Tuesday, November 27, 2007


There are many different concepts and ideas swirling around my head at the moment. The first one that has been going round all day is "how do you teach someone to think critically?" Essentially, that is the job of an English teacher when preparing students to continue on to other grades and prepare for the EOG (end of grade) test where they must show what they know. Last year's students did not have the basic skills needed to pass the test so the mission appeared much easier and clearer: Teach the basics! This year's students are a pretty good mixture of students who are meeting standards and students who are just below. I believe the key to helping both groups of students it to challenge them to think more critically. Which leads me back to the question of how to do this. I'm left trying to discern what my own teachers may have done to teach me those skills, research any possible ideas from my college days, and then look for other options online or in books. We'll see if I can manage it. I also think that my ability to think critically is something that grew and evolved as I did...so maybe I just need to get the ball rolling, I don't have to score the goal. Hmmmmm...

Another thing challenging me at the moment is the fact that someone finally told my car that Dave, aka Mr. Mechanic, is deployed. It all started the day I decided to wash my car inside and out. I went to start it the next day and it wouldn't. Well, the expensive stereo equipment drains the battery fast if there is an additional long term pull on the battery such as leaving the doors open. So, I charged the battery and it started just fine. Fast forward a few days to this morning when I went to leave for work. I turn the key and it won't start! Ugh!!! So I unload my five hundred bags (why I haul all of that junk back and forth every day I have NO idea) from my car to my friend Bynum's car so I can go to work. Luckily, I get to babysit Bynum's Mustang while he is gone and my job is to drive it. Well, today I did. I charged the battery tonight so we will see what happens tomorrow. Hopefully, I can get this mess solved by the end of the weekend. Not sure if it is the battery, the alternator, or something else not so fun. While I am capable of dealing with this situation and have done it several times prior with the car my sisters still drive it's like I told my mom..."I'm married, I shouldn't have to deal with this! Dave would tinker with it and figure it out if he were home." Hmmmm....again.

Last thing, Christmas is no fun. I have never really been a fan of Christmas (the secular parts anyhow). I never understood why I had to get up at the crack of dawn to open presents. If some fat man in a suit came down my imaginary chimney to deliver presents in the middle of the night those presents will be there whether I open them at 7am or noon. Then the 5 plus years in retail at Christmas time solidified the fact that I hate Christmas. Nit just dislike it, but outright hate it. Between crazy people looking for a specific gift that the store didn't have, to crazy mean people who chew you out because they are really just tired and irritated, to the horrid Christmas songs you hear on loop every hour or so, and then the extended shopping (working) hours. Not only did I have to deal with the working end, but the shopping end is even more irritable. I haven't figured out how I'm going to one day manage Christmas with children of my own...ugh it makes me tired and irritable just thinking about it. I'm thinking we'll be making up lots of new traditions and showing them that presents aren't everything...and they will NOT all be toys. Most likely they will include lots of books (hmmm, I wonder why?). This year is no exception to the hating of Christmas, although there was a fabulous Christmas two years ago with my mom, sisters, and Dave is Ohio which was the best Christmas ever. I think it was because we all had so much fun together. However, this year my silly husband is deployed and while I am looking forward to going home I just want it to be done and over with so I can hurry up and get through January to my husband's arrival back home. That is the single thought that floods through my mind day after day. Who knew I'd be so "dependent" on a man? Hmmmm...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Birthday Shell-ebration

I received a phone call from Dave on his birthday at approx 4:45am. I was "with it" enough to say Happy Birthday as soon as I answered the phone. I asked all about his birthday. I said...have you received lots of turtles? Yes. How many would you say you have received...I dunno, a lot. I asked if Goodson decorated his bunk with the fun banner and banner I sent. Yes, there is confetti everywhere and Dave will be seeking his revenge on me. Knowing it was much later in his time zone I asked if he had a good birthday. He said it was as good as can be expected. I think that is pretty good then because it means my goal was accomplished. Thanks to everyone who received and sent a birthday turtle. Dave says he will seek revenge upon me for it, but I know deep down he loved the fact that his friends and family showed him some turtle love on his birthday.

Also, with the phone call it ended the big void of no communication from the one who has my heart. From what we know at this point there's about two months left to this deployment which has gone by surprisingly fast and surprisingly slow all at once. I am anxious to have my dear husband back home with me. I'm very set into my single wife pattern of socializing and ocuppying my time, but I still miss my husband tremendously. I never thought I would be this ok and this not ok with his absence. I think that last statement only makes sense if you've dealt with a deployment. Lucky for me I have been surrounded by a very special group of friends who are helping me pass the time and become people that are very near and dear to my heart. My family has grown just a bit larger during this deployment, which is nice since I'm missing so many other members of my adopted family.

An update on what Dave aka Turtle is doing. About two weeks ago or so he offically became a Shellback after crossing the equator. It is a traditional Navy ceremony when you cross the equator for the first time you go from being a nasty wog to becoming a shellback. I think that is the single most coolest (yeah terrible phrase for an English teacher) thing that has happenned this deployment to my Turtle. Also, keep him in your prayers as he and his fellow Marines and sailors help with the relief efforts in Bangladesh. I know they will be moving supplies to remote areas, but they may also be assisting in clean up efforts as well since they have a lot of manpower to offer. Which may mean that these Marines experience a lot in relation to the number of deaths that have been reported thus far. I'm glad they will be helping in the efforts though because I think it will help a lot of them feel like they at least did something useful on this deployment. They were getting tired of chasing pirates and playing cards on ship.

