days are still very warm, the mornings have been cool, and I’ve found myself snuggling into the comforter on a few days to keep warm. Most evenings are cooler as well. Wednesdays have become known as Hell Day around here though – for the last several weeks they’ve all been the most unbearably hot day of all, with zero air moving and horrible humidity that lasts well into the night.

Also, there is a great giveaway going on over at Don’t Read This; It’s Boring which includes lots of fun things that would make great stocking stuffers, or can be used or eaten now (I’m talking about chocolate!).

This afternoon I am:

  • Reading: Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China, by Fuschia Dunlop, came off of hold this week and I’ve been enjoying it immensely. She includes recipes in the book! Stephen King’s It became available two days later, so now I’m reading about Chinese food during the day, and a creepy, scary clown at night.
  • Listening to: There are lots of birds singing outside this morning, and lots of baby chicks peeping too. It’s a lovely, cool, breezy morning and it’s wonderful hearing the palm trees rustling again. Inside it’s quiet . . . for now.
  • Watching: In the hour before Vietnam we’ll be watching another episode of Bletchley Circle – PBS Hawai’i is showing it again, and it’s a terrific show. We finished all the available episodes of Catastrophe and started a new season of Ripper Street. We wish some of our other favorite shows (Broadchurch, Happy Valley, etc.) would also have new seasons up for streaming. For a long time we didn’t watch any TV, but these days Brett and I are enjoying watching in the evenings, and catching up on shows we missed in the past. I’ve been binge watching The Mindy Project at night while I work on Swagbucks – fun show!
  • Cooking/baking: There’s still a little bit left of the chocolate cake I made last week, so it will be a few days more before I bake something else. Brett’s making Scotch eggs for our dinner tonight. He and YaYu will have toast with theirs, and we’ll all share a big bowl of cut watermelon.

    Our overcast day at the beach was still lovely

  • Happy I accomplished this week: Even though it was overcast and looked like it would rain at any moment, Brett and I enjoyed our one afternoon at the beach on Thursday. Usually we read, but we chatted the whole time we were there which was fun. I drank my daily 64 ounces of water (and more) every day, did my language study, and rode my bike five days out of seven. YaYu let me help her with one of her college essays and actually accepted some of my suggestions! Brett and I both signed up for credit check and identity monitoring through USAA this week. We’ve always been careful, but feel a need to take some further precautions to protect our credit/money following the Equifax hack.
  • Looking forward to next week: I almost can’t believe it’s time again for our monthly Big Shop. Our shopping list seems quite short this month compared to others. Fingers are crossed that we make it to the beach another couple of times.
  • Thinking of good things that happened: YaYu ran a good race yesterday morning, and her time was a new personal record. The girls’ team from her school came in first. I was happy to get paid for my jury duty, although receiving the check brought back some unpleasant memories. But, I heard from someone on the island this week who knows the case well, and they thanked me for my vote to acquit, so that made me feel better.

    Two youngsters bringing their four-day old baby home from the hospital. Brett was taking advantage of the navy’s rule allowing beards, and I have a very fat post-pregnancy face (and can’t believe how much I look like my dad)!

  • Grateful for: Thirty-nine years ago this coming week, our wonderful son was born. What a joy he has been, and I am so proud and thankful to be the mom of such a kind and generous man, husband, father, brother, son and friend. He is smart, a good provider, very, very funny and witty, and is living his dream. My only regret is that we don’t get to see him or his family more.
  • Bonus question: What do you enjoy most about blogging? What do you like the least? Easily, the best part of blogging is the personal connections I’ve made, both online and in real life. I absolutely love the feedback, and the give-and-take, I get from my readers (I’ve only had one negative commenter, who ended up getting herself banned). I’ve also had the good fortune to meet several readers and their spouses in person, and have formed lasting friendships with them. Another upside to blogging is that I enjoy writing and expressing myself. Our son once told me that people blog because they love the sound of their own voice, which is true, but I’ve always enjoyed writing and this gives me an outlet (sorry though Mr. Burdine, there is no “great American novel” in me). The downside of maintaining a blog is that I have to come up with things to write about! Sometimes the muse is with me and I have lots of ideas and things to say, but other times it’s a real struggle to find a topic that interests me and that I think might interest readers. This year in particular has been a challenge at times because I gave myself a goal at the beginning of the year of posting five times a week. Other downsides? I can’t think of any.

That’s a wrap for this week! Hope everyone reading had a lovely week, and have another good one coming up!

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12 thoughts on “Sunday Afternoon 9/17/2017

  1. Hawaii Planner says:

    Love your voice, and love to have a quick view into the lives of others. It makes all of the downside of social media & technology in general a little bit more enjoyable.

    I love to blog because it gives me a reminder/tracker of our own goals & progress. I find it fun to check back over time as well. I miss the pictures, as they were also a lovely way to share.

