Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Friday, February 18, 2011

Christmas Letter

Friday, February 18, 2011 0
First off, my apologies for those that we missed mailing this letter to.  Our address book wasn't as updated as it needed to be.  At any rate, better late than never.  Here you go:

December 2010

Friends and Family,

A light dusting of snow on the ground, colorful lights around the neighborhood, “A Christmas Story” showing at the local playhouse and our new dog humping a dinner guest’s leg underneath the dining room table.  December is here and that means it’s time for the annual Cruz Christmas letter!   
First off, let me apologize for skipping last year’s letter.  The family was in sad shape this time last year when Fred, our dog of 16 years passed away just a few days before Christmas.  It was heartbreaking for us.  It just wasn’t in me to do a letter.  But rather than dwell on good old Fred not being with us anymore, I choose to remember his vivaciousness and spirit – that even though he was testicle-challenged, he’d still hump his favorite pillow with reckless abandon.  I imagine what he would’ve been like if he actually had a pair.  We’d be doing really well for ourselves if we could muster that same dogged determination.
Two paragraphs into the letter and I’ve already got two mentions of dog humping.  Classy.  Disclaimer for you first time recipients of our letter:  you won’t catch me writing about wonderful vacations, the boys’ sports and honor roll accomplishments.  That’s because I don’t want to make you puke.  So here goes with my wrap up of the last two years on less than two pages:  Command tour in Korea – awesome!  Leaving incredible friends in the Land of the Morning Calm – tough.  Dog died.  Very tough.  Got another dog recently.  Cool.  Teenage angst coming early for CJ.  Sigh.  Settling into the new job here in Tennessee.  Another sigh.  It was like getting a pine cone shoved up my butt backwards.  I go from the big office with the water view to the Dilbert cubicle.  The job’s gotten a lot better though for those that care about my nether regions.  Jake was student of the year and CJ won the leadership award for his grade at the Busan Foreign School.  Carol received some well-deserved volunteer awards from the Navy, Army and the Busan community.  Some proud family moments there.  Had some spectacular family trips to Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Australia and trekking all over Korea.  Okay.  So I did write about vacations and family accomplishments.  Hope you didn’t puke.  Maybe just a little vomit in your mouth.  Forgive me.
Definitely more bathroom time for CJ now as he works the hair and pops the zits.  He’s looking to work out now and put some muscle on that slim frame of his that already boasts the body fat percentage of a DVD.  Carol told him that he can even work out without any weights.  For example, he can clench his butt cheeks to strengthen his glutes.  CJ didn’t understand so Carol told him he could just squeeze his butt cheeks together over and over again.  CJ responded with, “Squeeze ‘em?  What, with my hands?”  So the latest teenage trends, roller coaster emotions and quest for popularity have set up permanent residence in the Cruz household.  Carol and I try to empathize.  I think back to my teenage years when I would get the embarrassing BFNR in class (boner for no reason).  I totally see Carol trying to edit that part out.
Jake is doing great.  He’s quite the independent little guy – almost too independent.  After doing a number two, he insists on wiping his own bottom even though he’s horrible at it.  He will literally use only 1 or 2 squares of toilet paper to wipe his butt.  Now I appreciate the whole earth-friendly piece of that, but dang.  At least he’ll let us do the quality assurance check afterwards.  The visual inspection of his backside usually ends with Carol and I gagging over the substantial DNA remaining on his balloon knot, lower back, fingers, toilet seat, mirror, etc.  For those that didn’t get the balloon knot reference, give it a second to sink in.  I’ve observed him wipe his balloon knot a couple of times just so I can decipher what the heck is going on down there.  He’ll take maybe half a millisecond to do one fell swoop of a wipe, as if he’s a finalist in a quick-draw contest to determine the fastest butt wiper in the west.  I think this is how that flesh eating bacteria epidemic was started.
I joke but both of the boys are awesome.  My pride and joy.  They’re both really bright with CJ getting straight A’s again and Jake doing advanced math.  He’s so advanced he already knows who he will marry - little Hannah Allen who was in his class in Korea.  Being in Korea with the Allens was such a blessing.  I’m sure our entire experience would’ve been different had they not been there.  Tyler, Jen and the kids – we love you guys. 
So where does Carol’s expertise with the glutes come in you might ask?  Listen, we’ve been happily married 17 years now.  I can still bounce quarters off Carol’s plump rump roast as if it was our wedding day back in 1993.  My lovely bride is doing fantastic.  She really left a lot of sad people in Korea.  I’m so proud of her selfless work with the Sung Ae Won Orphanage and Busan International Women’s Association.  We’ll always look back at our time in Korea with fondness but once again, it was time for another move.  Carol was an amazing trooper even after seeing a good bit of our “express” move items (dishes, computer stuff, picture frames) shattered into pieces.  Can’t shatter Carol’s spirit though.  I’ve said before that one of my best qualities is my ability to pick a wife.  Thanks for everything Carol.  Please don’t edit this letter too much.
Speaking of Korea, we appreciate the concern everyone showed us while we were there, but honestly, Busan was by far the safest place we’ve ever lived.  After suffering through three burglaries in Miami, we joke that we had to live near a DMZ to get some true safety.  When Kim Jung-Il in North Korea was making headlines, we’d receive the “Are you guys okay?” emails.  We didn’t bat an eyelash when the headlines came.  And it seemed like neither did the entire country of South Korea.  Heck, Brett Favre sending his junk mail caused more of a stir than some of the North Korea stuff.  You could set your watch according to when Kim Jung-Il would pull his next stunt.  It was as regular as him changing his pants.  I could visualize him in his bedroom closet pondering which pair of pants he would don that day, factoring in what crazy headline grabbing antic was on his calendar.  Hmm, should I put on my “sink a ship sweatpants?”  How about I go with my “American journalist capturing jeans?”  Looks like he went retro recently and put on his “bomb an island bellbottoms.”  I should point out that even with the drama, our time in Korea was so enjoyable that both of the boys have asked us, “When are we going back to Korea?” 
Now please allow me to share a recent epiphany with you.  This past Thanksgiving was incredible.  We went down to Alabama to be with Carol’s family.  Did some fishing, got to shoot some guns with CJ (his very first time), watched a tough Alabama-Auburn football game, ate lots of country cooking and rode in the back of a pickup truck.  It was a lot of fun.  I’m eyeballing getting a pickup truck myself.  Must be the Tennessee influence.  Anyway, many of you know that I love fishing.  So after two years of no fishing in Korea, there I am, pulled off the side of a Tennessee highway at a local pond, trying to recover my shoe that got swallowed up by a foot of heavy mud while I was trying to navigate my way through muck to get to a good fishing spot.  Fishing, shooting guns, pickup trucks... My epiphany?  I’m a dang Filipino Redneck! 
So after this Redneck skipped writing last year’s letter, it got me thinking about something.  In high school, you see your friends every day.  In college, you’ll see your friends during Christmas break and over the summer.  Then you graduate and you might hear from friends every couple of months.  Later on, the frequency might be once a year.  With some of you, the only contact we have is this annual letter.  It’s just the way it is.  We’ve got our own families, jobs and lives now. 
What’s my point?  I recently found out that my good friend, Ann Beard (Gutshall) passed away almost two years ago after a tough fight with cancer.  I hadn’t seen her in years and I regret not being a better friend and keeping in touch with her.  Just in the last year, there was Ann’s passing, Mark’s heart attack, some weddings, some divorces, children being born, graduations, promotions and other significant things happening in our lives.  I can’t promise that I won’t miss another Christmas letter but I can tell you that I’ll do my best not to skip the really important stuff.  And that stuff is you.  Here’s to a blessed 2011 for you and your family!

