Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rambling Thoughts

The end of a calendar year is always a time of scheduled reflection. We look back at the joys and sorrows of the year, the triumphs and the defeats, the ups and the downs. The year 2008 has brought me so much joy and so much frustration all at the same time. I'm also left to reflect upon previous years and all their joys and sorrows, mistakes and lessons learned, friends made and friends lost. There is a lot I could have, should have, would have done differently...but didn't. I'm glad I didn't though because it has made me who I am today. I view life through the contact lenses belonging to a 26 year old me (soon to be 27-eeks). I've learned that even when I didn't realize or acknowledge it God was there guiding me and those around me to become the me I am today. The me I am today has a lot of empathy and compassion for others. .oO(I've had it for longer than today, but you get the idea.) I heard this song probably about a month ago by Carrie Underwood entitled "This is Just a Dream". Every time I hear it my heart clenches, I get goosebumps, and I nearly cry. Why? Because of all that empathy and the fact that this is every military wife's worst dream...attending the funeral of the man she loves and being handed that folded flag. I have attended two military funerals in my lifetime that I remember) for men who were near and dear to me. One funeral was for a man I thought I would marry some day, although we had broken up when he passed away unexpectedly. I watched and cried as the folded flag was passed to his mother. When it was time for those final gun shots to ring out I felt like my heart surely must be shot and sobbed a little harder as each one fired. .oO(To this day my heart hurts when I hear the 21 gun salute-whether it is a ceremony or funeral. I find it odd that Dave's first job in the USMC was to perform that salute.) The second funeral was for the first man's father. Again, I cried as the flag was passed over and cringed as the guns were fired. My heart hurts any time I hear about anyone losing a loved one. I remember what it was like to lose someone who was so close...and yet even they weren't as close as others in my life right now. Anyhow, I finally watched the video to this song b/c every time I heard it driving down the road (nearly crying, but unwilling to turn the station) I wondered what the video must be like. If you clicked the song title link then you already know. I was a teensy bit disappointed that they decided to make it a 50's style video when this is a story I know many American women have faced in recent years as well. I had imagined all sorts of other things, but I won't say I'm unhappy with it either. Every time I hear this song I am reminded to pray for those currently deployed and their loved ones silently serving at home. I'm also reminded to pray for those who have lost loved ones and are grieving for all the things that will never be.

Another situation that has been on my mind the past two days has to do with losses as well. Sunday we learned a friend of Dave's from Junior High, Mallory, had passed away in a car accident. She was just 22 yrs old and the proud mother to two very young children. One child crawled from the car with only minor cuts and the other was still in ICU the last I heard with much more serious injuries. I'm sad for the family left behind and the children who will now grow up with only stories of their mother instead of her. I know God has a plan for this family and these children. Still, it makes my heart hurt. Added to the situation is another friend of Dave's who lost a sister in a car accident several years ago. Mallory was a mutual friend of Dave and this other friend. The car accident has reopened all those old wounds and the grief over the loss of her sister. It makes my heart hurt for her, but it also makes me pray for her and pray for Mallory's family too that God's plan will be realized through this loss and the opening of those wounds. If only hugs really fixed everything I would go around hugging everyone.

So, back to my reflections on 2008...

I've learned that even though I constantly want and wish for something else what I really have at the moment isn't bad. It is funny how time and experience changes things. When we lived in DC I liked our apartment alright, but thought we could surely have more room. We moved to NC and had a two story townhouse. Seemed like more room at first...but I was soon missing my DC apartment. I still do in fact. Just the other night Dave said "I wish we could have our DC apartment back" and I chimed in "yeah, me too." .oO(And yet I know I wouldn't feel quite the same about it if we moved back there.) Now that I'm limited to a guest room in AL my two story townhouse with only two very small closets sounds wonderful. Yet, I'm certain that in the future I'll look back on this time and wish I could go back.

I've learned that even though I move to new places and meet new people, some people will always be my friends. I may not talk to them as often as I'd like or see them nearly enough, but no matter they will always be there for me. And I've learned that sometimes friends are just as close to you as family.

I've learned that sometimes you can learn something from someone else easier than from your mom. (I love you mom.) My Mom tried to teach me how to sew (although I was always afraid to use her sewing machine and she was afraid for me to use it too) and I managed to create Dave's Christmas stocking, but the lesson didn't really stick. Maja has been teaching me how to smock and how to sew a bit. For some reason the lessons are sticking a little better than before. Maja even let me use her fancy sewing machine that is waaay smarter than me. I'll have to post a picture of my recent creation made at an all day sewing lesson with Maja, Melody, Michelle, and Melody's mother (whose name I have forgotten). The lessons have renewed my interest in sewing and I received some lovely sewing staples for Christmas...like straight pins, a pin cushion, a seam ripper (a perfect gift since I am a perfectionist), and some fabric scissors. I think I might like to purchase a sewing machine...and then I think it might be a big dust collector too.

I've learned that depending on a husband for certain things doesn't mean you can't do it yourself, just that it is nice to have someone to share your life with. Dave's deployment reminded me that I had not lost my independence by marrying him (which in some ways I did, but not in the ways that mattered), but I had gained someone to share the joys and sorrows of my life. I also realized just how much I had depended on him for certain things and how much I truly missed having him around when he was gone. I could indeed survive while he was gone, but I was overjoyed when he came home.

I've learned that a packing log is an invaluable tool to finding things once you have moved. I've also learned that sometimes you might want to make that packing log a little more detailed than you originally thought. Especially if your stuff will be sitting in storage for any length of time. "Shoes" and "more shoes" are great log details if you might only be storing it for a month or so..but 6 months later it is hard to remember which box you put the nice sling back black heels into (once you remember you own them to begin with) and you have to open both boxes only to find they must be in some other box...perhaps the one labeled "bags and a few shoes." When we finally move into our own place it is going to be like Christmas all over again discovering what exactly might be in each box.

I've learned you can have a plan...but God may have a different one. So I'm praying and trying and waiting and wondering what God's plan will be for 2009. I'm also rejoicing that Dave is here with me to share in the waiting.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Things I am Excited About

#1 Katie retook her LSAT in Dec b/c her first score "simply wouldn't do" according to her. She found out today she increased her score and is in a much better standing for admission to the schools she is looking at. (Prayer must now commence that she will get into one of those schools and if Jesus is feeling generous then some financial aid would be fantabulous!)

#2 I turn 27 on Saturday. I guess I am excited. It kinda makes me feel old...especially when I have to really think about how old I am.

#3 For my birthday present from my darling husband (who was deployed last year for my b-day) I have requested dinner for 2 at Cheesecake Factory. Yummy!

#4 Going home to Ohio to help Katie celebrate Siblings Weekend at OU for her senior year. (February time frame)

#5 Going home to see Mom, Katie & Maggie! (Yay! Katie-Hug me I'm cold. Mom-Just hug me! Maggie-I'm going to need a hug from you too.) No furbabies will be coming with me as I am flying. (Pray for weather that I can still fly in...)