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    • Laura says:

      Quick views into the lives of others are the reasons that I enjoy my favorite blogs so much (like yours). I can get advice just about anywhere, but I’m more interested in reading about how others handle the day-to-day stuff.

      When I started blogging back at the end of 2009 it was to monitor and keep track of journey to eliminate our debt, and writing about it really helped. We’re in a different place now, so a different focus, but I still blog about goals and achieving them – it helps me to “put it down on paper,” so to speak.

      Have you ever thought about switching over to WordPress for your blog? I like the security a whole lot more than Blogger, and can monitor comments, etc. better. I actually heard from my banned commenter the other day – I discovered a nasty comment from her re. my jury duty experience that had gone straight to the trash (I rarely ever check it, but noticed it had more things in there than usual). If not for the other things in the trash I never would have seen it.

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      • Hawaii Planner says:

        I haven’t considered WordPress. Mostly inertia, I suppose. I’d consider it for sure. Is it reasonable? Since I don’t monetize the blog at all, I’d hate to spend much on the hobby of writing. 🙂

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      • Laura says:

        WordPress is free! You can pay for a fancy theme, but there are plenty of ones you can set up for free. I have found WordPress very easy to work with, and from what I’ve heard it’s less prone to problems. I think it looks better than Blogspot or Blogger, but that’s just my opinion. You could set up the new blog on WP, and then leave a link on the old blog – your readers will make the move, and yet still be able to access old posts in the original. It’s also possible to move your old posts from Blogger to WP, but it frankly sounds like a pain and not worth the effort.

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  2. vivian says:

    Daddy served two tours in Vietnam and I was really looking forward to the series but I am unable to get PBS since the storm. Guess I will have to catch the reruns. I try to see everything about Vietnam because Daddy doesn’t talk about the war.

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    • Laura says:

      You can stream it online tomorrow on the PBS website.

      I know several people who won’t talk about their experience in Vietnam. It was/is the same for many who served in WWI and WWII, and Korea. I think war and combat is more horrific than many of us can imagine, and these men and women who served are usually so young and unprepared for the horror).

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  3. Isabella says:

    Thanks for the heads-up about the Vietnam series! I will definitely tune in. I remember that time well. There were anti-war demonstrations in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. A building was bombed on the university campus and an employee was killed.

    My Hubby was drafted into the army two weeks after our wedding in 1970. (He was 20 and I was 18.) He was a medic in the army, and we fully expected him to go to Vietnam (especially since he was a medic). The two classes before his went there, but my husband’s class was sent to Germany. That was such a blessing for us as I was able to join him there. We still consider that to be one of the highlights of our many years together.

    I love how you share the simple day-to-day life of your family on your blog and also your frugality!

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    • Laura says:

      It sounds like you and your husband caught a break, although during the Gulf War and Iraq War being a medic in Germany was not a very fun tour – so many of the wounded were transited through the military facilities there, and those were the most difficult cases.

      One of the best benefits of military service are the opportunities to serve overseas. Our two tours in Japan had a profound effect on our son’s future, and on our own worldviews.

      Our life is simple these days – it took us a long while to get here, but it is wonderful!

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  4. Vicky says:

    I love your blog Laura and think why I find it so enjoyable is because you are so relatable as you live a dream that is attainable for many. It’s not about look at me how much money I’m spending on expensive stuff. For most of us over 50 we just want a comfortable lifestyle that does not involve worrying about trends or competing over who has the most of anything. I really enjoy hearing the successes of your girls. You always remind me of the pleasure we can find in living a simple lifestyle.

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    • Laura says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment! We feel very, very fortunate to live where and how we do. It took us a long time to get here, both financially and mentally, but for us less really is more. It’s helped that our children support our lifestyle fully as well – I think the girls are actually more frugal than we are.

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  5. Laurel says:

    We were just a bit late for the Vietnam draft, but we did attend college with several veterans on the GI Bill. One had been a medic and was somewhat traumatized (IMHO)…drank a LOT. The other was an engineering student who had been building highways over there and also very affected by his service. We were invited to dinner once and his wife served a cake that the Asian neighbor upstairs had gifted them, and he went nuts, screaming at her to get it off the table never serve anything from that woman again, etc. It was sad. But I don’t think most people came out of Vietnam without trauma that they had to learn to live with, one way or another. I will have to catch the first episode online today, as we were at a family gathering last night and I missed it. Ken Burns’ work is always great.

    And I, too, love your blog. It’s so relatable and real. And no pressure to buy a trendy colored handbag for fall. Ha!

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    • Laura says:

      Some of the things I heard and learned from the first episode last night nearly brought me to tears, how scared they were because the Viet Cong were such effective guerilla fighters. As someone said at the end, we just never should have been there in the first place, that it was never really about communism (our reason for being there) but about nationalism and the Vietnamese people’s desire to be a recognized, independent country.

      You will never see trendy colored handbags mentioned on this blog!

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