Veteran’s Day

flags at pepperdine

My family has always been passionate about the USA, passionate about what it stands for, passionate that it should continue standing for it. Freedom. The USA is about freedom.

That was the summary of the essay that one me a $100 savings bond in the third grade. Since then, I’ve learned more about the country’s history and more about my family’s, and although I might have a bit more understanding and more stuff in my head, I still believe that nine year old was right.

I never thought of my family as a military one. My dad was retired from the Army by the time I could walk. We never moved around the country or around the world. I never lost a loved one to war.

But as I’ve grown up, I’ve added together all the pieces that make up this military story. Grandpa Miller served on one of the only Navy units to fight in the Atlantic and Pacific during WWII. Papa Free came back from Europe with a Nazi gun. (Not sure he was supposed to.) There are little hints of service all over our house: a camouflage hat here, little Tabasco bottles there, and the mail to Dad, addressed to MAJOR MILLER.

Recently, my brother joined the National Guard. He left for basic training yesterday. The more I think about him being a part of this, the more I realize how equipped he was for his decision. My siblings and I have been taught all our lives about what military service is. It wasn’t glorified. It wasn’t demonized. Military service was something that was specifically about the core belief of the country. It’s about preserving what my family, what families all over the nation, hold dear. It’s about freedom.

I’m very proud of my family’s history of service, particularly my dad, who doesn’t parade it. I’m very proud of my brother and his willingness and devotion to freedom.

But more than proud, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for the military service of all of our veterans and their families. I think my 3rd-grade self probably said it better, but I’m thankful for each individual who preserves and cultivates and fights for freedom.  May it reign.

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Mimi is pretty much the best

My mimi is pretty incredible.

I often wonder how much I am like her. I have one of her (five fabulous) names. I have her “pug” nose (or so she says). I can talk a really long time on the phone.

But Mimi is the sort of graceful woman that I’m sure I’ll never exactly be. I make too many toot jokes, and my purse never matches my shoes.

Whether I’m like her or not, I find her stories fascinating (at least the first three times). Did I just slam my grandmother who doesn’t even use the internet? It’s okay. She’d think it was funny. I think.

I was able to interview Mimi for Lydia this week. Check it out HERE.

Mimi has led an amazing life, and I’m so thankful to be a little part of it (and anything like her).

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star-brother wars

You know that thing I did a couple of times where I related a favorite movie to a favorite person?  Oh, you don’t have my blog memorized?  How dare you.

 

Well, I wanted to relate a movie to a person, but I almost feel bad connecting this movie to this particular person. However, this person used to put his finger in front of my eyes and repeatedly tell me, “I’m not touching you,” so I don’t feel too bad.

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Star Wars Episode !: The Phantom Menace.  For a long time I was completely behind this movie.  I mean, up until my most recent viewing in July, I was completely behind it.  I now will concede that it could have been better.  However, to Hil at 8, this movie was… epic.

 

This was the first midnight premiere the Millers went to, but Mom determined I was too young to go to it on a school night. Mom wisdom strikes again!  I was upset, like really upset.  I remember being at Thad’s baseball game when Mom told me I couldn’t go and thinking about how sometimes life isn’t fair.  I think this says something about how I was as a child; I didn’t get rude that I couldn’t go to the Star Wars midnight showing, I got introspective and philosophical.  I was a joy to be around.

Enter Rhett.

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Rhett is my older brother (the oldest of the two). (Also, it was his birthday on Saturday– Happy Belated, bro!) Rhett said he would take me to the movie the next day.  Granted, at this point, Rhett still thought this film was going to blow his mind.  After the midnight showing, the fam was a bit disappointed, particularly the older half who were less impressed with Queen Amidala’s wigs.

 

Rhett didn’t think it was good either, but he still took me.  I think this says a lot about the person my brother is.  He’s the person who sat through Episode One twice in theaters just so I could see it.  He’s the person who played Wheatus’s Teenage Dirtbag on full volume just so he could use his whiny voice to make me smile.  He’s the person who helped take care of me when I stayed home sick (including the clean up of the most projectile of all projectile vomits).  He’s the person who would do anything for the people he loves, who is a great uncle, who literally makes everyone’s day better, and who will make a fantastic husband and father someday.