#6 Athens, OH! Food=Bagel Street Deli, Goodfella's Pizza, and Pita Pit just to name a few.

#7 My job @ ATL. (Even after silly clients and the holiday rush I still love the job.)

#8 The day I won't have boxes in storage and my "living room" will no longer be a guest room in someone else's house. (Still no idea when this will happen, but I can be excited about the possibility can't I?)

#9 Airport Rendezvous Wknd Anniversary! (He was home for this last year too! We have a month and a half to wait for this.)

#10 My replacement cell phone! (It hasn't arrived yet. I need to call my Nana...she called me and left a message while I was at work and I haven't been able to call her back yet. I miss my Nana...)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'll Think of Something...

I feel you should be forewarned that this post will be a whole lot of rambles...I have several things I have been meaning to blog about, but haven't had time to write and some are really unrelated to each other.

Christmas Eve Service~a.k.a Congregation of Coughers
We attended service as a family. I was terribly excited-it is sadly the first time Dave and I have attended a Christmas Eve service as a married couple. It was a great service, but I kept getting distracted by the congregation of coughers. One person would finish coughing and another would start...I think the whole state of Alabama just might have what I'm going to call "the sickness." You don't really feel great, but you don't feel totally miserable-until you start coughing that is. Cough, cough, cough...we've all been doing it for a week now at least. It is b/c the weather is so crazy and can't make up its mind to be cold or 75 degrees...honestly.

ATL Clients~Who shall remain nameless.
Client A-She had a return to make. No big deal...she had a receipt. Unfortunately, it was put on her daughter's debit card. "Ma'am, we can give you a merchandise credit only since you do not have the card with you." Fine. We process the return. All of a sudden she isn't happy. Apparently, since the economy is bad "the government told her not to take a credit at any store." {I grumble silently in my head.} Ok, well if you can get us the debit card number we can try to process the return to her card, but that is all we can do. Lady calls daughter. Daughter grumbles to mother (or so I assume since mother says "it's just the way I want to do things") about why she needs number. {I'm laughing inside my head, her daughter thinks she's silly too.} We process the return and I am left to wonder when/how "the government" told her merchandise credits were bad.

Also, in case you were wondering-NO we aren't going out of business. In Jan 2008 Ann Taylor Co. released a list of stores that would be closing (ones that aren't making any money) and the Loft store at the Pinnacle is not one of them, neither is the one at Brookwood. The regular Ann Taylor stores located at the Galleria and the Summit are not closing either. .oO(This happened way before the economy went wacky.)

Client B-Walks in wearing pigtails about two inches long that have white bows tied around them. She is definitely too old to be wearing pigtails tied in bows. It makes it very hard to look at her without laughing. In fact, I can't even really look at her at all. {Seriously thought she was a 12 yr old b/c all I saw at first were the bows peering around the rack...} After she leaves the 3 of us working were trying to figure out why she wore the pigtails...we determined she must have lost a bet. {Think of your grandma in pigtails tied with bows...at her grandmotherly age, not a young age.}

There are other fun clients, but I really can't think of them at the moment.

Alabama Weather~If you read the Christmas Eve post you know the weather is going from 30 degrees to 75 degrees and back again in a matter of days. All of Alabama surely must be sick.

Cough Medicine~Is my friend. I am really liking the Tylenol Cough multi-symptom with the cooling sensation. It really seems to help and it doesn't make me drowsy (make sure you get the daytime formula) and it keeps the coughing/subsequent headache at bay. I do have to make sure I don't take it on an empty stomach or it makes me feel nauseous.

Cell Phone~Spoke to a delightful man when I called to complain about my non working phone and Dave's inability to send/receive texts on his phone. Talked to him for quite some time. Learned he can't keep up with his bank receipts/money, he is addicted to jawbreakers (sounded like he was rolling marbles, but I guess he was eating jawbreakers), and he was going to eat chinese food for dinner until he learned of his "bank error" which left him feeling sick. Also managed to get the number to call about the warranty on my phone (the microphone is broke so I can hear you, but you can't hear me-even when I yell), Dave can now send/receive texts, and we were refunded $80 in downloading charges we tried to get erased months ago. My replacement phone should arrive this week. When it arrives I would need to talk to someone (not part of the AT & T network and not on my "free weekends") for 86 hours to use all of our rollover minutes. Unfortunately, I would probably run up their bill trying to do that.

Hmmm...forget what else I was going to blog about, darn.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes

I'd like to wish all of you a very merry Christmas!! The saying is that a picture is worth a thousand words...so I'll try to let these pictures do the talking with minimal description.

This is the ornament that I sent Dave while he was deployed last year.

Christmas 2009



The ship & helo ornaments I bought last year while he was gone to represent the 22nd MEU deployment aboard ship.


We're so blessed to be together this year :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One More Song

I knew there was a song I had thought about sharing in my last blog, but couldn't remember what it was and what I wanted to say about it. Well, I finally remembered-aren't you excited my dear blog readers?

Big Girls Don't Cry
by Fergie will forever remind me of the drive home from NC to OH the day after Dave deployed. It had just been released and all the radio stations were playing it at least once an hour (it felt like much more than that at the time). Fergie you are wrong! Big girls do cry, they cry 85% of the 9 hour drive home because of your stinkin' song (and a few other sappy ones released at the time)!!

Ok, really...I think that might be the last song I wanted to share.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

"I Go Back"

So I was driving home from work (and lately I've been listening to country music again at times) and I heard Kenny Chesney's song "I Go Back" and it made me think about a lot songs that take me back to special times, make me remember a special memory, or make me think of someone special. I thought I would share a list of songs that take me back. (If you click on the titles of the songs it will take you to a YouTube video of the songs so you can enjoy them if you would like.) This song itself always reminds me of a friend, Derek Sommers, who passed away in a car accident our sophomore year of high school. The lyric about the song only the good die young reminds him of the loss of a real good friend and the 16 summers he shared with him is the one that always brings Derek's smiling 16 yr. old face to mind. I say a quick prayer for his parents and wonder how they are doing.

Jack and Diane by John (Cougar) Mellancamp is also mentioned in Kenny's song, but this song always reminds me of my dad. My dad was always listening to a Mellancamp song. I know all the words to more than a few of the songs, but this one is a favorite of mine. It also reminds me of a time when my dad was "on his own" with my sisters and I for the weekend. (This is pre-divorce and Mom was gone on a ladies retreat or something.) Dad was making lunch and made really soupy mashed potatoes. We ate them anyway...or tried to. We also had the radio on while we were cooking and I remember dad singing and dancing into a large spoon. It was hilarious. .oO(It should be noted my memory is fuzzy so the singing and the soupy potatoes could really be two different times, but they are meshed together in my mind.) His love of John Cougar Mellancamp rubbed off on me and I now have "seeing John Mellancamp in concert" as one of the things I'd like to to before John Mellancamp or I die. Not sure if I'll manage to get that one crossed off the list or not though.