I think it's now my bedtime. I need to create lesson plans tomorrow and a rough guide of what December will look like in my classroom. I also have a closet that needs cleaning in my room. I have way too many things that I just do not need anymore. It is beyond time to get rid of them and make space for things that are hidden other places in our house. We'll see how it goes. I may just end up being lazy tomorrow...I really need to work though.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I am an English teacher and one of the reasons I chose this subject is because I am a writer. I write to sort things out in my head. I have been writing a journal/diary for as long as I can remember. I was drawing pictures in books long before I could even write words. I love paper, pens, and words more than anything. (Which is also why I love books.) I remember going on field trips and being sent with spending money and strict instructions to "not buy paper or pens!" I have been journaling the story of my life for years. When I met Dave "my story" turned into "our story" and I have been collecting items to put into a scrapbook ever since. I have a whole drawer full of things to scrapbook with in the spare room. I have been collecting these things and purchasing scrapbook items for the past three years. About a week ago I finally pulled the items from the drawer and created a mess on my living room floor and on my kitchen table. Thank goodness I don't have children yet because by the time I drug it out I was tired and only did one page. I completed another page this past week and am fixing to work on some more pages tonight. (Oh my, I really have been kidnapped by the South I just wrote "fixing to.") I hope to have this completed by Christmas so I can take it home and show it off. My only problem is narrowing down which small stories to include in "our story." I keep thinking of more things to include and I haven't even done the ones from the original list yet. I still have a month or so to do this, but I also have school stuff (lesson plans, papers to grade, etc), and Christmas shopping and cards as well.

I also had a revelation earlier this week. I was reading a list of 232 Reasons to Love the Marine Corps and laughing at over half of them because of the experiences and stories I've had when I realized a very important thing. I am going to really miss the Marine Corps. I may be just as "displaced" as my husband is when our time in the Marine Corps os over. I will miss going on base and seeing Marines. I will miss having "my boys" all together and over to our house for dinner. I will miss hearing silly stories from the field and deployment. I will miss watching my husband proudly put on his cammies or blues and go off to do his job. I know there will be other things to fill the void left from the Corps, but I know it won't be the same. I know from the stories written from retired and Marines who are no longer active duty. (There's no such thing as an ex-Marine.) Life without the Corps just isn't the same and while I'm looking forward to it, I'm also a bit sad. Shhh...don't tell Dave.

Good News: Only about 2 more months of being a single wife! (I know it sounds crazy, but you know what I mean.) My husband will be home soon!!!! Thank God! No really, I mean it, thanks to God that time is passing quickly and I am surviving.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

God is Going to Smite Me

Ok, so in Jacksonville on Sunday afternoons there are a group of what I call "Jesus People" that gather with their signs and stand at one of the main intersections in town. I can't recall any specifics about the signs other than that they are preaching about being saved. It's a nice advertising concept, but super annoying (to me anyhow). Then they proceed to "shout" at you. Whenever I see them I have the urge to hit them with my car, not very christianlike at all. Well, I was on my way to a friend's house today to meet up for an afternoon of shopping when I was stopped at a red light at the infamous intersection. The "Jesus People" were out in full force. I had AC/DC's "Back in Black" blaring on the radio when the devil made me do it (ok, so I really just felt like it) and I switched it to "Highway to Hell" and turned the volume up just a little bit louder. (I have an awesome stereo system totally on accident, it was there when I bought the vehicle and I refuse to give it up.) As I turned the corner I totally felt like God was going to smite for this action someday. I'm sure the "Jesus People" have good intentions and are perfectly nice people, but they really make me want to hit them with my car by preaching from the street corner.

As a side note I totally should have been an 80's girl with my love for AC/DC and big, curly hair.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Marine Corps Land