All the best,

Chris, Carol, CJ, Jake and Flannigan               

4467 Coltwood Drive, Lakeland TN 38002
901-592-6765 / (family blog)

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Thursday, February 17, 2011 0
This was in the parking lot when I went to go pick up wings for our Super Bowl party:


Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's a Youtube World

Sunday, February 13, 2011 0
Youtube has videos on almost anything you can imagine.  I've used Youtube for help with my fishing equipment, flying videos, military related items, football videos, checking out reviews for new technology and all sorts of stuff.

But little did I know the true extent of Youtube's usefulness until just recently.

The Cracker Barrel peg game.  Oh yes.  So here we are at Cracker Barrel waiting for our food.  BTW, if pancakes have tiny little holes on one side, they're gonna be good.  Here's my brother Beanie watching the Youtube video on his iPhone on how to beat the peg game.  CJ is astounded.

One peg remaining.  Once again, Total Cruz Domination, with a little assistance from Youtube.  Now that's why Al Gore created the internet.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Friday, February 11, 2011 0
Our dog Flannigan and the Chic Fil A cow - twins separated at birth?

Hmm...I never see the Chic Fil A cow and Flannigan together in the same room at the same time.

Maybe CJ is the Chic Fil A cow?

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Saturday, February 5, 2011 0
Those were the days.  Dan Marino, back in the pocket gunslinging the Miami Dolphins into the playoffs year after year.  Brings a tear to my eye.

So the Dolphins missed the Superbowl again.  Heck, they didn't even make the playoffs.  This 30 second video is in honor of all those football fans out there whose team didn't do so hot this year. CJ and Jake added some of their own commentary to this classic Jim Mora rant.

Let's all enjoy a great Superbowl Sunday while quietly commiserating the fact that our teams are not present.  There's always next year!

Youtube link:  Playoffs!?!

Friday, February 4, 2011

S-3B Viking Video

Friday, February 4, 2011 0

Most of this video is from my time with the VS-30 Diamondcutters.  Got some old VS-24 video out there that I'll dig out one day.  Without further ado, here's the mighty War Hoover:

Here's the Youtube link to the video:  S-3B Viking Video
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