Life is a Highway is a song that reminds me of Scott Myer, a dear friend-who was more than a friend at one time-but he passed away suddenly. It was most recently recorded by Rascal Flatts, but I (and he probably would too, knowing him) prefer Chris LeDoux's version. I love Rascal Flatts and I enjoy their version of the song, but Chris just added something special to the song...or maybe it was just me. Scott and I were lucky enough to go see a Chris LeDoux concert at the Indiana State Fair one year. I've never seen anything quite like it and I doubt I ever will again. It was one of the best concerts I've ever been to and I never would have known who Chris LeDoux was if Scott hadn't loved his songs the way he did. Another favorite Chris LeDoux song is Western Skies...it is such a peaceful and relaxing song-but YouTube didn't have it so I couldn't share it.

This One's For the Girls by Martina McBride always makes me think of my mom, Katie and Maggie and the craziness of our house when we all get together. I love it because it describes a "girl's" life at all ages and celebrates the fact that they are "beautiful the way they are." Because we are. This song also makes me miss "my girls" (mom, Katie, and Maggie) a lot lately. Shhh, don't tell them, but I've been known to tear up a bit when I hear it on the radio in recent days. I miss those girls. Hopefully Santa will bring me an airplane ticket for Christmas.

God Bless the Broken Road
by Rascal Flatts will always remind me of "Bivins" and the wonderful, heartbreaking, soul searching, blessed journey that led me to a married life with him. I love the chorus about "every long lost dream led me to where you are, others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars, pointing me on my way into your loving arms, this much I know is true, that God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you." I've said it many times, there was no other way for Dave and I to meet and fall in love than with God's intervention/plan. All of the previous heartaches and heartbreaks we endured taught us lessons about love and life that made us better partners in our marriage. I'm so thankful to have him in my life~whether he is near or far from me~because he is my anchor. He reminds me to lighten up sometimes, he reminds me I'm loved and cared for, and he only wants the best for me (and my family). I think if we had chosen a "first dance" song for our wedding (if we had done a tradition style wedding & reception) this may have been the song to receive my vote. Not sure what "Bivins" would have chosen.

Rascal Flatts songs in general hold a lot of meaning for me. They always manage to come out with a song that is perfect for whatever I am going through at the time. I'm Movin' On came out around the time we moved from northern Ohio to southern Ohio. It was a chance to leave the past behind and make some changes to venture out on my own a bit. The move gave me a chance to "start over" in a new place with people who didn't know me or my family for my entire life. They weren't aware of all the details of my parents divorce and hadn't formed an opinion about what kind of person I was based upon my last name. I could share the mistakes I had made with people on my own terms. It was refreshing! .oO(And it prepared me for many more moves to new places...with people I didn't know and traditions I didn't know anything about.) Mayberry reminds me of "Brookie-Lou," Brandon and Britt when they were much younger (Scott's neices and nephews) and lil Brook singing "sitting on the porch, drinking ice cold cherry coke." (Coke is the one word she would say well...she was maybe 3 or 4?) It was too cute.

My Ruca
by Sublime is definitely a Turtle song. Dave began singing this song to me very early on in our relationship. I loved it! He would also do his infamous "turtle dance" when he sang it. I had wanted to record him doing this prior to his deployment so I could watch in on days I missed him terribly (which probably would have been every day, lol), but I didn't get a chance to do it before they left. He's home now though so I can sometimes get away with a special request. It makes me smile. I never listened to Sublime until I met Dave. I love their music now.

Glycerine by Bush reminds me of either a Jr. High or High school dance when Felix Orbit played. For those of you who weren't blessed enough to go to school with me (j/k) should know that it was a band put together by some fellow classmates-Sam Courtney, Nathaniel (Something...), and the Henceroth boys (there may have been someone else too, but I can't remember). I remember wearing a flannel shirt, I was a teensy bit fashion challenged in those days-still am if you ask my sisters.

All I Want to Do
by Sugarland is a song that makes me happy. When I first heard the song I was underwhelmed...but boy has it grown on me! If it comes on the radio during my lovely 45 minute commute to/from work then I crank up the radio and sing at the top of my lungs "ooh-ooh-ooh-ohh....." and bob my head and bounce in my seat. I love this song! .oO(I'm sure I must make some people laugh when I sing in the car to this song...I try to restrain myself if I'm driving "in town.")

Ok, I think I've shared enough songs with you for one night. There is one final song I would like to share though, especially since my last blog about decorating for the holidays was kind of blah about my lack of excitement at the holidays.

Silent Night always makes me think of Christmas Eve services at Trinity Friends Church and the First Christian Church. We always ended the service with candle lighting and singing Silent Night. I'm sharing Faith Hill's version of this song, but I am sure there are a lot of other equally beautiful versions of this song. I think it just might be one of my favorite Christmas songs.

So...about sharing one last song I thought of a few more holiday songs to share that I do actually like.

Mary Did You Know just leaves me in awe. Can you imagine being the mother of a savior? If Mary had known all that her son would endure, would she have done anything differently? Oh and this song reminds me of my best friend (since before kindergarten) "Snickles" and her sisters. They sang it more than once at our church when we were growing up. It is such a lovely song though. The version I chose from YouTube has some great scenes in it.

Last Christmas is apparently a classic 80's Wham song. You should really check out the video if you would like an instant 80's flashback. It is the song that Katie, Maggie, and I could die happy if we never heard again. It is the song we would call from shoes to jewelry or vice versa to sing to each other at the oh-so-wonderful Z-ville Sears. Thank goodness we don't work there anymore. I had to laugh though when I sent out a text to the family to have them remind me what the "horrible song from Sears' holiday mix that we would annoy each other with" was and Maggie let me know that they are playing it at Staples this holiday season. (She happens to work at Staples this year.) Note to Self: Don't enter a Staples until January...that might be hard since I adore school supplies...but I think I can manage.

O Holy Night is my mother's absolute favorite Christmas song. Whenever I hear any version of this song I think of her. It is the one song she told me I must learn how to play on my flute. I did indeed learn how to play it (have you seen my mother upset? j/k) and she loved it. .oO(Of course she loved it, I was playing it, lol.) One of my favorite versions of O Holy Night is sung by Martina McBride so that is the version I am sharing with you.

This blog took a few days to create so I hope you enjoy it. I never managed to have enough time all at once the past few days to get it done.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Holiday Update

Working in retail can sometimes kill the joy and excitement of the Christmas season. I was never a person who was crazy about Christmas to begin with. You can ask my mom, I'll give you her phone number if you really don't believe me, but I really enjoyed sleeping in on Christmas and could care less about presents. I figured if they were there at 6am, they would still be there at noon when I got up...they had my name on them, didn't they? .oO(Yes, I know Christmas isn't all about presents...) I don't enjoy shopping this time of year either. In fact, Dave tried to get all of our shopping done before Thanksgiving, which at the time I thought a little overzealous...until I remembered I hate shopping for presents. I think we only have a few more things to buy, I have some checks to write, and a box to mail to the grand O-H...I-O.