Marine Corps Land is where I live, sadly...and gladly too. I call it Marine Corps Land because it feels like I live in the Marine Corps version of Monopoly. Everywhere I go I am surrounded by Marines and Marine Wives and Marine kids...and well...the list goes on from there, but I don't want to bore you. Some days it isn't so bad living here and other days I feel like I'd rather live anywhere but here. Those "other" days tend to be weekends, especially payday weekends. Marine Corps Land on payday is hellish. You can't go anywhere quickly and heaven forbid you need to shop because it will take 5 times as long as it should, you'll see children out who should be home napping or in bed for the night, and you will be ogled by every single Marine you pass. Now, if you were ogled by every single Marine that you passed and you were dressed up (or at least somewhat dressed nicely for a day out) no problem, but when you can roll out of bed and go to Wal-Mart and have Marines look at you like you're not wearing anything...it tends to feel creepy. Not to mention the stupid boots that are out in town on weekends. Ugh. (For you non-military "boots" are those young pups fresh out of boot camp that still think high school was really the life...and talk about it with their buddies nonstop.) I have been forced to listen in on way too many stupid boot conversations while waiting in line somewhere. I've also been forced to witness stupid boot antics in public where they show off just how stupid they are by doing strange things. Then you have the opposite end of the spectrum...the Marines who think they are all that and more that really look like jerks (I'm sorry, I've become very good at picking out guys that are jerks...I've had lots of first hand experience in dealing with them so it's only natural I guess). It makes me want to punch them. I made a "quick" trip to Wal-Mart this evening to get snaps to fix my $15 Ann Taylor Loft jeans and left completely mad at anyone Marine. It's probably just another symptom of my week. I've been in a bad mood this week. Everything pisses me off. Each day I get a little madder about nothing in particular. It's probably because I haven't talked to Dave in over a week so I'm really missing him and frustrated. Hopefully he calls this weekend so I can get happy again. I know he'll call when he can because he misses me just as much as I miss him, but my patience is waning a bit. I go to sleep each night praying my sleep is interrupted by a call from him. So...I'll now head off to bed an pray that I'm rudely awakened by a ringing cell phone.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I have spent a lot of time in my life waiting. Waiting to graduate high school, waiting to finish college, waiting to find a teaching job, waiting to move in with my husband, waiting to move to North Carolina, waiting for him to deploy, waiting for him to return, and waiting to live the rest of "our lives" together. As a military wife there are so many things that you "hurry up and wait" to happen. We are halfway through this deployment, but at times it feels like it is so far from being over. I'm ready for him to be home with me where he belongs. I'm ready to spend days cuddled together on the couch watching the silly stupid movies he makes me watch. I'm ready to come home from a day at work and him offer to cook dinner. I'm ready for a hug. I'd give anything for one of his hugs right now. I know that with the holidays approaching time will go by much quicker because we'll have days off from school so time passes even more quickly, but I wish it would just fly by. Only two months and I will be in Ohio for Christmas. I'm really looking forward to that. I'm ready for Mom and sister time. I don't think I truly realized just how much I do miss them until I went home for two weeks right after Dave left. I had tons of girl time and it was wonderful after spending so much time with the boys. I'm really ready for boy time again too. I'm ready for my house to be filled with Marines and their silly, goofy antics. They make me laugh so much. I get to see them in the videos Dave sent, but it just isn't the same to be on the other side of the action. Usually it's me taping their antics and laughing hysterically in the background. They'll be home soon...sooner than when they left anyhow.

On a different note I keep randomly searching for jobs in the DC area since I'm leaning more towards living there. The decision is in Dave's hands, but it can't hurt to get an idea of what kind of jobs are there. I love teaching, but I hate all the "stuff" that goes with it...like the meetings, the politics, and the parents. Plus, I hate having twice as much work to do at home as I do at school. I know a teacher has great working hours, but what about all the stuff required outside the classroom? I keep checking the Library of Congress website to see if they have anything I might enjoy. Occassionally something will catch my eye, but nothing that strikes me as the job for me. I did some random searches in classifieds though and found a job titled English Language Arts Tes Development Assistant and you can read the job description here http://jobs-airdc.icims.com/airdc_jobs/jobs/candidate/job.jsp?jobid=5316&mode=view
It looks like something I would enjoy. It's related to teaching, but not in the classroom with all the extra work. It may turn out to be a glorified gopher position, but it still sounds like fun. I know I'm not even close to being ready to accepting a new job at the moment although this one looks like fun. Guess I'll just have to keep checking to see what I find the closer the time comes to move.

So for now I'm still waiting. Waiting for time to pass, waiting for the holidays to come and go, waiting for my Love to return, and waiting to see where life will take us. In the meantime I'm still enertaining myself with random activities. I had my hair dyed today...I'll post a pic when I get a chance to take a good one. I went to a pumpkin patch with friends, I'm cleaning my house, I'm grading the neverending stack of papers, I'm going to a hockey game, and lots of other things.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Turning Points & Decisions

I've been thinking a lot today about what will be happening in a few months. Dave is reaching the end of his active duty portion of his enlistment. This means we are faced with first the decision to re-enlist or not to re-enlist? Re-enlistment is an almost certainty that he will deploy at least one more time and possibly four more times. We both are not liking the deployment, but we're surviving. I don't think anyone really likes deployment though. I also know that part of my husband deep down truly loves being a Marine. His wife, deep down, enjoys and is proud to be a Marine's husband. However, I was kind of looking forward to a life not governed by the Corps. I would love to have a "normal" life, but I know that there really is no such thing as normal. The husband says he doesn't want to re-enlist, but that doesn't keep me from wondering why he doesn't want to re-enlist. Is it that he really doesn't want to be an active duty Marine any longer...or is it because his wife has been so vocal about dreading the possibilityy of another deployment? So, that's the first question...EAS (expiration of active service for those non-USMC readers) or not to EAS and why.

If the answer to the first question is not to re-enlist then we come to the next question...DC area or AL area? We both love both places, but are struggling to figure out which one would be the best for us. Ok...DC area pros...we have already lived there once and were having a great time there by the time we had to move. We both miss it like crazy and try to visit our friends there as much as we can. My dream job would be to work at the Library of Congress. Why? Deep down I want to be a librarian, I love teaching...but my fascination is really with books and those who are readers of books. If we move to the DC area I could potentially work at the LOC. We also have some connections with possible jobs for my husband. Connections to decent paying jobs at that. The drawbacks to the DC area is that it is so expensive to live there and it is far from his parents/family. We would love to live in the South (especially me who hates the cold winters) and would like to be near family. Another pro would be the probability that we both would be able to go to school there. The husband can get his bachelor's and I can get my master's. Education is a good thing. We also have some friends already there that we would have a ball hanging out with on a regular basis again. (Shout out to the Martins and the Abbotts!)

