Formerly known as "Cruzers in Korea"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Vain & Vicious

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 0

Sunday, January 29, 2012

2011 Year in Review - Part II

Sunday, January 29, 2012 2
Whoops.  Forgot to post this one before I went on travel.  So here's the other half of 2011:

Jena got to hang out with the Honky Tonk Cruzers in Tennessee after a fun vacation week in Miami.  Of course we got our fishing on at nearby Garner Lake.  She crushed me.  She was catching bass, catfish, crappie, and blue gill.  I was catching a cold.  I wouldn't have had it any other way.  Seeing her so giddy over her fishing bounty made it a highly successful day on the lake for the both of us.    

In July, I took a work trip along with some of the other detailers and placement officers from Navy Personnel Command to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  You might have heard about JSOC in the news after the OBL mission went down.  They are one of the commands that I place for.  My brother Lee is stationed at Fort Bragg so we got to catch up a bit.  The bonus was doing some indoor skydiving with the JSOC folks.  Very cool.

For CJ's 13th birthday, he jokingly asked for a 5 pound gummy bear, a kazoo, and a shark with a laser attached to his head.  So what did we get him?  A 5 pound gummy bear, a kazoo, and a shark with a laser attached to his head.  Mission accomplished.  Due to the summer heat, the gummy bear arrived in the mail as a large gelatinous mass.  Not good.  The kazoo was a big hit.  He's belting out "Rolling in the Deep" and "Edge of Glory" like there's no tomorrow.  And here he is with the shark.  I made the laser myself.

So glad the family got to attend my good friend Hoss' retirement ceremony in Meridian, Mississippi. Hoss and I were roommates during our Department Head tour with the VS-30 Diamondcutters.  The second set of wings under Hoss' ribbons are from his time in England flying Harriers.

More travel in July.  This is the US Northern Command Headquarters in Colorado Springs.  They are one of 10 Combatant Commands (COCOMs) that I place for.  I'm the Placement Officer for all of the COCOMs, which means I provide them with their Navy officers.  There is one less COCOM now that Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) has disestablished.  Now I know why everyone wants orders to NORTHCOM.  It's gorgeous up there.  NORTHCOM was established after the 9/11 attacks.

Speaking of JFCOM, I had another trip to Norfolk, Virginia to work the many disestablishment details.  The disestablishment kept me busy for several months.  Nice to have that behind me.  Got to see some good friends in my old stomping grounds in Virginia.  This is me, Lani, and Ruben at the Goo Goo Dolls Concert in Portsmouth.  A good friend of mine was nice enough to get us tickets.  Always nice catching up with friends.

Speaking of catching up, Jake and Hannah had a ball spending time together during the Allen's trip to Memphis.  These two were besties from their Korea days.  The thoughts of being close to the Allens for our next tour is pretty exciting.

More travel.  This time to Stuttgart, Germany for some business with European Command and Africa Command.  Awesome place.  I really enjoyed running through their nature trails.  They've got them all over the place.  I got to take in a nice wine festival during my trip.  Every time I push someone's orders to Stuttgart, I know that I'm making dreams come true.

Things are bigger in Texas, except for the Alamo.  It was much smaller than I thought.  The trip to San Antonio was to visit the Joint Information Operations Warfare Center at Lackland Air Force Base.  The JIOWC is a part of Strategic Command.

In September, I was part of the Seaman to Admiral 21 Selection Board held in Pensacola, Florida.  This board picks the best and brightest enlisted sailors to go through this special program to eventually get commissioned as Navy officers.  I got to catch up with Katrina and her boyfriend Tom.  I will be eternally grateful to Katrina for introducing me to Carol.

October was a big month for the Cruz household.  CJ got baptized!  Love this picture.

San Diego for Fall Break!  This is one of many pictures of the Pose from 2011.

An Alabama Thanksgiving.  The girls decided against doing the Pose.

In December, we did a quick weekend trip to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville.  Gotta do it if you get the opportunity.  They do military specials every now and then so check those out.  Although we didn't see the Rockettes, we did get to catch a live show with Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Puss in Boots, and the Madagascar Penguins.

And to round out the year, we had the Cruz Christmas Palooza in Memphis.  Lots of laughs, food, and toilet paper.  Here we are hovering over the newest Cruz - Sammy!

