Friday, August 30, 2013

Checking In

SNOOZE!  Boring blog, no pictures!  I will work on quality posts in the near future but for now, board studying, feeling dislocated in a hotel room and my jet lag are going to serve as my excuses.

So...I'm here!  I've been here since Wednesday for a total of four days.  A lot has happened but there's still a fair bit more to do before I'm fully settled in.

On Wednesday, Jenn met me at the Yokota Air Base.  Although I tried to tell her not to (ha, ha), it was nice to be welcomed and she and I caught up quite a bit.  The bus ride was about 2 hours and the crying baby background noise continued.  Not to sound too cranky, but I was super over it by the time we reached Yokosuka.  But the poor Mom was trying and embarrassed- it looked like the trip was WAY longer for her and her baby than anyone else.

I checked into the Lodge with my stuff and went to the hospital quarterdeck to check-in.  The hospital was already a ghost town at 1600 so I just hung out in my room until going to Rose's house for dinner.  We had fish tacos- I felt like I was home!  I went to bed around 8 that night.  My sleep hasn't been great but it's been getting better.  I think I'm pretty well-adjusted now.  I took a tiny nap today which should get me until 10 o'clock tonight and then I should be pretty set.

On Thursday, I did a lot of check-in at the command and finalized my housing situation.  The policy is very different than when I was here before.  Basically, I was told where I was going to live.  The only other "option" is to live out-of-pocket in town.  By out of pocket, I mean that I would not be eligible for any housing allowances to defray the costs.  Since that would be an unacceptable (to me) percentage of my take-home basic pay, I use the word "option" loosely.  Frankly, I understand the financial reasons behind the decision to make base housing fill up.  The base housing is already paid for as opposed to paying a lot per month for families living off-base.  In addition, I'm in the military and a guest in another land so ultimately, the Navy tells me what to do.  I think it sucks in terms of effect on morale but since no one asked me and the alternative of no housing allowance is unattractive, it is what it is.

On the upside, I will live in Ikego, which is a housing annex about 30 minutes away from the main base.  I am excited because my unit is about a 5 minute walk to the train station attached to the side gate (Jimmugi).  In addition, Ikego is on the outskirts of a cool beach town Zushi and only 6 km from Kamakura.  It is a place I had thought about living and was actively researching off-base options before I knew about the new policy.  Also, American housing will be nice in terms of size, both square footage and American appliances.  Finally, the insulation and central air will be nice for the Summer and Winter, especially since SMS is prone to getting cold which makes him feel unwell.

Friday was more check-in and some studying.  I'm pretty much done with checking-in except for computer access since the software to create accounts is down.  I'm not too worried about it but it is a little inconvenient since, somewhat unfortunately, computers and Outlook email are basically pre-requisites to practicing military medicine.

Today is Saturday and Friday night back home (I feel like Rebecca Black).  I'm studying a lot, current blog post notwithstanding.  I'm going to be pretty boring until 20 Sept although Liz is coming to town and I feel like she and Rose will try and talk me out of my shell.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tips for an AMC flight

Well, my actual itinerary to Japan was probably the second-most ill-prepared aspect of the move for me. What I mean is that I really had no clue about the nitty-gritty details so I kind of learned along the way. (BTW, in case you're wondering, the ultimate hiccup in the whole process was SMS' DEA- dependent entrance authorization. It's a story for another day but FYI, the personal property office WON'T LET YOU MOVE YOUR STUFF without it).

Anyway, the flight. First, I had no idea who was actually booking the flight. It turns out it's SATO, the government travel agency. I was told they don't issue tickets until 3-5 days before it what I didn't know is that the itinerary is planned several days/weeks before that. When exactly, I'm not sure since I found out about my itinerary when an agent called on the 21st asking if I wanted a hotel room booked. "Sure," I said, "but can you tell me what my itinerary actually is?"

So, rather than leaving on the 24th on a commercial flight to Japan like I was hoping, I was leaving San Diego on 26 Aug to Seattle, spending the night and leaving early on the 27th to Yokota AFB, arriving on the 28th. The Seattle flight was commercial and the Yokota flight was AMC- Air Mobility Command. 

So, what did I learn?

* I probably could have known my itinerary earlier. Basically, I was put on the first AMC flight after my "leave no earlier than" date that I had put on my Transfer Information Sheet (TIS) back in May. But I'm still confused b/c I've always had SATO stuff emailed to me and they had both personal and professional emails on file but I never received anything until I asked the woman to send me a copy. 