The pros to AL would be that we would be near his family (although miles from mine...) and his friends from childhood. We would also have some job connections there as well...just not so sure it is the right direction for us right now. I'm worried that we might end up getting in a rut there (if that makes any sense at all). I would love to be a resident of the south still. The warm weather, while stifling at times, is sooooo much better than the bitter cold and icy, snowy, slushy mess of northern winters. I'll take the heat any day, I despise being cold. Dave would be home close to his dad and they could do guy stuff. I know they both would love it. I think education would be harder for Dave in AL. I have no real reasons I can form into words at the moment, just a gut feeling. I think a master's for me would be harder as well there. Possibly not, but I'm just thinking it would be. I think we may put off having children a lot longer if we lived in AL as well (which doesn't make sense either, but eh...).

This is a turning point in our lives and I feel like whatever decision is made will affect us for the rest of our lives. The questions is will it affect us positively or negatively? Anyone who knows me knows I am indecisive to say the least. I can make split second decisions in emergency situations and everyday in class...but where to eat dinner, what car to buy, and what to do at this point in life...I don't like decisions like that. I also recognize that really it is a decision my husband needs to make. It will be him either being a Marine for another 4 years or living wherever. In both AL and DC we will be away from my family, no surprise there...jobs in Ohio for teachers (or librarians) don't really exist. Although in DC we would probably make some weekend trips if we could afford it. Another crazy thing for this "independent" woman to say is that he's the head of our household, God says so. I know Dave will take my thoughts and feelings into consideration, but I really feel like this is a choice he needs to be the one to make. If he doesn't and I try to make it for us...I feel like it could drive a wedge between us. Maybe not right away, but further on down the line. I suppose only time will tell what lies in store for us and out future...I'm just going to have to leave it in capable male hands for now.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Doledrum Days of Deployment

Random comment: I love allitertion :)

The approach of October made me a very excited girl. Then once the calendar turned, so did my upbeat, this isn't so bad attitude. I've been in a funk this past week. I haven't been able to put my finger on it, but I just feel crumby. I will be perfectly fine all day at school then come home and have a meltdown over something stupid. I've been having a lot of what Oprah calls "ugly cries" too. Had one today in fact when I hung up the phone with Dave. I have no idea why, it was so great to hear his voice today...but hung up and had my meltdown. When Dave first left the meltdowns happenned a lot. Then I reached the point where I was good and those meltdowns didn't happen for a long time. Now, meltdowns attack me when I least expect them. I was driving home from school on Friday and heard the Avril Lavigne song "I Need You." I was fine until halfway through the song as I was turning onto my road I just started bawling. I'm feel like a crazy person, but I've talked to some other friends with deployed spouses and they are having the same thing happenning so it makes me feel ok. Apparently this crazy emotional roller coaster is just par for the course (I hate golf).

On the upside I am LOVING my students this year. Even the most frustrating students really aren't that bad. I look forward to each school day and wonder what new thing I will learn about myself and them. My last class is especially fun because they get to hear a lot of my random stories. We go to lunch about 20 minutes into class and then come back after lunch and finish out the class. (Sucky schedule...someone should realize breaking up instructional time like that is a bad idea...) So anyhow, we end up with only a few minutes before time for lunch when I don't want to start into the next thing...so they get a goofy story. They love it, I love it. It's a win-win situation. I will probably be crying a lot on the last day of school because these students are helping me get through some of the toughest days of my life. I've had tough days before, but I feel like part of me is missing right now. I never thought I would say that, but it is how I feel. I do need my husband (I'm the girl who never needs anyone, just ask my mother), but I am finally realizing I really do need him around. I can survive without him, but life just isn't the same with him across the ocean...

My battery is dying on the laptop and I'm too lazy to go get the powercord so I'll end this entry. I need to get to bed anyhow... I'm hoping October will speed by and it will be Thanksgiving before I know it. Once we start getting into the numerous days off from school I'll be ok... Til then I'll just look forward to ending my days with my fourth core kids instead of my husband.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Anniversary, School & Deployment

I figured it was about time for another update on my life. I celebrated my two year wedding anniversary last week. I can hardly believe it has been two years. I feel like it has only been two months. Hoping the years that follow are just as wonderful. I spent our anniversary apart from my husband, but my friends and students made it a super great day for me. One of our spelling words was anniversary that week (I didn't plan that, just happenned to be on the list). So I told the students my anniversary was on Thursday. They asked whether that was true. I said sure is. So on Thursday the day started with a new teacher friend bringing down three pink roses for me from her and another friend. That was sooooo sweet. Then my students were wishing me a happy anniversary when they saw me. One class even waited until I came in from hall duty and said happy anniversary in unison. Then Dave called at towards the middle of my planning period so I was able to talk to him! (That was THE best part!) I figured he would call if he got a chance, but wasn't sure he would be able to call. He did, and boy did he say the sweetest things to make me cry. (I'm an emotional mess all the time btw...it started when I got married and hasn't stopped.) He said it didn't feel like two years at all and that he wouldn't change a mintue of it. I bawled. I wouldn't change a mintue of it either. Not even when I would hide in our huge closet in DC when I needed some "space" of my own, lol. Oh the joys of married life, lol. Then on Friday I cooked dinner and had two other friends over. They brought me roses as well. I received more flowers this month than any other time in my life. Although, in all fairness I'm not really big on flowers. They're nice and beautiful and make you feel special, but they die (or I kill them somehow). I couldn't have had a better anniversary spent away from Dave if I had tried. I feel blessed with some very awesome friends.