I really despise Christmas music as well. It is another side effect of working retail for waaaayyy to many Christmas' because all of the stores get together and pick out the same 1-2hr playlist of songs and then they find the most terrible renditions of those songs to play in their stores nationwide. Wal-Mart has been playing Christmas music since Nov. 1st. Grrrrrrr! I hate Wal-Mart! (But sadly I know exactly where to find everything I need there, darnit.) I can't quite remember which song it is, but I'm hoping my dear sisters will remind me, about a particular song that we all 3 disliked greatly while working at Sears during Christmas. We would call each other and share the hideousness of the song...and we all knew the lyrics by heart when Christmas finally rolled around. .oO(I think Sears uses the same Christmas playlist every year...so after 5 Christmas' you really don't like those songs.)

Anyhow, this was a horrible way to start off a blog about the Christmas season, but I thought you should get an idea for my feelings about it up front. As you know (if you've read the past 2 blogs) Dave was deployed last year. I boycotted Christmas and did not put up our tree or decorate the house in any way...except by maybe putting up a delightful wreath I had purchased the year before at K-Mart for no more than $20. .oO(I refused to spend a ridiculous amount on decorations and our door looked so pretty decked out for the holiday.) I boycotted Christmas for a variety of reasons...#1 I didn't want to bother putting the tree up and then having to take it down right before he came home. #2 I was headed home for Christmas anyhow...p.s. Mom didn't put up a tree either though so I bought a table sized tree instead for her - also on sale from Hobby Lobby. #3 My cats are little terrors and try to eat/climb in/knock over the tree. I have pictures to prove it! (I just need to find them.) So this year the whole "B" clan will be gathered together. And like I said in a previous blog I am learning the traditions of his family. I have already been to storage and located our Christmas stockings to put up once we decorate. I'll have to take pics since many of you haven't seen the lovely stocking I made Dave for our first Christmas as a married couple. It coordinates nicely with a stocking my great-grandmother (Granny) made me when I was only a baby. We haven't put up the tree yet b/c it is only the 2nd day of December and we need to clear a space for it. Also, Bonnie would like a real tree...which means this shall be a real adventure for my tree climbing, light eating, destructive fur babies. Our goals will be to keep the tree alive, keep the cats out of the tree water and the tree, keep the ornaments in tact on the tree, and keep the tree standing. I'll update you on the progress. We did however manage to decorate the church.

It is apparently tradition for a group of ladies to gather together and decorate the church for Christmas. I was lucky enough to join them this year and I managed to remember my camera so I can show you pics. I arrived a little late since I had to work that afternoon, but I made it there in time to help and had a great time. So below are some pictures of the creativeness of the ladies.

Bonnie & Maja working their magic on the garland.

They didn't have enough magic so Ginger & Heather had to help. .oO(Really they didn't have enough hands.)

Ginger working on the other side. Chrissy talking on the phone while getting ready to iron.

Doesn't the garland look delightful?

One of the trees at the front of the church.

We had a great time socializing and decorating. It was fun to be a part of this tradition this year. I also made progress and "decorated" my blog :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thankful Just in Time for Thanksgiving

I was blessed enough with 4 days off this past weekend. I had Friday-Monday off from work at both stores. How terribly exciting is that? .oO(Probably not as exciting to you as it was to me, but I wasn't going to complain when I wasn't getting any days off...especially after being jobless and praying for something to do!) I was able to rest all day Friday and make a trip to Wal-Mart to buy my ingredients for a delicious pumpkin roll on Thanksgiving as well as stuff to make a carrot cake for Dave's birthday. Saturday we slept in, went to the Galleria which was terribly busy and made me not want to shop-which was good b/c I didn't spend a lot of money either, and then I came home and made a carrot cake. Sunday we got up and tried to go to a new church...Dave had a classmate who is a pastor in Ragland and we were trying to go to his church, but ended up not finding it and fearing for our lives since we almost trespassed on someone's property. We did end up meeting his parents for a birthday lunch at "The Guad" (a delicious mexican restaurant for all you non-Alabamians...is that a word?) and then came home to eat cake. Yummy! Later that afternoon we went to a Thanksgiving Feast at the church where I've been attending Bible study (until work got in the way) and it is a B family tradition. I was so excited that we were here to participate in the tradition. It was great to gather together to feast and socialize with people I don't see very often. I've been extremely thankful this year that Dave is home. His old unit recently deployed and I'm still in contact with a lot of the moms and wives and I know the deployment is difficult for them, especially at times when family is "supposed" to be together. The men and their families have been on my mind a lot. Thanksgiving week last year was terribly hard for me because it was not only Thanksgiving, but it was also Dave's birthday. .oO(I also think it was the tail end of a 3 week span of no calls from Dave either...whew that is no fun at all.) So I was weepy and sentimental then and I was stuck in Jacksonville, NC instead of going home to the grand O-H...I-O. So, Dave adds to my emotional-ness at lunch by praying for the safety of the men deployed from his unit. Then we get to the feast and we pray in groups after all the feasting is over. We go around the table taking turns praying and who has been on my mind? the families of those deployed and the men deployed. So I start by thanking God that we were able to gather together this year and participate in the festivities (this is the first year btw that we have been able to be with the in-laws at Thanksgiving, let alone in AL). I start sobbing and can barely speak. I spit out one more sentence about watching over the families of those with men who are deployed this year and that is all I could manage. I squeezed Dave's hand and he continued in the prayer circle. Oh goodness did I cry...and then my nose started running so that by the time prayer was over my eyes were all red and I had to run and blow my nose. The life a Marine's wife is always interesting and emotional. .oO(I thought the emotionalness was gone...guess I'm just blessed with empathy and emotion.) Overall it was a great time. Monday I once again didn't really do much. We ran some more errands and watched a movie. It was great to spend some quality time with my husband since he didn't have classes those days either.

So I'm thankful for the following:

1. Being able to spend time with my husband w/out the interference of the USMC. I'll take it however long it lasts and won't complain if it interferes again.

2. He's Home!

3. Learning the traditions of my husband's family while still keeping "our" traditions too.

4. A job-well, two jobs to keep me busy and help pay my bills.

5. Fun people to work with at ATL that are genuinely interested in me, fellow employees, and most of all making sure our clients are taken care of as well.

6. The time to get to know the people in Alabama who are important to my husband and their family.

7. Friends who stay friends no matter how many hours and miles separate us.

8. A family who understands that even though I want to be with them, I just can't right now.

9. Even though I don't know the plan, God does.

10. Furbabies who love me even when I'm grumpy.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Turtle!

Today is my darling husband's birthday! He is a whopping 23 years old and said he "felt old" when I told him happy birthday this morning. .oO(It made me want to pinch him, but it is his birthday so I decided to be nice....if you didn't know you will now, but I am older than my dear husband.) So on this special day I am stealing an idea from a few friends who have done similar things and I am posting 23 reasons why I Love my darling husband (in no particular order).

1. When he writes me a letter I don't have to get out my mental red pen to edit.

2. He is a living, breathing furnace and is kind enough to keep me warm when I'm cold-which is pretty much all the time.

3. He is persistent~ex. he kept calling me when I didn't answer my phone before we were really dating.

4. He tells me if I'm about to walk out of the house looking ridiculous in something. (Ex. Uh, your butt looks funny in those pants dear....)