*I could (and did) change my flight from the initial one booked. The flight to Seattle was a full fare so there were no penalties to switch. Since I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my husband, I switched from a 1330 flight to 1930 flight. Just to be clear, this is regarding the commercial flight (on Alaska) that got me to Seattle in order to check in for the AMC flight). The AMC flight is completely fixed and missing it would have been bad. 

Oh, and if you switch the commercial flight, make sure you do it through SATO, not the airline. Although now that I think about it, I actually made two switches and one was on the airline site. Hopefully, this won't cause paperwork discrepancy issues although currently, my level of caring is low. 

* In Seattle, there is an awesome USO that is always open. I think this is in part due to the fact that, according to one of the gate agents, Army and Marines are not authorized a funded hotel room so they stay overnight in the airport. I think that is totally awful if that's true and another reason I'm glad I'm in the Navy!

*What I love MORE than the USO though is the "Luggage Annex."  On the Mezzanine level above the Alaska Airline ticket counters, the USO has a luggage drop-off where they will hold onto your bags. I left my three check-on bags and it was a god-send!  The luggage check is open until 0300 so if you use it, you're essentially choosing to check-in early. The USO is also on the Mezzanine level, but on the complete other side of the terminal. 

* I stayed at the Marriott and it was awesome. Beautiful pool that I would have gone in if I'd actually been there longer. I was only there from 2300-0200 and 0500-0645 but it was totally worth it to get some horizontal sleep!  And since I left my large bags at the airport, I felt fairly light and carefree!  The Marriott shuttle is frequent and pulls into the courtesy vehicle lane (along with all the hotel shuttles and rental car shuttles). It doesn't run from midnight-0400 so I did take a cab to get back for check in but otherwise, I used the shuttle with a 5-10 minute wait. 

*Back to people sleeping at the airport- there are bunks and showers in the USO, but they fill up by around 2100.  People arriving afterwards tend to scatter around, but a lot of people just start camping out in line for the AMC check-in. Check-in starts at 0230 and when I arrived at 0225, I was at the back of a VERY long line. Fortunately, I still got an aisle seat but if you have a significant seating preference like several seats together, I would recommend getting there no later than 2. You'll still be pretty far back but nowhere near the end. Or, if you don't mind risking a middle seat for a 10.5 hour flight, you could show up at 5/515, just under the wire for the 0530 NLT deadline. 

* The AMC needs a copy of your orders, Active Duty ID and dependent no-fee passports. It looked like the sponsor could check their family in while they were off resting elsewhere but I'm not completely sure of that. 

*Bags: There didn't appear to be a weight limit since I saw several bags, including one of mine, that were over 60 lb. But they do charge for more than 2 checked bags/person. I didn't care b/c my third bag is carrying my fold up bike which will be super awesome to have from the beginning but just so you know, it's $116. I think I can get it reimbursed since part of the reason I needed bag space was for medical papers but even if I'm  not, having the bike will be worth it!

*The flight: The layout of the plane was 2-3-2 for each row, which means only 1 out of every 7 seats is a middle seat.  Also, if nothing else, bring earplugs.  There were no crazy kids but over 10 hours, many of them seemed to have their own special melt-down moments.  I know how they feel, but I'm definitely glad I could shut it out!  Finally, the plane felt pretty cool to me and I was glad to have my wrap and little blanket.

*Finally, there's a Butter salon near the beginning of the C terminal in SEATAC. A manicure is $21 with the military discount. Not the cheapest but since my hands were ragged and I ran out of time at home, I stopped by.  It opens at 0600 and was a nice treat!  I only wish I could pick an awesome color but since I'm checking in right away, only natural, "non-faddish" colors for me!

Last Weekend

I'm in my way to Japan!  While I'm excited to start my new assignment, it's definitely bittersweet to reach the end of my "newlywed Summer."  SMS is staying in SD for a few months to finish his MBA studies and while we'll see each other during that time, I'm going to miss our day-to-day togetherness!