School is still going beautifully. Keep me in your prayers on Friday becuase my principal is coming in to observe. I hope thins go well. I am going to remind my students to be on their best bahvior if someone comes in to the class. I am loving the fact that I can teach in my classroom. Imagine that, huh? You wouldn't realize how difficult that really can be, even if you know how to plan and carry out a lesson. It doesn't mean much if the students aren't quiet long enough for you to do anything with them. I am looking forward to all of the fun projects we can do together as a class this year. I can hardly wait. I want to try everything at once with them. I have to keep reminding myself I have a few months with them so I don't have to do it all now. Thanks for those of you who have been praying like crazy that this year would be better. It is working really well and I am feeling so blessed and thankful. (I don't have to quit my job and rethink my career!)

Deployment is going. I'm having a bit of a down week this week. Two of my friends have had their husbands return this past week. While I am excited for them I keep wishing it was time for my husband to come home already. I'm reminding myself that I had my husband while their's were gone though (sort of...he was gone training, a lot.) I went with one friend to hang her welcome home banners and that was fun. I know that it takes three people to hang a banner. Two to hang it and one to take pictures. I'll be prepared now when the time finally does arrive. I also know where the best spot on 24 is to hang a banner. People avoided it, but it really is a great spot. (I'm not telling where, I don't want anyone to steal our spot.) For those of you not familiar with J-ville, right outside of base there are miles of chain link fence that people hang welcome home banners when their Marines get back from deployment. (I'm planning on making at least two banners...one for Dave and then one for all of "my boys". I just need to figure out what I am putting on them.) Hoping time starts passing a little quicker. It's not going super slow, just...blah. This too shall pass and I will have my darling Turtle back in my arms before I know it. (Doesn't stop me from wishing it was tomorrow though.) Thanks for the support from fabulous friends though. We will all get through this together. You girls are the best.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

1 Month vs. 3 Days

Well the time has passed quicker than I thought it would and we are one month into our deployment. Only 5 more months to go...ugh! Hoping the next 5 pass just as quickly as the first one.

We are 3 days into the new school year. It is night and day compared to last year. These first three days have been like heaven in my classroom. I know that is thanks to a lot of prayers from people in several different states. Last year I had time when I could hardly talk, let alone teach, in my classroom. This year I can talk...and not only talk, but teach. Imagine that, a teacher teaching in her classroom. I am looking forward to the rest of this year quite a lot. I am also thankful that this year seems to be going so much better. I am happy that I am not miserable in my class this year...it would be terrible to be unhappy at work and missing my husband and "family" at home. Dave called around 4pm my time (11pm his) on my first day of school to see how it went. I had such a fabulous day and I said "it was wonderful, I could actually talk in my classroom and they listened. I am so glad you called," and then I started crying. He asked, "are you sure you're ok?" Yeah, I'm fine just so happy to be able to share this wonderful day with you after having so many downright awful days last year. These few days have reaffirmed the fact that I love being in the classroom and this is where I am meant to be for this moment in time.

I have been very worn out after trying to get back into the everyday school routine and have tons to do...it never ends...so I am off to do a few more things and then off to dreamland. (Yeah, I tend to like runon sentences just a bit, lol)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Surviving - And I'm Ok With That

The title of this blog is surviving and right now that is good enough for me. I won't say I am happy, because my best friend is miles away across the ocean. However, I am surviving and trying to laugh, have fun, and enjoy time with "the girls". I haven't had much girl time lately and I realized while I was back home how much I truly missed it. I was able to spend lots of quality time with Katie and Maggie and I really enjoyed it. Also, this past Saturday we had a girls supper night that was a lot of fun. I got to talk with some other wives I already knew as well as got to know some of the other wives I didn't know. (Our little wives network had a social for the Key Volunteer wives in our unit.) Then after dinner I went to a gathering a teracher friend of mine had and laughed a lot. Laughter is good. I am a person who smiles a lot, but uses that smile to mask a lot of her woes. I need to work on laughing more and being truly happy, not just putting on my happy face.

There are good days and bad days in life and deployment life is no exception. I had some really hard days when I returned back to NC. In Ohio I was able to pretend that maybe he wasn't really gone and I was surrounded by my family and one of my bestest friends. When I arrived back in NC I had to go directly on base to a mtg. It was soooo hard to go to where the Marine barracks were and see another unit had taken over. All of the Marines I knew there were gone and someone else had come in to replace them. Plus, everywhere you go there are Marines. You can't escape it and it made me really wish that Bivins would come walking through that door and make a mess of my house again.

Today is a much better day though. I talked to him for a few minutes yesterday and bawled just because it was sooo good just to hear his voice. He doesn't feel so far away when we talk on the phone. He also called for a few minutes today when he unexpectedly ended up on land. I was so happy and didn't cry this time. I always feel bad for crying because he doesn't necessarily know why I am crying and I don't want him to worry about me more than necessary. He knows his wife is one tough cookie and has dealt with a lot, but he also knows that doesn't mean she is made of stone either. I love that he just wants to take care of me and I am learning to let him. I am surprised how much I have changed since marrying this wonderful Marine of mine. Previously, having someone to take care of me meant that I couldn't be independent and have a life of my own choosing. I am learning that having someone to take care of me is nice and it doesn't mean I can't do it on my own, just that I am lucky enough to have someone who wants to help me. I also have aquired new vocabulary, new hobbies (like rapelling, and shooting weapons), new friends, new feelings, new traditions, and many other things that have truly enriched my life. I can say I have found what true happiness is and wouldn't trade it for the world. I may be a cactus who is wishing that she had what that high maintenance flower has, but I am suriving until the water returns to my life. (I often talk to Marines about choosing girlfriends and wives...there are two types of girls: cacti and high maintenance flowers. Cacti are able to survive with a good watering now and then and be ok. High mainenance flowers require only certain amounts of sunlight, certain amounts of water, special soil, etc. Marines should marry cacti if they want their marraige to last if they are going to be a lifer.)