5. He knows when I'm feeling down and need a hug-and will kindly oblige.

6. He dresses pretty well - with the exception of his "old man pants."

7. He's a Marine - what's not to love about that?

8. He loves me when I first wake up and am super grumpy.

9. He loves me late at night when I am super grumpy.

10. He loves me any time I'm grumpy.

11. He loves me when I'm silly.

12. He knows exactly when Airport Rendezvous Weekend is and how it is more special than Valentine's Day.

13. He remembers special moments/memories I forget.

14. He wants to have Zeus stuffed if he doesn't die "violently" - the only explanation I have for this is that he truly loves that cat.

15. He will sometimes take a nap with me.

16. If he wakes up early and knows I'm really tired he will quietly sneak from the room so I can continue sleeping.

17. He tolerates my addiction to sugar.

18. He's an awesome cuddler.

19. He started spelling love with a capital "L" and knows that ever since there has been special meaning when using love in reference to each other and making sure it is capitalized.

20. He growls and I know it means he Loves me.

21. He brought home a Zeke even when I didn't want a cat so that I would have someone to keep me company during an inevitable deployment. (Zeus was purchased to keep Zeke company when I got a full-time teaching job and was an added bonus.)

22. He loves my crazy family just as much as I do and is ever so kind and generous with them.

23. While he was blessing his birthday lunch he asked God to watch and protect the guys in his old unit who are in Afghanistan at the moment. (He almost made me cry at lunch to know he was thinking of those Marines on his birthday...although I was thinking of them too, especially since he was deployed with a lot of them for his birthday last year.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Promotion & Passing Word

I've been a teensy bit busy lately thanks to Ann Taylor Loft. I'm actually really excited about being busy, even though it cuts down on the amount of time I have to write. For the past few weeks I have had anywhere from 8-17 scheduled hours, but have also managed to pick up extra shifts from people either being no-call/no-shows, people calling off sick, or ATL being really busy. It has been great and I have been loving it and doing well at helping clients find what they need and maybe some things they don't need too. My manager needed another sales lead (like a part-time manager type gig) to help with the extended holiday hours as well as increased client traffic. I am the lucky recipient of that promotion :) Yay! It means 25-29 hours a week and about a $1 pay increase so that is fabulous. My one goal will be to not spend all the money I make on clothes from ATL....since I'll be there more this may be harder to do. My first spending priority is comfy black dress shoes (like Clarks or something) because while I am certaing God created toes, I am also equally certain the devil invented dress shoes....b/c all of my black shoes hurt my feet and even some of my typically comfy shoes hurt my feet. Sooooo not a great thing when you're on your feet all the time. .oO(Do you like my correct use of you're vs. your? If you don't know the difference please rectify [correct] the situation immediately as it is a pet peeve of mine.)

Also, I have just figured out that word is passed slower in the "F" family (my maiden name starts with an F, just so you know...) than it is in the USMC. I didn't think it was possible for word to pass slower anywhere else, but apparently it is. It is either that or the chain of command is broken in our family. Dave and his fellow Marines had a joke that the commanding officer would tell a mouse the plan for the day (a.k.a. the "word") and then he would release it for his lower ranking officers to find and catch in order to get the word and pass it on to the rest of the Marines. This is why it would be 4pm (or 1600) before Dave would know what he was supposed to do that day even though he had been there since 4am (or 0400). Yes, this story does have a point and I'm getting to it. I learned today (when I talked to my dad for the first time in probably a month) that I have a cousin, Jay, in boot camp at the great Parris Island right now. My dad is supposed to e-mail me his address so I can send him some encouraging mail. Hopefully, if my aunt and uncle aren't able to make it to graduation or even if they can...I might be able to talk my husband into going to watch him graduate from boot camp. .oO(In my mind him not making it through boot camp isn't an option and I'm praying it isn't an option in his mind either.) Now I need to hush up and send an e-mail to my dad to pass on to the rest of the family with things to keep in mind when they write to my cousin. Things like the fact that you shouldn't write anything but the address on the outside of the envelope to save him some poosible unwanted attention from the D.I.'s and that they can mail extra paper and a stamped envelope in the letter as well so Jay can write to whomever he wants. I'm a wealth of knowledge about Marine life in general and if I don't know the answer to a question I can probably find out somehow. So saying a quick prayer that Jay isn't too terribly cold on the island (the sand fleas should be hibernating) and that he sleeps soundly in his rack tonight so he will have the strength to make it through another day of training tomorrow....well tomorrow is Sunday (the Marines really don't take the day off, although recruits are allowed to go to church)....but hopefully he will be rested and endure Monday's training too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

USMC Birthday & Veteran's Day

The last two days have been busy and fun ones for Dave and I. Yesterday, November 10th was the 233rd Marine Corps Birthday~for you non-military folk that means that in 1775 the Marine Corps was born in Tun Tavern Philadelphia, PA. I surprised him with a note and a present....



Then today was Veteran's Day :) The majority (if not all) area schools were not in session today. Dave and I ventured out for lunch and saw a lot of families enjoying the day together. That is really what our vets have fought or are fighting for-the right for families to enjoy time together in a nation with many freedoms. Our vets have given up their rights to enjoy an abundance of family time in order for other families to enjoy that right and for that I thank them. Last week we went to Cracker Barrel to eat a rather late dinner and I happened to see a soldier and his son playing checkers at one of the tables. It made me smile because I knew they were truly enjoying the time together, but I couldn't help but wonder whether the soldier had recently returned from deployment and when his next deployment was scheduled. .oO(My experiences have forever changed the way I view moments like those.) I had ordered a t-shirt recently to show my support of our veterans...


In other news we were up on the hill shooting recently and I happened to remember to take some pictures. I have been receiving my weapons education very gradually over the past three years thanks to my southern, gun-toting husband. When we first started shooting I was a decent shot, but not fabulous...still not fabulous really. However, I have been able to determine what type of weapon I would like to own-a Glock 19. It is the one weapon Dave owns that I can pick up and shoot with a decent level of accuracy every time. I shoot the best when I have a target that I can see clearly where I hit. I was pretty good this time around, 17 of the 20 rounds I shot hit the target. The other three were just outside the target.

Me in my pink ear pro!

My target before we started.

My target after the first 10 rounds...9 of them hit. If you look closely you'll see there were a couple that hit twice very near each other :)

Hope everyone who had Veteran's Day off enjoyed it and remembered to thank a vet!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I tend to have a rather sarcastic sense of humor. I tend to sometimes say rather flippant sarcastic comments. I also tend to have an eternally optimistic outlook on life. My motto is "things can only get so bad before something good has to happen." These are qualities that have guided me through life thus far and also qualities that are sometimes misunderstood. My sarcasm is sometimes taken for "itchiness" (if you know what I mean) and my eternal optimism for naivete. Why I'm blogging about this I'm not quite sure...I had a point, but I've lost it. .oO(We'll blame that on the cold still lingering despite my dosages of vitamins and echinacea.)