We had a great last weekend. There was definitely some tedious packing, but the weekend was mostly a lot about having fun. We went to Banker's Hill Bar and Restaurant Friday. The food was amazing. The highlight for me was a beer-battered chile relleno with shrimp and avocado on top. We also shared a fig and burrata "bruschetta," an heirloom tomato & burrata salad and a bratwurst main dish.  At the bar, we ran into our friends Angela and Eric and it was fun to talk to them for awhile. After dinner, we snuck up to the roof of my old apartment. The access code still works and I had wanted to appreciate the view one more time.  We also saw the Sea World fireworks from the West facing staircase.  It was really an amazing night.
SMS was exactly right with his guess!

Saturday was a busy day. I went to Pilates, got an awesome haircut and did a few other small errands. Then there was more packing (eh). We also sold Bluey the car at Carmax. We are now $1000 richer, although I think it will be offset by the cost of getting a car in Japan (which I still don't really want to do but I think it's unavoidable due to call responsibilities). 

We had a really nice dinner at Linda and Rip's house. Halibut and lots of grilled veggies- yum!  Marty was there, as were Stacy and Michael. It was a great evening with such an awesome family that I'm now a part of. 

On Sunday, I went out to brunch with Jenny, Colleen and Kristen at Kitchen 4140. Although the brunch options sounded delicious, I love their Niçoise salad so that's what I got. Then, I headed home and we finished packing/sorting and then headed off to a pool party, which was such a welcome break. We tried our hand at slack-lining. Neither SMS nor I are what you would call naturals. 

The next day, I changed my flight so I could spend as much of the day as possible with SMS. We went out for breakfast, then he went to class. I mailed a few things and got a pedicure. I also made an awesome salad for lunch, which we had when he got home. We even managed to go to Oceanaire for Happy Hour ($1 oysters!) before finishing up with an airport goodbye. 

So now, I'm on the plane, traveling by myself and about 180 lbs of baggage. That's literal, not figurative, ha ha. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Epic Road Trip, Part 2!

CW from left: 1. Cute SMS 2. I am not sure if he is even paddling in this picture 3. Bridge over Stow Lake
After our Redwood stroll, we headed off to San Francisco!  First stop- lunch for the best meatball sandwich ever.  To be totally honest, the first one I ever had was the best (in 2009 with my co-worker Chris), but this one was also pretty delicious!  After lunch, we checked into the hotel and then drove through the Presidio to the Golden Gate Park.  We walked around and came upon Stow Lake.  There were people paddle boating and it looked like so much fun and quintessential tourist that we had to do it!  We rented a paddle boat and had so much fun going around the lake.  It was beautiful and wonderful.
SF Eats!  Italian sodas at Mario's and Oysters at "Rocks"

Next, we headed to Hog & Rocks for dinner.  We feasted on chef's choice $1 oysters (all day Sunday!),  Trotter Tots, ham sampler (Iowa, Spain, Italy) and heirloom tomato salad.  We walked around the Mission district for a little bit after dinner and tasted chocolate at Dandelion Chocolate.  We picked up a handout on how chocolate is made (magic) and bought a chocolate sampler to do more tastings at home!

The next day, it was on the the outdoors-y phase of our vacation.  We left San Francisco and headed out to South Lake Tahoe.  We stopped for lunch at Magpie Cafe in Sacramento.  So delicious!  We split a Banh Mi sandwich and a Smoked Trout and Del Rio Tomato sandwich.  They were both so, so good.  Sacramento (at least the part we were in) seems like such a cute town.  But, no time to dally, we were off on our next adventure!
South Lake Tahoe panorama

I called ahead and booked a room at the Strawberry Lodge.  It was the perfect place to stay because it was right next to Lover's Leap, our rock climbing destination!  We were there early enough in the afternoon that we were able to climb a two-pitch route that afternoon called The Farce.  It was fun but I was rusty on my outdoor skills.  I'm glad we did it because I was more prepared for the next day's climb.  After The Farce, we headed into Tahoe.  We took some sunset pictures, then headed to MacDuff's for some dinner.  I had a delicious chicken pot pie with puffed pastry crust and SMS had a stew.
CW from top left: Lover's Leap, Phantom Spires, far away shot of Lover's Leap, me with rope, me in parking lot where we cooked our breakfast outside the hotel b/c no one was working the "restaurant," SMS and I at Lover's Leap

The next day, we headed back over to the rock and climbed the three pitch Bear's Reach.  It was a great climb and the view was incredible.  I loved the Tahoe area and want to live there!   Maybe I'll buy the Strawberry Lodge although if I do, I may have to fight the deranged Billy Treat.  He's a young guy who I'm fairly certain is legitimately crazy and goes around telling people about his big plans for taking over the place.  He is a "pro snowmobiler" who knows everyone and wears a medal to prove it.  The medal, however, is for 10th place in the 1997 West Division Sectional.
Billy Treat's Business Card

After the Bear's Reach, we hiked into the Phantom Spires and climbed the two-pitch Gingerbread route.  It was a pretty quick climb.  After a great day of climbing, we went back to MacDuff's and had another tasty meal.