I will say that I think the physical distance between Bivins and I is stregthening our relationship if you can believe it. I have been reminiscing about the days when we lived 6 hrs away, me in Ohio and Bivins in DC. We really kept the relationship going with phone calls, letters, e-mails, and those monthly visits. Those letters and phone calls are what really helped me learn who my husband to be was and in return help him understand me. You have to rely on communication in a long distance relationship. I am continuing some old traditions we started in those "early days" (yeah only 3 years ago...) that were kind of pushed along the side of the road once we started living together. I am hanging on his every word when he calls and pestering him with questions. I am also writing to him nearly every day of what I am thinking, feeling, and doing. I can't just sit next to him on the couch in silence as we watch whatever movie we selected during dinner. This deployment has pushed the conversation back to the forefront of our marraige and I hope to remember when he returns to schedule some time just to talk and not get caught up in the daily grind as much as I did when he was home.

I have probably written enough at this point and need to get to work on some things for school. I have so much to do and such little time to do it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Deployment Stinks-Part 2

Ok, so before I left to go visit grandparents my day started out not so great. I went to empty the litter box and of course this is the only time the boys come running to use it. Well I had taken the bag out and Zeus had no idea where to go potty so he went in the other litter box we travel with, which had a bag of litter in it but it was tied up. He peed all over the bag, ugh crazy Zeus. (We got a litter box with a lid to leave at "grandma's house") Then I get to the post office to mail Dave two care packages...I am at the counter when my phone rings. I hit the button to silence it and then answer it since it is Dave, but it sent it to voicemail right away. (I was ready to have a meltdown right then and there.) The good news is I managed to fill out the customs form properly, it only took forever to do it the night before. Then I get to my Grandma Snyder's and find out she has family coming over right after dinner and I'm supposed to go eat dinner at Nana's house. So I drove ate dinner, drove back to Grandma S's, then back to Nana's to sleep.

Today was much better. I had my phone in the one spot between the kitchen and dining room that had good service. Right after we were done with lunch and before we went out to the pool my phone rang and it was Dave. I had to talk to him hunched over so I didn't lose service, but I was so excited to talk. I attacked him with questions and asked if he needed anything. Then I asked how my other boys were doing. He said everyone seems to be good. They were out of the storms so he wasn't trying to hold onto his lunch anymore. I told him to gather all my boys and get a group hug that would be from me. I told him I missed them all, but him most of all of course. Told him to start taking pics and film so I can feel like I am with them. (Maybe I should join the Marines so I can go with "my boys". Yeah right, I wouldn't last one hour before I would be mad and injured.) So tomorrow I will probably go buy deoderant that he requested and get it mailed out asap so he gets it asap. I know he has enough right now, but will probably need it by the end of the month. (Ewww, stinky Marine with no deoderant...that would be really gross.) So I am surviving for now and as far as I am concerned that is good enough. Dave and I started this tradition when we were dating while he was in DC of ending our phone coversationg of where we were supposed to meet that night in our dreams. I started it back up now with each of our calls asking where we are going to meet...tonight it will be Gulf Shores, AL where we went on our honeymoon and predeployment leave. I'm excited. I never really end up having dreams I remember, but it is still a fun thing to do. I'm a hopeless romantic what can I say. Plus, it keeps me from tearing up at the end of his calls to think of something happy like meeting him in my dreams for a date. I'm tired from all this visiting so I think I'm going to go paint my nails and go to bed.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Deployment Stinks

Ok, I know I promised other stories, but I just can't think of them at the moment. All I am thinking about is this deployment and how much it stinks and I just want it to be over. Dave hadn't even started his deployment and he had injured himself. We had two other guys over last Friday and I made lasagna. Well I had been kind of absent minded (I wonder why) and I left one of the burners on. My husband has a bad habit of leaning against the stove and decided to touch the burner. He ended up burning the tips of three fingers on his right hand. They weren't as bad as I thought, but still he had limited use of his hand when he left. (I felt guilty, but insist it is his own fault for touching burners. Home Ec 101-never touch the burner!)

The day before and the day he left I was an absolute crying mess. I would cry at the drop of a hat. Not just tearing up, but sobs and all. I'm doing much better by now. Haven't sobbed since Tuesday night. I am visiting my mom and sisters in Ohio though and they have been keeping me very busy. Not much time to miss him too much. Although, I inevitably feel that he is gone and my heart aches. It seems like such a long time 'til he will return (beginning of next year is what we've heard so far...). I am hoping once school starts that time flies. I really need for the months to pass quickly and his return to be only weeks away. I am occupying my time with ideas for packages and letters to him. I'm also already thinking about what kind of homecoming party I want to plan. If I focus on the happy things it leaves less time to be sad and miss him. I have pics of the big d-day (deployment day), but at the moment have no way to upload them in Ohio. I think my battery charger/adapter cord deployed in Dave's laptop bag and I need to see if I can get another one. Plus, the pc's at home don't have an XD slot. I need to take it to Wal-Mart and get them onto a cd. Once I do you can be sure I will upload them. I'm trying to stay positive and keep the worst fears at bay, but it is hard at times not to worry. Please keep the guys of 22nd MEU and all of our military in your prayers. I don't see an end to this war anytime soon, but it doesn't stop me from praying for one.