Election Day~I wanted to blog about this yesterday, but ATL called me into work early and I didn't get a chance to blog. I awoke yesterday to my husband's alarm going off at 6am. I sleepily asked "what time are you going to go vote?" He said "I'm leaving shortly." We talked about the fact that I didn't think the polls opened til 7am and he said he was going to get coffee first. I roused myself from the bed and put on some clothes...my jeans, a USMC t-shirt, and my Columbia fleece. It was either a USMC t-shirt or an Ohio University hoodie...I opted for the t-shirt since I was trying to draw very little attention to my northerness at the polls, it may have worked better if I hadn't spoken, lol. So we drive by our local polling place at approx. 6:20am. There are about 20 people in line. We drive down to Jack's (a fast food chicken place) and Dave gets coffee and I get a sweet tea. (I was planning on going back to bed so I didn't want to wake up too much.) We drive back to the polling place and the line has doubled-it is only 6:30am at this point. We wait another half hour for the polls to open and the line doubles one more time by then. I happily signed my name as being the 40th person at our location to pick up my ballot. I'm guessing it is because I am a fast reader and the fact that if I'm not sure what something is about I don't make a choice, but I was the 39th person to scan my ballot into the machine. I was rather surprised when I entered our polling location though because there was no white (or red, white and blue) curtained booth to enter. Nope, there were about 10 round tables with chairs that you could sit and cast your ballot. Your ballot was in a large, white paper folder and you had to complete the arrow for the candidate you chose. Interesting. Anyhow, I gladly received my "I voted today" sticker and then waited for my husband to finish voting. I can say I've never experienced such a feeling urgency from fellow voters as I did yesterday. That being said, this is the third Presedential election in which I have voted. It didn't matter who you were voting for (well it does) but everyone there wanted to be sure that their opinion was heard-and they were, but the majority of Alabama voters were disappointed with the day's results. .oO(I'd love to be in Ohio right about now to hear how things are playing out there.) I heard on the news today Alabama was only 1 of 20 states voting for McCain. WOW! Even without the electoral college process 20/50 isn't a winning ratio. Ok, stepping off my soapbox now. Anyhow, I voted...we came home and finished watching a movie we had started the night before since I wasn't quite sleepy yet and then I went back to sleep because I was tired.

Ann Taylor Loft called me in to work early and off I went to make some more money and waited to hear the results of the day. When I arrived home at 10:30ish I didn't watch tv right away because I had a few other things to do. Then my mother-in-law came downstairs to announce that Obama was making his acceptance speech. I went into the living room to hear what he had to say, unfortunately I couldn't hear what he had to say because of the complaining going on behind me. Everyone is entitled to their vote and opinion, but I wanted to hear his historical acceptance speech! My opinion about the election is this: we voted, Obama won, now lets get on with the business of living because if you believe that you're living your life according to God's master plan...then this is part of his plan and we need to take that into account. The sky is not falling, at least not yet, so we'll wait and see what happens in the next four years. It isn't like life is fabulous for everyone now-alot may change and nothing may change, but we've got to give our country and our newly elected leader (officially in approx 2.5months) the chance to try. Whether you are upset about the outcome of the election or whether you are praising the outcome, pray for the soon to be leaders of our country that they will do the job to the best of their ability.

Ann Taylor Loft~I went in to work earlier than originally scheduled and since it was rather slow the manager was asking me some questions. She asked about whether I was in school-nope, but I'd love to be a teacher right about now (stinkin' Alabama teacher certification delays). She asked me how many hours I was getting at Bath and Bodyworks-approx 3-6 hrs at the moment (almost worth driving to work). She asked me if I thought I might like to be a key holder to a Loft store. Uh, yes! A key holder is a part-time position that holds managerial type responsibilities. It would mean more guaranteed hours each week, a slight pay raise, and it will give me "official" retail management experience. I have to go through an interview process before any promotion is made, but there is an exciting opportunity available at the moment. Yay! I'll keep you posted on the outcome. Sidenote: I realized I have been in retail for almost 10 years now. It was only during my time in NC that I wasn't in retail. Wow.

Random exciting news, to me anyhow, is that the t-shirt I ordered from www.grunt.com (a site dedicated to USMC apparel and acoutrements) for Veteran's Day finally arrived yesterday! I am sooooo excited about it. Mostly b/c it is a long sleeve t-shirt and I only have 2 others at the moment- an Ohio Univeristy one and an Ohio State one, both in rather sad looking shape. I LOVE my USMC gear!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Following Mom's Orders

In case you aren't a Facebook friend and didn't see the delightful comment my mother left on my wall I'll give you a brief summary...she ordered me to blog b/c she was bored and reads my blog when she's bored (not sure how I feel about that...hmmm) and since I haven't posted anything in a few days there was nothing for her to read. I'm fixing that now.

I love watching the show Army Wives on Lifetime. I'm not sure exactly why I love the show so much, but I think it is mostly because it is an honest look at life as a military wife. It may be a bit over dramatic as most wives don't have quite that much drama all the time, but I think it shows a wonderful snapshot of a life military wives and families live~a snapshot that most people don't think about unless they happen to come from a military family or it is a holiday like Memorial Day, 4th of July, or Veteran's Day. The show first began when Dave was doing what are known as work-ups (training exercises which meant a lot of time "in the field" away from me) for his deployment with the 22 MEU. My world stopped for that 1 hour each Sunday to watch the show and it reminded me that I wasn't the only one struggling with the idea of being seperated from my husband as he traveled across the ocean, I wasn't the only one who was frustrated with her husband's training schedule, I wasn't the only one who was extremely proud of my husband and his calling to serve our country, and I wasn't the only one who despite all its drawbacks loved the life of a military wife. (I know the show is fictional, but it reminded me of the real life military wives enduring the same battles those characters were.) Rarely did I watch an episode without tearing up because it stirred up some emotion of understanding, played out one of my fears, or a character on the show experienced some great joy. When the first season ended I patiently waited for the second season to begin. The second season evoked those same emotions of sorrow, joy, and pride. Last night I watched the last episode of the second season and I was crying at every commercial break-I'm blaming some of it on the fact that I've been sick and was tired, but this last episode was jam packed with emotion. (I apologize now if you're a fan and didn't watch the show last night...and for my "simplified" explanation.) In last night's episode one of the wives, Claudia Joy, called the friends together to announce her husband had been transferred to Brussels and they were moving in two days. (I'm not familiar with moves that take place that quickly, but I am sure they exist.) This wife struggled with leaving her friends behind, because in the military sometimes your friends become your family. I'm all too familiar with moving and leaving friends behind to move to a new place all the while wishing things could just stay the same. Another factor in her move is the fact that her 18 yr old daughter had passed away recently and this was the last place that their family was whole. She struggled with packing up her deceased daughter's room, but knew it was something that had to be done. Claudia Joy was excited about the new possibilities of life in a new place, but was sad to leave. At one point in the show she said something that I think a lot of military wives say/think at some point in their lives..."I love being an army wife, but I don't know if I can do this." I interpretted this phrase as as something she said amongst friends-friends who understood this to mean she loves her life and wouldn't change a bit of it, but transitions are tough and even though this one seems extremely difficult at the time she will get through it, but for that particular moment she needed some support. (I suppose anyone could relate to that stament...I really blah blah blah, but I don't know if I can do this...and yet we do.) I could go on and on and on about the episode and the show, but I think I'll leave it at that for now.