The next day, we headed out to Tuolumne Meadows.  We stopped at the Tioga Pass Mobil station and ate lunch at the famous rest stop restaurant.  We headed into Yosemite, where admission was free for active duty!  Our campsite was pretty sweet and we were by a beautiful river where SMS took some more amazing photos.
1. Waiting underneath the chimney- 3 pitches down! 2. Eichorn's Pinnacle with climbers on top 3. View from the Cathedral Peak Summit- it was VERY windy

The next day, we hiked to Cathedral Peak and had an amazing 6 pitch day.  The views were unbelievable and I felt so amazing and accomplished.  As SMS said, I never would have imagined myself on the top of a huge peak 9 months ago and here we are!  It's an amazing adventure!
L-R: 1. View of Half Dome from Olmsted Pass 2. Rim Fire smoke cloud from the summit 3. Lightening struck tree on the way out from Cathedral

We headed out that afternoon and spent the night in Bishop at a lovely bed and breakfast named Joseph House Inn.  The innkeeper was very sweet.  Breakfast was delicious and tranquil since we ate outside on the patio.  The yard/gardens were beautiful and it was such a nice find for our last night!  
Manzanar Pillar of Solace pictures flanking picture of the guard tower

We headed home with two more stops.  We went to Manzanar, one of 10 Japanese interment camps from WWII.  We toured the site and visitor center, where we watched a documentary with several former detainees.  It was really sad and almost incomprehensible that rights and freedoms were so quickly and easily taken away from an entire group of people based only on their ethnic background.  It really highlighted the importance of preserving and protecting individual rights of citizens in order to prevent mistakes that go against the ideals of freedom and democracy.  

We also stopped at the Mt. Whitney visitor center.  I hope to hike that mountain someday!  After that, we made the long push home apart from a quick picnic stop to eat our "Mule kicker" sandwich that we had bought at the Erick Schat bakery in Bishop on our innkeeper's recommendation.  It was pretty delicious!  
Our hard copy itinerary

Epic Road Trip, Part I

SMS and I have done a lot of traveling this Summer.  It's been awesome!  We've seen so many cool, beautiful places and we travel so well together.  It's been an amazing newlywed Summer and I definitely feel very bittersweet about leaving San Diego.  But as I told SMS last night on the old Banker Hill apartment rooftop (my front door code still works!), I'm definitely going to be sad and miss him but I'm so glad I have him to miss!

So, yesterday marked our return to San Diego after an epic California road trip.  SMS had two weeks off from school after a crazy busy, successful Summer term and I was done with my job ages ago (ha, ha).  I checked out from the command on the 14th and on the 16th, we were off.

We got a slightly late start due to an id card appointment and last-minute errands at work.  By 1 o'clock, we were on the road to Morro Bay.  We hit some LA traffic but missed the worst of rush hour (I think).  We stopped in beautiful Santa Barbara for dinner at La Super-Rica Taqueria, which was delicious although the portions were smaller than I thought.  Never fear, the delicious cheesiness of our dishes were very sating.  I also loved stopping in Santa Barbara since I have a soft spot for the town.
From CW starting left: 1. SMS sets up his tripod 2. Underwater exploration vehicle dry-docked in MB 3. The Rock!

That night, we spent the night with 30 of our new closest friends at the Morro Bay State Beach.  SMS noted that, "I've been to many campsites and this is certainly the friendliest one I've ever been to."  He was referring not to the people themselves, but the fact that the campground was essentially a parking lot with tents pitched behind the car.  Our next-door neighbors were only six feet away.  Awkward when peeing at night, that's for sure!  (Kidding.  There were bathroom facilities that were actually quite clean and nice.  Although, when camping, clean = nice).

