Monday, April 23, 2012

Home Leave: Our Reward for Service

I have completed my tour in Muscat, Oman and am now spending the first half of my 25 days of home leave on the beautiful island of Kauai.  My son lives here with his wonderful wife and their adorable 3 grandsons.  Home Leave is mandatory and must be taken between overseas assignments.  And when I say 25 days,just weekdays are counted in that 25.  This does not include weekends and/or holidays.  It's a time when you reconnect with family and friends and it helps you stay grounded after serving overseas for an extended period of time. 

I'm a workaholic, to a certain degree.  So, for me, home leave can be painful.  I'll be ready to get back to work after about 3 weeks.  Keeping busy is key for me.  Currently, I have no problem doing that!  Today I took my 5 year old grandson, Gavin, on a trip to 2 different beaches here and we had a blast.  He insisted on bringing his pail and fishing net just in case we saw fish.  We didn't.  But we did encounter a monk seal at Haena Beach.  At Ke'e Beach (or End of the Road Beach) we saw some pretty wild surf.  You could see 2 para surfers surfing at Tunnels, on the outer edges of the reef.  It was beautiful. It was kind of a rainy day but's Hawaii and who cares if a little rain falls on you??  On the way back, we stopped and had a Bubba Burger in Hanalei. Gavin is so much fun to be with and we had so much fun today.

In about a week, I head for Home Leave, Part 2 in Fort Worth, Texas. It will be wonderful to see my 97 year old Dad again.  And have some great Mexican food!  But until then, I will continue to spend quality Home Leave Time with Gavin and my other 2 grandsons, Micah and Makana.
Gavin, ready for a fish sighting

Monday, April 16, 2012

My New Photography Blog

This blog is and will continue to be a running commentary of my life as I travel through it.  I decided I also wanted a blog to just post photographs. So today I created a second blog for just that post my photographs.  You can find it at  I'll still be writing here but will use the other site to post just photographs, with maybe a comment as to where the shot was taken.  I hope you'll visit it!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Webster's defines bittersweet as "a combination of the standard tastes of sweetness and bitterness, and is often used as a metaphor for experiences which have elements of both happiness and sadness."

That would be me right now...happy and sad.  I'm sitting in my hotel room in London, having departed Muscat, Oman last night.  When something and someone is so good and you have to leave it/them but you are headed to see your grandsons...well, that equates to bittersweet.  My 21 months in Muscat were the best.  I loved my job, my friends and the country.  Leaving such a wonderful place was hard to do. The friends I made were a bonus. What a bonus!  And leaving them was harder than leaving Oman.

The benefits of doing what I do are unending...I travel, I have an interesting job that makes me WANT to come to work every morning, I meet fantastic people and have the opportunity to live around the world and meet and learn to understand people of other cultures.  That last one is really important.  The more we learn about other people, their culture, their beliefs, their traditions...the more we understand them. You realize very soon that understanding is powerful.  It softens any negative attitudes you might have about a certain culture or country. It promotes tolerance.

What we need is more tolerance of other cultures.  And what I need are fewer goodbyes.  And the bittersweet of this...I look forward to the many 'hellos' I'll get when I arrive in Lahore, Pakistan.