I had a wonderful conversation with my sister Katie (K-tizzle as Dave calls her) and she said something that just made me laugh. We were talking about all sorts of things and I forget what in particular brought about this exact quote but I had to stop talking and write it down because it made me laugh so hard, especially the way she said it. Katie's quote of the day was "sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is really a bus so just keep your helmet on...I'm just sayin." I miss this girl! I'd love to walk up to Katie today and say "hug me, I'm cold." That is a phrase I said a lot my last winter at home because I'd say that and Katie would hug me. Katie is warm blooded so it warmed me up. It has since then become a family saying. It works with Dave, but it just isn't the same without Katie.

I haven't seen Katie since the end of June. I haven't seen Maggie since shortly before that. I haven't seen Mom since January. I miss them. I'm hoping we get some things figured out so I can plan a visit to Ohio soon! Maybe I'll win the lottery so I can afford to visit, but I think you have to buy a ticket to win the lottery and I'm too cheap to waste money on a ticket.

Living with someone else's mom suddenly makes my mom seem more sane. 'Nuff said.

Work is good. I love working at Ann Taylor Loft because I get to "shop" the whole time I'm there. I get to help other people put outfits together. Fun stuff. Bath and Bodyworks is ok, but time passes rather slowly there and I'm not liking it as much. I can't complain though because it is work.

I think that is all for today. Hope this entertained my mother at least.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Writer's Block & Not Much Else

There really hasn't been anything that has caught my interest to blog about lately. My apologies dear blog readers.

Animals~The animal kingdom in the house has settled down a bit. The cats still don't like the dog, but they do enjoy watching the dog get into trouble. They're like little nags watching and waiting with a "this is going to be good when Mom sees this" look on their face when they see things they know Lou will get into trouble for doing. Other than that the cats stay upstairs if the dog is in the house and the dog is restricted to the downstairs so he doesn't get in to things he shouldn't...like expensive cat food. .oO(I guess the cat food isn't terribly expensive, but we started buying them Science Diet when we had a steady income and they refuse to eat much of anything else now...Science Diet is around $30 for a bag that should last a month, Meow Mix is probably around $15 for a bag the same size...nope the furbabies aren't spoiled {insert HUGE eyeroll} at all.)

No children for us!~It has been brought to my attention, via the animal kingdom unrest, that I am nowhere near being ready to mother anything but animals. If I raise my voice at Lou he obeys and then runs off b/c I have "scared" him. If Dave yells too loudly at Lou, he gets scared and pees a little. If Dave yells at Zeke he runs to his food bowl and eats. As a result we have determined our children would have some issues...no kids for us at this point. Furbabies are good for now.

Sickness~Dave was sick last weekend with what he calls "the sickness." I worked every day last wknd so I had little time to do anything but work and try to tend to the sick patient. Meanwhile, I was taking Airborn, Echinacea, and my vitamins daily all in an attempt to avoid "the sickness." Today I awoke to a severely sore throat due to some sinus drainage and am hoping I didn't catch "the sickness." So I'm drinking hot tea and still taking my vitamins in an attempt to curtail any ensuing sickness.

Voting~I happened to realize that we need to vote next week. Then I realized I hadn't received my voter registration card in the mail and I began to worry. A few minutes later as I was watching tv I saw a commercial for a website where I can check the status of my voter registration and find my polling location~www.alabamavotes.gov~in case you were wondering. So I log onto the website, it says no voter located under that name. Panic ensues as I try to figure out what I need to do, my opinion must be heard! {Sidenote: Alabama is the only state in which I have lived that did not offer me the option of changing my voter registration when I received my Driver's License. Alabama, I'm thinking you could save some headaches and time if you offered this option. So I had to mail in a paper application, which I put in an envelope instead of folding in half since I had to put my ss# on it.} I wonder, did they not receive my application...I mailed it over a month ago. .oO(I know I'm a Yankee-a female one at that, but I still have rights here yanno? - That was for Dave who teases me about not being able to vote here.) What do I do now? Then I realized it was time to get ready for work and this problem would have to be put on hold momentarily. Well, my problem was solved yesterday when the mail arrived. I finally received my voter registration card in the mail!

In other voter related news, my mother has already voted. She went and picked up an absentee ballot, filled it out, and turned it back in. She successfully avoided election day headaches. .oO(Wonder if she received one of those cool "I voted today" stickers?) Oh to live in Ohio again....wait a minute, maybe not they had snow flurries earlier this week. Yuck!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hold Still I Have a Flashlight!

So...like I'm not having enough trouble sleeping with the door to our room open so the noisy cats can get in and out. Last night I am finally almost asleep (at 12:30 am) when my dearest husband says "hold still I have a flashlight!" .oO(Ugh, I was holding still...I was almost asleep!!) He repeats "hold still I have a flashlight." I hear him reach around his nightstand and sit up this time. I definitely don't move b/c he has a Surefire flashlight. They're the kind Marines and other soldiers use when kicking in doors or whatever wherever they happen to be and they are blindingly bright. So since I have my sleep mask on (I've been using one lately to make it "darker" in my head so I can sleep better) and I know he has this crazy bright flashlight I definitely don't move for a second or two. Then when I realize he hasn't turned the flashlight on I pull up the sleep mask and ask "are you good now?" He says "yeah, I wasn't sure whether I was really talking or if I was still dreaming." I reply "you definitely told me to hold still you have a flashlight." He lays back down and is sound asleep in minutes. Meanwhile I try to settle back down and sleep. I'm successful until about 3-4am when I wake up b/c fat Zeke (I say that in the most loving way) is sleeping between my feet and I can't move. He won't budge b/c there is a dog in the house. .oO(Guess I didn't need to worry about holding still.) So today I am my typically grumpy Wizzel self after another restless night of sleep. (Wizzel is my husband's nickname for me...in case you didn't know.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Animal Kingdom

The animal kingdom in our house has been recently disturbed. The cats are angry and hiding in our bedroom all day. They come downstairs long enough to use the litter box and glare at the newcomer in the house. Then it is back upstairs. That means that they are sleeping with us too, which isn't too bad except for the fact that Zeke doesn't share the bed very well and he baths at 3am, loudly. The newcomer is a border collie we have names "Lou," short for Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller. If you aren't aware of who "Chesty" Puller is then I suggest you click the link and start reading. He is a legend in the Marine Corps. Anyhow, Lou came to be part of the family on Sunday when he was being attacked in a neighbor's yard by another neighbor's pit bulls. Dave heard the calamity and went to investigate. .oO(Meanwhile I'm still sound asleep in bed.) He apparently comes back with Lou, a 6 month old puppy. He is very well-behaved, but I'm not really a big dog person. I don't like worrying about when the dog was last outside to go potty, if he is chewing on something I don't want him to chew, if he is up on the in-law's leather furniture, etc. Plus, the aforementioned cat issue. The cats are feeling harassed and are showing their anger via cat glares.