Chilling with their newest cousin.

It was great having Mom visit all the way from the Philippines.  Too bad Dad couldn't make it.


New Year's Eve 70's Party to roll in 2012!

And there we go.  So like a good Navy family, we're prepping for the next set of orders and the new duty station.  More on that later.  Hope you all have a great 2012!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Miewon Orphanage

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 5

Monday, January 16, 2012

2011 Year in Review - Part I

Monday, January 16, 2012 0
Ringing in 2011 with our awesome Coltwood neighbors.  That's Amy, Lori, Carol and Stephanie.  I felt like I was back in Korea when they broke out the karaoke machine.

My brother Lee's graduation and commissioning ceremony in January at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  There was enough flair up in that piece for a dozen Bennigan's restaurants.  Lee is now with the 82nd Airborne.

Unfortunately, it was time to put the old Acura out to pasture.  Carol finally got a new ride in Feb.  This is Big Blue.  If the big smile in the front seat is any indication, Jake approves of the new purchase.  We are officially a Mazda family.  If you're shopping for a new car, USAA buying services is a great source to save some bucks.  At a minimum, it gives you some serious leverage.

In February, Carol's brother James hosted his annual bonfire at his place in Alabama.  Bonfire, fish fry and smores makes for a nice weekend.  The white pieces of paper are pictures of Justin Bieber drawn by CJ and his cousins.  They are not fans of the Bieb.

For Spring Break in March, we drove to Virginia to visit Alan, Danita, Joel and Jena.  Who doesn't like Krispy Kreme donuts?

In April, we were back in Alabama for the Burgers and Bluegrass fundraiser at the Spirit of Hope Youth Ranch.  Carol's cousin Leenie runs Spirit of Hope.  Check out this link to learn more about this awesome organization:

The family got to spend our first Easter in Alabama.  The boys got to participate in one of the biggest family events of the year in Alabama - the Easter Egg Hunt.  Big and little kids are tumbling over themselves at the start line to get to the prized money eggs.

One of our favorite things about Memphis is our church - Bellevue Baptist.  CJ and Jake both enjoy the Sunday School and youth programs.  Pastor Steve Gaines is amazing and tells it like it is.  Here's one of the murals near Jake's Sunday School class.

 Spring means it's baseball season.  Play ball!  I got to coach Jake and the rest of the Reds.

A couple of us in Millington flew down to Pensacola in a T-39 to conduct some detailing business and attend the Centennial of Naval Aviation (CONA) events.  Many thanks to Q and VT-10!

Carol and I were living on a prayer while rocking out at the Bon Jovi concert at the FEDEX Forum in May.  I gotta say, it was one of the best concerts I've ever been to.  Made for some interesting people watching too.  We saw an older lady that didn't notice the expiration date on her tube top.  There were young ladies with their 80's hair so big they needed turn signals.  Of course the mullet was out in full force.  I still cranked out my physical fitness test the next morning.

Saying farewell to Team Walker.  That's Lynn, Ann, Carol, Amy and Michele.

CJ put on a heck of a campaign and was elected Vice President of the Student Council at Arlington Middle School. Here's the poster that was banned by the school administration.  Always the rebel.

Block party in our neighborhood.

Supporting the local AAA baseball team, the Memphis Redbirds.  Try the BBQ nachos.

Here's our crew at work.  That's Megan on the left, the best lawyer in the US Navy, Shrek who drives submarines and Pam, a helicopter pilot.  Our job - making dreams come true.

My good friend Deke came down for a weekend in Memphis.  Got some business done and snuck in the Gibson Guitar 5K run downtown.  The weather didn't cooperate very well though.  The rain started pouring at the start of the run and didn't let up for quite a while.  It turned into one of the biggest wet t-shirt contests I've ever been to.

Tubing and having a blast on the waverunners at Leenie's lakehouse at Lake Martin in Alabama. 

In June, we got to visit Jason, Kristi, Aidan and Olivia in Ormond Beach, Florida.  As you can see, CJ enjoys being the center of attention. 

We headed south to Miami for the Cruz family summer vacation.  Lots of eating, laughing, beaching, fishing, shopping and zaboomafoo-ing.

Angela and Carol soaking up the sun at the lake for Cousin's Day.