I suppose since it is past midnight I should go to bed, but I just don't feel tired at the moment. I was visiting a friend today and didn't have service on my cell at her house (I sometimes forget places w/no service exist) and I missed his first call home. He left a message and he sounded good. Of course he said he loves me and misses me. For now, that comforts me and I'm content as can be expected. I'm sure you will be updated frequently throughout this process...I'm going to go snuggle with my furbabies and relax.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Family Day

There are so many things to write about at the moment. Lots of little stories I have saved away while I have been off gallivanting around the south, away from a stable internet connection. Today's story segment begins with today: Family Day for BLT 3/8. Before deployment they have a day of fun and food for the Marines and any of the Family members that can attend. BLT 3/8 decided to have their family day at the beach. It was a fun day with my husband and a few of our adopted family members. I took some great pictures of "my boys" out playing in the sand and surf. They had fun in the water wrestling each other and keeping their beer from getting water in it. I had a good time, but at the same time kept thinking that we keep getting one step closer to the big D-day. I have mixed feelings...knowing he is going to be gone for what seems like a terribly long time is dreadful, but also knowing that this should be his one and only deployment and his enlistment will be up shortly after he returns is good. (Although, once he is unemployed from the Marine Corps that will add some stress of job hunting...ugh, I'll worry about that later.) I trust that God has a plan in mind and I'll just hurry up and wait for things to happen. I've realized his hand at work in so many other plans so I'm confident things will work out just fine. I've been blessed with a wonderful husband and I trust that he will be in God's hands while he is gone from my sight and will return to me safely.

Ok, enough gloom and doom served with a smile and a hopeful outlook. Next story: 4th of July. We had a few of the guys over for the 4th. It was a rather small celebration, but was a good time. I, the DD, drove the guys to the two fireworks stands in J-ville where they perused the merchandise and had a hard time finding anything worth buying to blow up. We left with the grand total of 4 fireworks (I didn't ask how much they cost). Well, after the boys had happily burned the 4 fireworks they were bored. Marines love to blow stuff up, probably what makes them good at their job. I dug out the sparklers and that satisfied them for another few minutes. Then they began the search for flammable household items. They ended their search with rubbing alcohol and whiskey. These brilliant boys decided to have flame pools on the sidewalk. They're still pretty amused. Then one Marine decided that he might like to try breathing fire. He decided to get a mouthful of whiskey and breath it onto a flame. He can now join the circus, although his Marine buddies cannot say the same. They weren't quite as successful. So, once the whiskey was gone they turned to burning random bits of stuff on the concrete again. Finally they tired out and fell asleep so I could sleep peacefully knowing that nothing was going to burn the house down. (Editor's Safety Note: These young Marines did have the foresight to have a garden hose nearby and turned on whilst they were playing with fire and explosives. No one was harmed or injured during these 4th of July celebrations, but please do not try this at home.)

Picture Notes: The top picture is my husband and the only person he said he would room with again, Combs. The second picture is what the Marines were doing on the 4th of July.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Not Just Another Day at the Beach...

Yesterday, my husband came home at 10:30 am to find me sitting on the couch with my morning bowl of Lucky charms. (Hey, I'm 25 and we don't have kids, it's summer and I have no other job...what else should I be doing?) He says "get ready to go to the beach." Ok, no problem I need to shave first, but I'll be ready shortly. I proceed to get ready for the beach, find my sunscreen and apply so it will be absorbed into my skin by the time we hit the sand. We arrive at the beach on base (only 30 min or so from the house :) ) and proceed to hunt for the rest of the guys we are to meet at the beach. As the wife of a Marine without children I spend lots of time on my own with a bunch of guys. I'm a lucky wife though in the fact that I am "allowed" to be a part of the group and for the most part they treat me like I'm just another one of them (in a good way). Well, after some time soaking up the sun I head into the surf with the guys to cool off a bit. Nothing out of the ordinary just yet. I'm out in the water about up to my chest when there are no waves, which is kind of far out for me b/c I tend to go in far enough to get a little wet. I'm talking and laughing with my husband when this HUGE wave rolls in. I see it just in time to close my eyes. It pushes me inland a bit, knocks me down, sends my top up around my neck-which I manage to stay underwater long enough to pull back down into place. I have the moment of panic when I think "oh my goodness I hope no one saw me, especially the guys my husband works with." I don't think they did and if so they were polite enough to not say a word. It was at that point in the day I decided I needed a new bathing suit, I'm going back to my one piece bathing suits even if I have to look like I'm 40. (Mind you my two piece covers every bit of skin that a one piece would...it just flies up in a wave which isn't cool.) Yeah, flashing people at the beach when you are 5 is ok, when you are 25 you better be single, drunk, or both. So when I head to the big city of DC I am going to look for a suitable one piece suit that won't come off in the waves so I don't have to worry about flashing anyone, let alone my husband's co-workers.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Choclate Chip Cookies

