Tag Archives: ABBA

Okinawa Bound

My son leaves today for Okinawa. Two years he’ll be gone.

He doesn’t know exactly what he’ll be doing but he’ll be working at the Naval Hospital there. He’s heard a rumor that because he has his EMT certificate, he may get to work in the emergency room for his regular job and when he gets assigned duty he might be driving an ambulance. That would ROCK!

Regardless of what he does, though, I know he’ll be an entirely different person when I see him next.

I got all maudlin when he left for boot camp and needed Abba to help me through.

Honestly? It might happen again. But I feel more under control now, stronger, smarter.

Why, you ask?

Boot camp, for one thing. I learned so much about the Navy while he was there. Corps School for another. I learned so much about him during the three months he was learning to be a corpsman. (I suspect he did too.) And as you know, knowledge is power.

There’s also the fact that my youngest has already sworn in on the Delayed Entry Program and will be joining the Navy too just as soon as he graduates from pesky ”˜ol high school.

So I feel very much the Navy Mom these days.

I think, too, that the unknowns are more known now and his real adventure is beginning. He gets to do a job he’s trained for and has been excited about for a long time.

It’s hard to feel sad when the baby bird flies away to do what he wants to do in an exotic, beautiful locale. As long as said baby bird remembers to email and Skype and help his mother plan her trip to Japan, that is.

Bravo Zulu, boy. Your life is really beginning. Be smart, be safe, bedazzle.

Okinawa Bound

How People Stumble into BeckyLand

I’ve become fascinated ”” some say obsessed ”” by the machinations of the blogosphere. My blogosphere, in particular.

My blog statistics and my StatCounter tell me many fascinating things, like which of my blogs are the most popular … how long people stay in BeckyLand … what pages they read during a visit … a running tally of my posts, comments and pings … and the countries my readers hail from.

People trek into BeckyLand from all the cool states and every corner of the world. Israel, Indonesia, Switzerland, Germany, Portugal, Canada, Australia. Some make sense, like Venice after I interviewed Cat Bauer who lives there. Or Sweden after I mentioned ABBA. Or Malaysia after I posted about a high school band there. Or England, since the Queen is a huge fan.

But when I saw I had visitors (plural!) from Kazakhstan, I had to do a bit of research before it made sense. An exhaustive search of Wikipedia reveals that livestock is one of Kazakhstan’s most important agricultural commodities. I recently waxed poetic about cows. Mystery solved.

My favorite blog stat, however, is the section that tells me the search terms people use to stumble into BeckyLand.

Oddly enough, every single day people, possibly muppets, search “Cookie Monster” and end up in BeckyLand. I tracked it for five days and discovered 36 of them looked for Cookie Monster and found me. But that’s not all. In one day folks searched from the general “Cookie Monster pics” (2), to the very specific “Cookie Monster eats a donut” (2), “C is for cookie” (1), and “Cookie Monster #” (3), which seems like some kind of code. Unless it’s Elmo trying to program his cell phone.

Weirdly, when I googled these phrases, I never found my blog. Lesson learned? Cookie Monster fans are persistent.

These are some of my favorite search terms people used recently to gain entry into BeckyLand. Some make perfect sense as they directly relate to topics I’ve written about like “most beautiful numbers synesthesia” … “I love a tuba player” … “synesthesia in taste” … “looks like Letterman.”

But these? “Jacuzzi” … “twas” … “what makes a person prissy”?! I twasn’t in a Jacuzzi, nor am I very prissy.

I’m equally baffled by this one ”” “like fathers chasing kids around with po.”  Pork? Poles? Polyester? Pogo sticks? Porcupines? Pollen? Podiums? Potatoes? Poinsettias? Potable water? Politicians? Popcorn? Polar bears? Poetry? Postage stamps? Pocahontas? Poison? Polliwogs? Pocketknives? Pomeranians? Polaroids? Potassium nitrate? It boggles the mind.

Disturbingly, a lot of people find me using phrases involving “tapeworm.” At least once a week, sometimes more. Five times just this week. “Human tapeworm” (2) … “tapeworm segments in human” (2) … and “tapeworm segments in stool” (1).  I don’t take it personally, but I’m becoming a bit concerned about the health care in this country.

But I’m clearly the go-to blog for writers struggling for just the right turn of phrase, which more than makes up for it. In the past week I got these ”” “metaphors for being in the marching band” … “funny similes about love” … “urban similes” … “similes someone’s first day of high school” … “bad similes by teens and gross” … “e coli Canadian similes” … “a simile sentence for someone showing hat.”

Hmm. Hope I was helpful.

Got a simile sentence for someone showing hat? How bout a bad simile by teens and gross? Or any e coli Canadian similes?

Slipping Through My Fingers

So many people have asked me about the song lyrics from yesterday’s blog about my son that I decided to post the video here. It’s a scene from the movie “Mamma Mia.”

