Wednesday, August 26, 2015

WCW - Crista

It's actually Wednesday this time. You know what that means.

No football practice! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Also, it's time to tell you about another wonderful woman, lovely lady, fantastic friend...


She is. Totally.

She makes me so happy it makes me want to give shit away. For real...stick around for that.

I first met Crista when she was one of those behind the scenes heroes that answer our calls for help, one of the women (and for a time maybe a dude, I believe) that kept a watchful ear out for and provided an untold number of annoying status checks to my better half.

"Twenty Five Zero Six, status check."
"Code Four."

We became friends because she has the same care and empathy off the job.  Also, she's a classy broad who says "fuck" a lot.

A lot. Yet just the right amount.

She rolls with the punches and finds humor in the everyday shit storms that can otherwise take a toll on you.  She gets my sense of humor and doesn't get her knickers in a twist too easily.

Her two kidlets, Amazing Alex and Super Sean, are her life. Super Sean, at seven now, once came over for a playdate and was too excited and involved in playing Legos or Ninjas or whatever it is that boys do, and I soon found him in the hallway in need of the speed cycles on my washer and dryer. I quickly found him some loaner drawers and told him to just go play and his clothes would be clean and dry before his mom even knew what happened.

You guys know I'm a sucker for a kid in a dilemma.

This sums up how much cooler of a mom
than me Crista is.

Amazing Alex has Tyrosine Hydroxylase Deficiency, a disorder affecting only about 40 people in the world, but neither Alex nor Crista lets it define her. Crista's supermom skills include making sure Alex gets the most out of life, and that others are able to reap the benefit of knowing her, too.

She up and moved on us in the name of love - falling for an Army Man who all-too-soon received orders for a move to Colorado. She didn't miss a beat, making new friends, learning new things, and growing in her new found role as an Army Wife while never letting go of herself.

I missed her on a visit home last year, so determined to see her beautiful face, I popped by the airport when she was last here just to catch her and  say "HEY" before everyone sucked her into a whirlwind stay that never ever lasts long enough. I was glad for that, since the day our friends gathered to see her fell on a rare and too often at the same time trip out of town for work.

There's nothing she can't do. She bakes up giant batches of bad ass Guinness cupcakes like a pro. She cooks, she sews, she huckleberry moonshines. She slices, she dices, she juliennes.

Just kidding. But it does seem there's nothing that intimidates her. I know that's not true, but at least outwardly, fear would seem to fear her. Even her failures are successes, since she's able to laugh about the lessons learned and share them with others.

She climbs mountains and takes us along for the ride. She keeps us posted on her happenings with her blog, My Worried Face.  She's open and honest and really allows us a peek into her dynamic life and how she manages it. She shows us that life is not all rainbows and puppy dogs, except for Ginger, her four legged partner in most outdoor antics and couch cuddles.

That's a lot of steps.

Her Elf won't stay on the Shelf, and she shares with us so that we might see the magic through children's eyes again.

Bill, proposing to his girlfriend.

She wears her heart on her sleeve, equally being a deeply empathetic and loving person while having zero tolerance for bullshit. She's always a supporter, a cheerleader, and a sound and solid voice in a sometimes chaotic world.

I'm so fortunate to call her a friend. I'm so happy for the way she found her way to our family, and no distance will make me let her go.

So to celebrate my special spotlight lady, I'm going to do my first giveaway here. Leave a comment below or on the Facebook link about either how awesome you think Crista is too, or how you haven't met her but you read this and she is obviously a super cool chick because you believe everything I say, and I will enter your name for a random drawing on September 3 (in honor of our official start of school) for a coffee coozie made by.....


See? She even has her own Etsy shop dedicated to coffee coozies. What caffeine addict doesn't love that? They've been a featured item in Spousebox, a monthly subscription care package for and by military spouses. You can visit her store at CozyCooziesCo or her Facebook page at Cozy Coozies Colorado to purchase these custom creations if you're not a winner. Or, if you are a winner and you decide you want to get your paws on more of these guys. I bet she could even make a Ben and Jerry's coozie if that's your persuasion. No judgement here.

Monday, August 17, 2015

WCW - Stephanie

Oh. It's not Wednesday? Too bad. I wish it was Wednesday. It's about the women more than the day of the week. It's my blog and I'll do what I want.

Now then. Today's WCW is someone whose path crossed mine in the distant past, only briefly, secondarily, and without real consequence, and who the universe brought back around to me in the form of: Cop's Wife.

The "and a half" to J-Flo's badge number, I first met her at some party or another and kept struggling to remember where we'd met before.

I'd never forget a face like this. Yowza.

I asked The Hubs, who is a terrible source of information.

"I don't think you know her. I think she's from Oklahoma, where Jerry's from. I don't know. I think maybe she used to live here, I have no idea."

Thanks to good old Facebook, I finally put the pieces together when a mutual friend joined a conversation.  Seeing the two of them in proximity set off the same reaction that Dory has when she sees the "Sydney" sign.

"ACK!!! NEMO!!!!"

Stephanie had been running the show at our local movie theater when one of my best friends worked there in high school.  I'd seen and talked to her whenever I went to bother visit Angie at work, and I recalled her always being very quiet but kind.

I knew that my friend had later ended up renting Stephanie's prior apartment, the upstairs of a Normal Hill Victorian with a weird closet area that always made me want to hide away from the world there. This may have been just me picking up on the spirit of a child-ghost, who was trying to hide away from the world there, I'm not sure.