I have survived just fine through college and even the first year or so of marriage with my limited cooking skills. I can follow a recipe and things seem to turn out as they are supposed to, however, I still am not very accomplished at cooking. Baking, on the other hand, is my nightmare. It seems no matter what I have to bake it comes out wrong...or just not like it is supposed to be. When we first moved to DC I had a lot of time on my hands and thought I would try my hand at making sugar cookies. No matter what I tried they just didn't taste or look like the best sugar cookies I have ever had, Jean M.'s sugar cookies. My next attempt at baking came in the form of a carrot cake. The first go around was lopsided I think. Then I had to go to the grocery store a second time to get more ingredients for the next layer. It tasted ok, but I haven't attempted one since living in DC. My latest attempt at baking has become chocolate chip cookies. (My husband just groans when I decide to bake something anymore.) It is the first time in my 25 yrs. that I have ever made chocolate chip cookies. The first batch was alright, but they are pretty flat, like pancake flat. They tasted pretty yummy though. I decided to get the great idea to try again and make enough to send in to the barracks for "the guys." While the guys enjoy my cooking I'm not sure what they will have to say about the cookies. Mom shared her "secret" with me about how she makes the cookies. (It has been several years since Mom has made cookies too.) I decided to do a double batch. After an hour or two of cooking I was finally done at 11 pm and I have enough cookies to feed a few platoons of Marines. They are still pretty flat, but I think they taste just as good as the first batch. I'm beginning to think that I'm just not cut out for this baking thing. (After uploading this picture of the cookies I baked and sent to the barracks they look rather yummy I guess.) Maybe I can bake, lol. I do have a recipe for a chocolate chip pie that I make every time there is any kind of potluck or gathering. It takes about 15 minutes to put together, and hour in the fridge, and everyone loves it. I look like I made this fabulous creation when all I did was mix a few things together and stick it in the fridge. I'll share it with you...

Chocolate Chip Pie (which can become any kind of pie you want)
1 container of Cool Whip
8 oz sour cream
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 pkg. chocolate chips (or any kind of candy bits)
1 graham cracker crust (or whatever kind you want)

Mix cool whip, sour cream, cream cheese, and sugar together. Fold in the candy bits. Put mixture into crust and cool in fridge for 1-2 hrs.

*You can use any kind of candy/crust combo you want. Our personal favorite is graham crust and heath bits, but I only use about half the package of heath bits. You can also use a box crust or the pre-made crust. I prefer the pre-made simply because it takes away one step of the process.

The thing that got me on this cooking kick was the fact that my personal cook is going to be leaving for a cruise, at least that is what I call it, and I figured I better learn to survive. The whole time he was gone training I didn't really cook anything at all. I ate cereal, sandwiches, salad, and a frozen pizza. I realized if he was going to be gone for several months that perhaps I should cook something. Plus, I needed to see if I was able to bake cookies so I can include them in care packages. *sigh* I guess they will do. Marines will eat anything anyhow.

Why a Turtle & Butterfly?

<--- My butterfly tattoo.

A long time ago when I first started doing online things I used the name not_so_evil_angel, which at that moment in time suited me just fine. It was partly my mother's creation and partly a friends if I remember correctly. As change is inevitable my online pseudonym has evolved to TurtlesButterfly. I married a man with the nickname turtle and the turtles he has collected have taken over our house. I chose butterfly because of my butterfly tattoo. I knew for awhile that I had wanted a tattoo, but I wanted something tasteful, almost elegant, and something that suited me. About 5 years ago and after an hour or so of looking at flash I found the piece of art that screamed "I want to be on you forever." I think the butterfly has been an awesome choice for my tattoo. I added it to me after I was almost done with college and after someone very close to me had passed away and I was going out on my own. I think a butterfly is also a symbol of freedom, which I tend to enjoy. (I also have the tattoo on my foot and my mother has a tattoo of a ladybug on her foot that she added once the divorce was final.) So, I am a butterfly that belongs to a turtle. I never thought that the liberal woman in me would allow myself to "belong" to any man, but this particular man has won me over. I can't imagine life without him and God willing I won't have to experience that. I'm so lucky to have had him come into my life and the fact that my family loves him makes the deal even sweeter. One of my sisters told me shortly after we were married that Dave is now her brother and I am just his wife. My family (Mom, Katie, and Maggie) are the craziest ladies I know, but they mean more to me than anything else ever will.

Something Wikipedia had to say about butterflies:


According to the “Butterflies” chapter in Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, by Lafcadio Hearn, a butterfly is seen as the personification of a person's soul, whether they be living, dying, or already dead. One Japanese superstition says that if a butterfly enters your guestroom and perches behind the bamboo screen, the person whom you most love is coming to see you. On the contrary, large numbers of butterflies are viewed as bad omens. When Taira no Masakado was secretly preparing for his famous revolt, there appeared in Kyoto so vast a swarm of butterflies that the people were frightened—-thinking the apparition to be a portent of coming evil.[42]

The Russian word for butterflies, pronounced "bah' bch ka", it also means "bow tie". It's a diminutive of "baba" or "babka" (= "woman, grandmother, cake", whence also "babushka" = "grandmother" in English, "babushka" = "a grandma-style headkerchief") and in Greek it means soul.[43] According to Mircea Eliade's Encyclopedia of Religion, some of the Nagas of Manipur trace their ancestry from a butterfly.[44]

In Chinese culture two butterflies flying together are a symbol of love. Also a famous Chinese folk story called Butterfly Lovers. The Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi once had a dream of being a butterfly flying without care about humanity, however when he woke up and realised it was just a dream, he thought to himself "Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?"

In some old cultures, butterflies also symbolize rebirth into a new life after being inside a cocoon for a period of time.

Some people say that when a butterfly lands on you it means good luck. The idiom "butterflies in the stomach" is used to describe a state of nervousness.