You’ll note the stage is set differently. That’s Meryl Streep, not me. And it’s her daughter getting married, not her son going away.

If you don’t cry when you watch this, you’ve never left home, or you’ve never had a mommy, or you’ve never had a child leave, or you are carved out of stone and aluminum with a heart fashioned from wrought iron. You know who you are.

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was that before we left home, my son wandered through the whole house, telling me he just wanted to take it all in and remember it.

It was then that I realized he’d be just fine. He had already balanced on that teeter totter inside himself between knowing he wanted to leave but that leaving changed everything.

Something I couldn’t teach him.

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib-AZ3Sf3kg&feature=related]

If you can’t make the video work, here’s the link straight to YouTube.

The Navy Owns My Son Now

The phone rang at 11:18 last night. I told the operator I’d accept the charges then heard the quiet, composed voice of my nineteen-year-old son. He said, reading from a script, “I have to tell you three things. I arrived safely at Great Lakes. You’ll be getting a package from me in a few days. You’ll hear from me again in about a month. Now I’m supposed to say my goodbyes and I-love-yous. So goodbye and I love you.”

It’s official. He’s begun Navy boot camp.

It feels very indulgent to worry about him when other mothers are sending their kids off to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other hotspots around the globe. I’m only sending mine to Illinois ”” for now ”” but I’ve heard it’s a strange and often inhospitable place. Could be they’re only talking about the weather or the Statehouse (it is where Rod Blagojevich hails from, after all), but still.

It’s a bit surreal that my son is actually leaving. He’s been on the Delayed Entry Program since August so he’s been counting down the days. I’ve been counting the days, too, but probably for different reasons.

I don’t come from a military family so this is all very unfamiliar turf for me. New lingo, new protocol, new clothes. The lingo and the protocol I’ll leave to him, but I am looking forward to seeing him in clothes that fit. I’m expecting the Navy to finally get his pants to stay up over his skinny butt. Levi’s and Dockers haven’t been able to lo, these many years, so it’s obviously time for the government to step in.

People have been giving me well-meaning advice about his upcoming departure. One soul, bless her heart, tried to tell me it was no different than when I sent my older daughter off to college clear across the country. I smiled, nodded, accepted her advice in the spirit it was intended. But inside? Disputing her logic with every synapse firing in my brain.

First, I drove my daughter to college and we had a sparkly good road trip. I didn’t offer her up to strangers in front of a hotel at 4:30 am.

Second, I could call her whenever I wanted to hear her voice or give her some last minute advice or ask if she stole my favorite sweater. My son, on the other hand, won’t have regular access to a phone for ten weeks or so. The ten weeks, coincidentally, that he might need to hear friendly voices the most. But I’m fairly certain he didn’t take any of my clothes with him. In fact, he barely took any of his own clothes, and those he’ll ship back home in a few days.

Third, she had 24-hour access to the computer lab ”” even when she studied in London. We were only a couple clicks away from each other. Son? No internet, no computers, no mouse clicks.

Fourth, after she graduates she probably won’t be shot at by snipers or have to dodge laser-guided missiles. And the only pirate she’s likely to see is Johnny Depp as Cap’n Jack Sparrow.

After boot camp he’ll go to school to train as a corpsman, the Navy’s medics. I thought that sounded pretty safe … until I learned that Navy corpsmen follow the Marines. Wherever Marines are deployed, so are corpsmen.

I’m not complaining, though, really I’m not. I’m just pointing out that sending a loved one off to defend our country isn’t the easiest thing to do. In fact, it might be the hardest. So far. For me.

For his part, he’s excited and thrilled by his decision. He’ll get to see the world, he’ll learn real-life skillz, he’ll meet fascinating people, he’ll do honorable work, he’ll become a man.

I know he’s enlisting with mindfulness. He’s hip to what he’s agreed to. I just hope the government keeps their end of the bargain.

For every situation, and because this is BeckyLand, there are appropriate song lyrics, probably many, but these words from ABBA have been twirling around my brain lately. I’ve also posted the video of the song.

Schoolbag in hand
He leaves home in the early morning
Waving goodbye
With an absent-minded smile
I watch him go
With a surge of that well-known sadness
And I have to sit down for a while
The feeling that I’m losing him forever
And without really entering his world
I’m glad whenever I can share his laughter
That funny little boy

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what’s in his mind
Each time I think I’m close to knowing
He keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time

Sleep in our eyes
Him and me at the breakfast table
Barely awake
I let precious time go by
Then when he’s gone
There’s that old melancholy feeling
And a sense of guilt
I can’t deny
What happened to the wonderful adventures
The places I had planned for us to go
Well some of that we did
But most we didn’t
And why I just don’t know

Sometimes I wish that I could freeze the picture
And save it from the funny tricks of time
Slipping through my fingers

Godspeed, my love.