I remember always feeling sorry for anyone who had responsibility of wrangling all those unruly teenagers into actually working and not just screwing off and fighting over who would have to switch out the soda canisters or take the garbage out.  I wondered if she ever got really mad, tore someone a new one or fired them, demanding that they leave their tiny vest behind for the next person to wash popcorn oil out of.

Surely not. She seemed too nice and laid back for that.

(For the record, I still don't have any idea, because I've never asked her OR my friend. These were just the dusty old memories I had of her for 20 years or so.)

Getting to "meet" her again, and actually getting to know her this time has been great. We're a lot alike. We're both hard to read. We both hold the same beliefs regarding the inappropriateness of not hearing from your husband by 2:15 when his shift ended at 2:00.  We both generally hate having the focus on ourselves. We're both generally kick-ass.  You get the idea.

She talked me into having family photos done.  And really, if you have a chance to experience that, you should totally do that with her.  She is patient and gentle and makes sure you look amazing.  She brings her posse of assistants with her that made the day fun and miraculously got my children to listen to her direction.

Four of my favorite people, as captured by one of my favorite people.

Here's her photography website.  Go there immediately to check out her work and ask whether she's taking new clients or whatever because she's truly so so great to work with:

It was a devastating blow to learn not many Cop Wife Friend years in, that the Big C had infiltrated her body. Cancer is such an asshole. We just tried to make sure they knew (and mostly in the way that can only be conveyed from one dude to another dude) that we were in the periphery. Fundraisers and schedule shuffles seemed like nothing, but it was what we could do in our roles. They had people closer to them for other support roles, and we held our breath.

Once her cancer returned this go-round, she started treatment in a trial in Seattle. She has bravely and level-headedly walked us through her journey in her own words here:

She (and her doctors) kicked cancer's ass, you guys. She's making history in one of those "forever referenced in medical books" kind of ways. When you hear about this treatment tomorrow or next week or five years from now, when someone you love is no longer under the thumb of that real dick of a disease, know that it was because of people like her willing to take a leap of faith and doctors willing to push for more than the status quo.

She asked The Hubs to take her out on the SS Lee so she could try her hand at surfing. Surfing. On a surfboard. In the water. She is not a "lay down and die" kind of person over here.  She's not a "lay down and just take about a month off after they just told me they cured my cancer" kind of person. She's got shit to do.

So we took her out. Hubs made her a tall cup of Boat Drink (pm me for recipe). He and the kids showed her the ropes (literally). She looked at me.

"If I do this, will you do it too?"

Out loud: "Sure, why not?"

You see, I'm generally what you'd call an "observer" when it comes to water sports (or land sports for that matter). I'll watch. I'll cheer. I'll weight the boat down so you have a sweet sweet wake to surf. I'll toss you the rope until you're ready to quit. I'll toss you a dry towel when you're done. But I'm good not actually...what's the word?  PARTICIPATING.

But I wasn't about to leave her hanging alone.

And she did it. She banged it out like a champ. And I was like, "That's so awesome!!! I'm so proud!!! I'm just going to be over here not taking pictures of you because that's what lady-friends are for!!"

Her hubs was taking pics with his iPhone. But I'm not sure he knew what he was doing. I kind of hope he got some good ones so she can remember how awesome we thought it was for her.

She's really having one bang-up month.  It was a fantastic moment.  I was so happy for her.

When she was done it was apparent she hadn't hit her head hard enough on the surface of the water to forget that I'd committed.


Didn't she know today was about HER?  Can't we focus on that?

Anyway, I figured Hubs would try to drag/drown me about ten times and we could call it a day.  But that didn't happen.  He only tried to drag/drown me about eight times before me and my one good arm finally hoisted my ass up out of the water and to be honest, as many times as I've watched lots of people on the back of our boat, I still thought "Well shit, now what?"

And Stephanie, giant professional camera at the ready, documented that shit. Me. In swimwear. Which gives me hives. But I'm glad for the proof that it happened. And I'm glad that if anyone was going to be taking a picture of that, that it was her. She's basically the only person allowed to do that from now until I die. She's the official photog of me in anything more revealing than a burka.

I hadn't told hubs about the four-page long questionnaire I'd filled out for my doctor in October. The one I saw when I started getting real sleepy eating ice cream. The one that asked me what my goals were and what my timeline was for those goals. The one I'd answered by saying by Summer of 2015 I'd like to finally join the boys in my family in learning something on the end of a rope on our boat other than "tubing". My broken and never-quite-healed-right left arm and my excess weight seemed to be significant enough barriers to keep me from trying again after one other "I'll do it if you do it" moment I'd had with my sister in law. That attempt did not end successfully.

So Saturday, at Stephanie's urging, I did it. And she did it. And for one short day the ladies were rulers of that ship. Both ceremoniously crossing a big to-do off our lists.

(Sidenote: I'm not going to write about Jerry's attempts until I get out of therapy for the PTSD I'm suffering from having watched a grown man sink and appear to be legitimately drowning while wearing an appropriate Coast Guard approved PFD with an attached rape whistle. I thought it was going to turn into a water-rescue-practice kind of thing for a minute, there.)

And today, I don't know about her, but I can't straighten my arms out all the way or lift ToddlerBandit at all. But I got enough movement back in my fingers to use this keyboard to tell all my friends just how cool I think she is. I don't want to wait two more days for that. I'm sure you'll get over it.

PS: She took a TON of pics of my shorties, including this one of Clayton, to work with some new editing tool.  It belongs to her, I stole it (that's the deal with my WCW victims), but I'm putting it here anyway and I think she'll get over it. You definitely should keep her in mind if you have an upcoming need for a photog.

via: Shots By Stephanie - Facebook