The next morning, we woke up and headed to Frankie & Lola's Front St Cafe for a little breakfast.  It was a cute place with delicious food!  We got the French Toast Brûlée, soufflé, flambé and the corned beef hash with poached eggs.  So good!  Before breakfast, we got a few pictures of the Rock, which was good since the fog rolled in during breakfast and completely obscured it.  Gooooooo, good timing!
Random spots in Big Sur.  Bottom left is Julia Pfieffer Burns SP with the waterfall on the beach

We hit the road and drove up the Coast through Big Sur.  We stopped at several beautiful places including Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  SMS took some beautiful pictures and we stopped at the Big Sur Bakery for lunch after trying Nepenthe, which had a CRAZY line.  I turned it into a brunch and got the breakfast pizza (delicious!) and SMS got a fish special that was pretty good.
CW from top left: Cannery building, kelp forest, jellyfish lab, jellyfish!!!

Speaking of fish, we then headed up to Monterey to see the aquarium.  A childhood friend of mine from Rota, Spain lives there now and works at the aquarium.  Our tickets were comped and we toured the place.  The highlights for me were the jellyfish, sea horses and the kelp forest.  I could probably think of even more but I'll try and keep my favorites manageable!  Cat and Joe met us at 5 and we got a brief behind the scenes tour of the rooftop area where the kelp forest receives its sun and wave motion.  The rescue seal tanks are also on the roof.  We also went behind the scenes of the jellyfish exhibit and saw tanks and tanks of jellyfish.  Some were destined for display while others were destined to be the dinner of the other jellyfish.  Creepy!

We went to Lopez Restaurante Y Cantina, which was pretty delicious.  I had a molé dish that was awesome.   It was so much fun to catch up with Cat and meet Joe.  I feel very lucky to have rekindled a friendship from so long ago!

SMS and I left Monterey and headed to Big Basin Redwood SP for another night of camping.  The stars were amazing and this was real camping in real woods!  The next morning, we woke up and walked the .6 mile Redwood trail that hit a lot of the park's Redwood highlights, including the oldest and largest trees.  How courteous that all the highlights are in such close proximity!  We stopped by the gift shop where Mark advised me not to actually buy the coonskin hat I modeled.  Sad, but definitely the wise fashion choice.
Not a good look

To be continued!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

East Coast Weekend!

This past weekend, SMS and I headed to the East Coast for Marissa and Blake's wedding!  

First, we arrived on Friday at LGA and picked up our rental car.  We headed to my uncle's house, about 25 minutes from West Point.  We spent the night with Rick, Jen, Tahoe and Vegas (the dogs).  It was really nice to see them and hang out a little longer than we were able to at the wedding.  

The next day, I was stressed because I had forgotten my uniform shirt.  Dumb, dumb, dumb!  When will I learn to double check that EVERYTHING is there?  Since my other shirt was on its merry way to Japan, we left Rick's, picked up Karen in Garrison and went to the PX.  Fortunately, we got there with plenty of time.  We dropped our stuff off at my med school friends' house then headed out to the wedding.  

The West Point chapel is BEAUTIFUL!  It was a really nice ceremony and the first kiss was awesome!  Then, I was in the sword arch, which was my first one ever.  I was really honored and excited to be a part of it!  

That afternoon, we went out to lunch and then I took a nap.  We got ready for the reception and the three of us headed out to the West Point club.  We had a great time and it was a beautiful setting.  All my college friends except Laddie were there.  I was really grateful to have the chance to see everyone before leaving for Japan.
The three house guests!  Thanks Brian and Deb!
Toast by the Best Man!
Photobooth fun!

The next day, we went to a brunch at the Thayer Hotel and said our goodbyes.  Then we went out to lunch with Brian and Deb to a cute French place in Cold Spring, Brasserie Le Bouchon.  SMS and I had delicious salads and French onion soup.  Brian had yummy mussels and Deb had half a chicken.  All of the food was awesome and we finished off with popsicles from next-door.

SMS and I left and headed off to Little Silver.  We went out to Navesink CC for dinner and everyone had delicious fish dishes.  Maria and Brady were there too which was totally awesome!  I was so happy to see both of them.  After dinner SMS and I dropped Brady off in the city so she could catch the bus to Boston.  We went to the High Line Park, which was super-cool.  We also went to Serendipity for dessert.  I'm so glad we had a mini-outing in the city rather than just go to the hotel.  
Building on the High Line
Tower along the High Line
Who is this gorgeous man!?!?