 

Gear switch. Once, when we were watching The Polar Express, I asked Mom what the four of us siblings would do if the train stopped at our house.  Would we stay? Would we hop on? She went through everyone until she got to me and said that I would do whatever Rhett did.  I can only hope this is true in real life.  I’d love to be anything like the guy I’m so lucky to have as a brother and so proud to have as a friend.

Did I mention he watched Star Wars Episode One twice in theaters?

I’m not touching you!

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indiana in 90 seconds

Back home again, in Indiana, blah blah blah blah blah…

Wabash! How I long for my Indiana hoooooooome.

I was in Hoosierland for less than 29 hours this weekend, and the trip was nothing short of an adventure.

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Oh, you don’t think I can climb this tree?
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Yammo going to fall.
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I’m not sure who I take after. Mysteries…

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My friend, Crusty Bee, in between the airplane’s window panes. Miss ya, CB.

school starts, everybody farts

The Hunger Games school semester has begun!  And I’ve never been more relieved to go to school in my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always liked school (yeah, I was that kid), and I’ve always relished summer break.  However, this summer was… how to describe? difficult?  a learning experience? glorious moments of fun encompassed by long droughts of sub-par? lonely?   I think I’ll stick with a necessary window of growth and maturing, or at least, that’s how I hope to pigeon-hole it in my memoir. 

This was my first summer away from home.  I know what you’re thinking, “Hils, you’re a little old to be homesick for one summer, don’t you think?”  And someone else drones on, “Like cha, didn’t you ever go to camp?”   And here’s what I tell you:  Don’t call me Hils.  You don’t know me!  Just kidding.  Call me whatever you want, except Frida (all unibrow jokes are a low blow).  I am a little old for a lot of things, like how happy riding a bicycle makes me or buying underwear in a package.  Get over it. Some things I will probably do forever, and I’m okay with keeping one foot in childhood for the rest of my life.  And it’s taken me until now to truly be okay, if not reassured, with the fact that I missed my family this summer.  I missed grilled burgers (food first), swimming, hearing about the carnival in my hometown that I never go to (because ferris wheels shouldn’t collapse to fit into a truck), watching The Price Is Right with my brothers, going to the zoo with my sister, helping my nieces ride bikes, singing in the kitchen with my whole family, and watching my Mom and Dad sip coffee on the deck.   I missed out on all of that this summer, and I’m glad I’m human enough to be homesick for it.  I’m also glad that it puts into perspective the reason I’m here.  It must be pretty darn important to miss out on all that.

Oh, and to you “campers.”  I went to camp twice, kind of.  The first time, I think I was nine.  I thought my mom didn’t pack my hairbrush, so I lived with a rat’s nest (worse than a bird’s) for a week, only to find the brush as I was packing up to go home.  I was also taller and fatter than the other campers my age.  I don’t know how that fits in here. 🙂

The second time, was Hoosier Girls State, in high school. Death. Torture. Tears.  Smelly campus. That’s what I think of this experience.  All I can say is, never volunteer to be the town crier (in charge of waking people up).  Everyone will hate you. Summary: camp isn’t all a found-my-lost-twin-starred-in-a-musical-or-took-down-a-fit-ben-stiller experience, okay?

Don’t have much to say about the second half of this title.  There’s a story there, but I’ll save it for another time.  Besides, my dedicated readers reader (hi, Mom!), already knows about it.

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First day of school! Someone named Hils believes in me! #SelfEncouragement

Memoir Title Brainstorm:

Everybody Farts, Except Me (And Other Lies)

The Book That No One Read Because ‘Twas Never Written

I’ll Never Be Good Enough For Pinterest

Made It (Having Never Pooped My Pants Past The Age of Thirteen)

Times When I Made Inappropriate Jokes

Times I Couldn’t Stop Laughing (at Funerals) / I Swear I’m Not A Jerk

I Was Here (And Other Beyonce Quotes)

No, Pepsi Is NOT Okay

The Month I Read Lucille Ball’s Wikipedia Page Everyday (and Other Months, Too)

Naming My Dog, And Other Bad Decisions

throwback thursday

throwback thursday

In honor of currently visiting family in the desert, here’s a family in the desert. Oh, and the family’s mine, and they’re the best. I’m the little one.

Ps. Mom taught me this trick for the spelling of desert vs. dessert, and for those of us who struggle with spelling, even though it has nothing to do with intelligence, I thought it might be helpful. Dessert has two S’s because you always want more of it. Never mixing those two up again.