Sunday, June 14, 2020

Reflections

Today is both Flag Day and the Army Birthday. When I was in the Army, we often had cake and celebrations associated with this day. Today, I'm just at home still in my PJs reflecting on the fact that I've spent more time outside of the Army than in it.

The first time I deployed, a volunteer handed me a little flag before I stepped on the plane. It was the same kind I've handed out at parades or nursing homes, the little inexpensive ones on a wooden rod that might give you a splinter if you're not careful. But that day, I had this realization that there was a chance I might not set foot on American soil again. I clung to that little flag in fear and anxiety, hoping for the best.

As controversial as General MacArthur was, sometimes I still hear the recording of his aged voice in my head... ""Duty, Honor, Country" — those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."

In tough times, in challenging times, in scary times, I find myself clinging metaphorically to that little 30-cent flag. Sometimes, I feel its splinters digging into my hand. But I hold fast because of those three words, reminding me to never give up on courage, faith, and hope. There remains the possibility and potential for a better tomorrow.


Saturday, January 4, 2020

San Diego

Another work trip journal...  My team went to San Diego to do some focus group research last year, so I got to travel to California and enjoy some pretty beautiful weather.  I also stayed at a hotel with marina views, which was positively lovely!  (I also had a chance to see a DAR friend and a family friends, both before starting work...  love being able to do things like that when I can!)

Hotel room view and breakfast

We also indulged in some delicious eats!  My favorite meal was in Little Italy at Barbusa.  It was absolutely delicious!  We found it using Yelp, and we made a reservation same-day.  I'm glad we did, because the wait when we arrived was long!  Parking was challenging too, but we managed.  The garlic bread was an absolute must!  It's an old family recipe.  The burrata was so fresh too.



My meal was a bit on the overindulgent side... a pasta with bone marrow!  It was heavy and creamy and had delicious sausage in addition to the marrow.  I loved it, even though it left me feeling a bit sluggish after the fact.



My favorite outing was our trip to the San Diego Zoo.  I'd visited the zoo once before in 2012 on a road trip with my sister.  It's an AZA zoo and world-class facility... and it's absolutely huge!  It's hilly, too, so you get your steps in.  We also enjoyed the aerial skyfari at sunset, another highlight to be sure.





On my last visit, my favorite animal to see was the giant panda exhibit.  Unfortunately, the giant pandas were recalled the China in April, so the zoo no longer has them.  This time, I enjoyed the elephants the most.


A weekday evening is the perfect time to visit the San Diego zoo... we found great parking, enjoyed few crowds, and the sunset was absolutely stunning.



I love San Diego, and I hope to visit again soon!

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