The next morning, we were off to LaGuardia.  We had to switch our flights around due to a delayed first flight but we got back in time for SMS' class, preceded by a Chick-fil-a stop, since I had said there was one at every airport we were at and I kept dashing the hopes of SMS since I was always wrong!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mixed emotions

Today is the pack-out for my "unaccompanied baggage."  Apart from being an awesome term for psychological issues, this is the first stage of my physical leaving for Japan. Although there has been a LOT of paperwork and admin behind this, it still feels unreal that I'm actually leaving. 


Bang, bang!  Guess who's an EXPERT in the pistol and rifle qualifications?!?!?   Me!  I am so excited! My boss felt very strongly that all graduating chiefs should have weapons experience so he generously picked up the tab for some kick-ass instruction by the awesome Kurt!  My previous rifle experience was in Norfolk, VA and it wasn't a very good one.  There was no instruction, only a safety brief and when I didn't qualify, well, how was that a surprise?  But since I'm really competitive, I felt badly and swore off ever wanting to shoot again.  But my boss was very persistent and well, he's my boss, so I went yesterday.

SMS likes to imitate me by saying, "I'm not competitive, I just like to win."  Yesterday, I learned how to sight with the pistol and rifle and it was so much fun.  The pistol was easy.  The rifle was a lot harder.  The sight was supposed to line up with the target in a "perfect lollipop," which is hard to do with the sway I had in the stand and prone position.  I can't wait to upload my targets but in my excitement, I forgot them!  Fortunately, Dr. J picked them up for me.  All I know is, my first child's name will now be Berreta, boy or girl.  (Ha, ha I just had to look up how to spell it since my tastes lean more towards Burrata then Berreta!)

Today is my unaccompanied baggage move.  So, I'm sticking around the house for the "time window" of 8-5.  Geez, thanks for that.  But I am grateful to get some of my stuff over there since the rest of it won't be there until October now that my move is so late thanks to missing DEA paperwork!  The pack-out is 3 Sept and I'll already be gone but SMS and I got a POA for him so we're all set.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Uh oh...

Once a week blogging alert!  Well, it's the end of a great weekend and I have lots to report.

The work week (ha ha) was a blur of paperwork and office visits trying to get the PCS order complete. Since SMS is coming in Spring 2014, I didn't think his DEA (Dependent Entrance Authorization) was that important to finish quickly.  WRONG!!  They actually won't move my stuff without it.

Fortunately, I can get my unaccompanied baggage moved without it but now the main shipment will lag my arrival in Japan by 2-3 months.  Great.

Anyway.  Boring.  Moving onto the weekend.  Yesterday, I ran a lot of errands.  Wait, how is this more exciting?  Well, I was doing errands and cooking in preparation for SMS' birthday picnic today!  His birthday is this Thursday and he has class so we celebrated today.  We had a picnic at Fiddler's Cove.  I made double mustard apricot chicken salad, a carrot cake and brought lots of snacks.  I also grilled bratwursts, which ended up being toasted in the flames of mini-grease fires.  We also rented paddle boards and most people took a short spin in the bay.

Earlier today, SMS and I went to a promotion ceremony that featured a talk by Louis Zamperini.  His story is incredible for the endurance and success in facing incomprehensible adversity.   The perseverance of the human spirit in the face of unfathomable, dehumanized cruelty is inspirational.  Afterwards, I felt a renewed sense of appreciation for how lucky I've been in my life and the happiness I have.

I finished a book tonight, The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman.  There was a passage at the end that one of the main characters recalls which highlights the power and transformation that forgiveness allows.  I don't know if I would be a good enough person to live this truth, but it is another way of articulating a deep truth.

"'But how?  How can you just get over these things, darling?' she had asked him.  'You've had so much strife but you're always happy.  How do you do it?'

'I choose to,' he said.  'I can leave myself to rot in the past, spend my time hating people for what happened, like my father did, or I can forgive and forget.'

'But it's not that easy.'

He smiled that Frank smile. 'Oh, but my treasure, it is so much less exhausting.  You only have to forgive once.  To resent, you have to do it all day, every day.  You have to keep remembering all the bad things.'  He laughed, pretending to wipe sweat from his brow.  'I would have to make a list, a very, very long list and make sure I hated the people on it the right amount.  That I did a very proper job of hating, too: very Teutonic!  No' - his voice became sober- ' we always have a choice.  All of us.'"