An Alabama 4th of July!

To be continued...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sausage Biscuit

Saturday, January 14, 2012 1

My brother Bernabe (Beanie) who lives in New York wrote this note recently.  I thought it was pretty cool.


I'm not a pious person. I'm not a religious person. I don't pray as often as I should. I don't regularly attend church. One would find it hard to believe that I'm a Christian, because I've not led an exemplary Christian life. 

I am a Christian, and as many times that I have failed to live up to the standard that Christ has set for us, I know He wants me to always forge ahead. "Leaning forward in the foxhole" is the phrase one of my old platoon Sergeants used to say. 

That is neither here or there. It is related and simultaneously unrelated to the purpose of this note. One of the things I do consistently is warm my car up for about 5-7 minutes in the morning before work. While I'm sitting in my car waiting, I usually pray. Regretfully, it is often the only time I'll pray during that day. This morning I asked God to take care of my family and friends, as I usually do, and to take care of me. I also requested that God send people my way that need help. That need a blessing. That need a break. Did he ever. 

It's 7:20 AM as I'm writing this. God has already answered my prayer twice, and the Sun is barely awake. I was sitting down at a McDonalds eating an Egg McMuffin. (2 for 3 by the way, 600 calories), when a young woman walked into the restaurant, approached me and stopped 3 feet away and said rudely. "Buy me a sausage biscuit!!". No exaggeration. 

I looked at her and paused. Inside I was telling myself if this person were male, I would quickly tell him to remove himself from my vicinity or face dire repercussions.  Again she said "Buy me a sausage biscuit!!" I looked her right in the eyes and remembered my prayer and said, "Is that all?". She replied, (no kidding), as if startled by my response "Umm, get me two!!" I replied "How about something to drink?"  She said that's ok. I think she felt guilty. I thought it peculiar to enjoy two sausage biscuits without a nice beverage. 

I stopped mid meal, stood up, and went right to the counter. I ordered her two sausage biscuits and swiped my card, and sat back down to finish my meal. As I was concluding my meal, I wondered if she would thank me. Every time I've ever wondered if someone would thank me, it has never happened. Sure enough, she got her food and walked right out of there without looking back. I thanked God quietly.

Later, as I was leaving, in a not so dramatic incident, I saw a scruffily clad fellow who definitely looked like he needed nourishment. I had my fruit and oatmeal to go in my hand and offered it to him. He politely denied. However, another fellow saw this and immediately yelled out "I'll take it!!" So his it was. 

Upon driving away I realized how good God is. He may not have answered my prayers for more carnal and material things, but He gives me what I need. He nourished me this morning. I guarantee if we ask God to send people our way, He won't disappoint. 

A quick note by B Cruz

Friday, January 13, 2012

Flashback Friday

Friday, January 13, 2012 0

Here are the Cruzers back when they still taught cursive writing in school.  I would've shared my big fat #2 pencil with the nice girl in the red shirt if she needed one.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Gargoyle

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 0

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Roll Tide!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 0
I felt confident that Alabama would get the win last night because I found it hard to believe any team could beat Nick Saban twice in one year.  The sheer magnitude of the butt-whooping doled out by the Crimson Tide was surprising though.  I almost felt bad for Les Miles.  Almost.  So that's three National titles for ol' Nick.  Awesome.

The Legend - Coach Paul William "Bear" Bryant in his trademark houndstooth fedora.  He's had his fair share of National titles too.

And so in honor of the big Alabama win, I present a small collection of houndstooth pictures.  There are plenty of Alabama fans in Tennessee.  This fan couple was in front of the Graceland mansion.  She's got on a stylish houndstooth winter jacket and he's got the more informal Alabama hoody with houndstooth liner.  That's my brother Beanie's hand on the right.  He's quite the prognosticator.  With his fingers, he's holding up the number of points he thought LSU would score in the big game.  He was exactly right.

I was gonna post the link that accompanied this gem of a picture but it was kind of mean-spirited so I decided to leave it out.  Although we may have our own opinions of proper maternity wear, you have to love this couple's spirit.  Oh please help that baby.

So as a Miami Dolphins fan, I've forgiven Nick Saban for ditching the team a few years back. As a Crimson Tide fan, I hope he keeps bringing more of the same.  Roll Tide!
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