~The Standoff on the Bivins' Stairs~

We'll call this next section "Weekend Updates"...

My Ticket to "The Gun Show"
They kept my ticket this time...I'm sorta irritated b/c I was going to take a pic of my ticket stub. Oh well, this trip to the big gun show wasn't really that entertaining. The funniest thing I heard was "ooooohhhhh, concealment purses, let's go look at these." The purses we bad 80's leather purses. The kind your grandma still carries..."bless her heart."

The uniform of the day gave you the option of wearing overalls or anything cammie colored-it could be actual cammies or just the colors in cammies.

I also saw what I will describe as paper clip confederate soldiers. They looked like they were made out of a continuous paper clip unwound. Then the paper clip wire was molded into a figure, some carried guns, some carried a flag with an "x" I assume to represent the confederate flag. It could be yours for only $10. I can just picture someone buying these goofy paper clip soldiers to stage a reenactment in their basement. Creepy!

One last cute thing I saw was a notice to customers at one gentleman's table. I think this rule should apply to all businesses. I think it might make people a little less grumpy when dealing with clerks. The notice read "Prices subject to change according to customer's attitude." I could cut someone a deal on a product or I could price gouge if they were rude...like talking on a cell phone while trying to check out. Seriously, put the phone down! It won't kill you...or the other person...to say hold on one second while I check out. .oO(Sorry, HUGE pet peeve. Also, you best not complain if I don't offer you much customer service while you chat on your phone the whole time you shop. I'm not going to be rude and interrupt your terribly important conversation...I'm assuming it is important b/c you're talking whilst you shop.)

Work at the ATL...Ann Taylor Loft
I am LOVING it. I love the people I work with so far. I get to "shop" the whole time I'm there by helping "clients" not customers (LOL) find the perfect additions to their "wardrobe." Yay! The time flies when I am there. Plus, like I mentioned in an earlier blog...I really love the discount.

More Signs
I simply can't help myself. I had to share more funny signs with "y'all." Ok first up we have "Okra Sale"...I'm guessing this is similar to a shoe sale, but okra instead. My only problem is I can't spot a good deal on okra. I don't know what its regular selling price is and I don't know the degree to which it is "on sale." Plus, the only thing I've heard of is fried okra. Not a huge demand on it in the Bivins' house so I guess the okra sale is one I'm going to skip.

Next up we have "free blood pressure." When I chuckled in the car and Dave inquired about the reason for my chuckle I told him there was a sign for free blood pressure. His reply "no thanks, I'm good. I think I have enough." Now typically blood pressure isn't something you want in a terribly large amount. I wasn't aware you could get it at any store either, especially for free. I'm going to suggest they add the word "screenings" to the sign lest someone be confused.

.oO(Dave also said that we had signs like this in the North...he thinks I am picking on Southerners by pointing out these signs. I'm really not picking on them. There are silly signs in the North too, but I'm not in the North to see those signs...I'm in the South!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Finally Blogging About the List

Ok, finally had time to finish the blog about the list of things to blog about. (Say that 5 times fast and get someone to understand you, lol.)

1. Signing Issues ~ Mostly the spelling on signs...grrr!
I'm seriously annoyed by typos and the incorrect use of words, especially when it's on something "important" that people are going to read....all the time. I have seen a variety of signs that have made me slap my head and scream "UGH!" recently. My first, most annoying sign is someone's political sign. The person is running for a local city counsel position and their sign proudly proclaims "No Clicks." No clicks, huh? What about booms? Or splats? Or thumps? Did you mean to say cliques? You wouldn't get my vote...if you can't check a sign and know there are two different clicks vs. cliques...you shouldn't be on city counsel. .oO(Those political signs aren't cheap...I'd be making darn sure that they were correct before they were made.) Another sign I have seen proudly proclaims "Hay 4 Sell." I understand the use of a number instead of the word "for" to save space...but your hay is for sale not sell. You are selling it, thus making it for sale. I know there is another one I wanted to tell you all about, but I've forgotten it. Thank goodness.

2. ATTP Test ~Joke!! Huge joke!
In order to be "highly qualified" in Alabama I had to take a test to prove that I have basic reading, writing, and math skills. I went to take the test Saturday. I am annoyed by people who can't follow directions! First of all, our answer sheets were on our desks when we arrived. People, whom I am assuming have never taken a standardized test before...or who just think they know everything, started filling out their info on the answer sheet. A standardized test is supposed to be given in a "standard" manner. If you fill out the answer sheet early...it isn't standard.

I get annoyed with people who feel the need to talk in between sections of the test. The directions clearly stated "remain quietly in your seats." I'm further annoyed by test administrators who don't emphasize this issue. It goes back to that "standard" thing.

All that being said, this test was really easy. If I didn't pass I shouldn't be allowed to talk, let alone teach...EVER. I'd give out more details, but I signed my life away on all of my test booklets stating that I wouldn't talk about the content of the test, etc...etc...and if I do my scores could be voided. That means I'd have to sit through the test again...and they'd probably prosecute me for "violating their intellectual rights."

3. Bathroom at UAB Humanities Building ~Interesting mirror quote thingy.
I took my ATTP test in this building. When I went into the bathroom (before the test started b/c is clearly stated online in the info about the test that there are no breaks and it is roughly a 3 hr test) I discovered the neatest thing. I'll do my best to describe it. When you walk in the sinks are on the right side and there is a large mirror on your left side. above the sinks there are all these phrases printed across the wall backwards. I started trying to read some of them...they said things like my hair is too frizzy, I need a facelift, my complexion is uneven, etc. I thought...hmmmm. I turned around and much to my delight looked in the mirror and began reading more of the phrases. Only this time they were legible b/c they were put on the opposite wall to read correctly when you are looking in the mirror. It's supposed to make you think about all those things you think about when you look in the mirror. It was cool, I don't think my description did it justice.

4. Buddy the Terrible ~ He's a cat with a really, really, really big head.
Buddy is a cat that has been hanging around the in-laws house. He gets into fights and comes back to the house all beat up and pitiful looking. He did this about 2 weeks ago and this time around it was his ear...it looks like something had tried to nearly take his ear off. It was at this point that Buddy became the basement dwelling cat while we decided if he needed to see a vet or what we were going to do with him. He is a sweet orange tabby cat, with a large head (think lion without a mane type head and neck), and a meow that sounds like a nasaly/froggy "maaaahhh." Pitiful, but sweet. So, Buddy is in the basement just chilling and resting. We take him to the vet to update his shots and sign him up to be neutered (hoping this will keep him from getting into so many fights). He returns from the vet with the following report: he's got some sort of kitty STD, he had some sort of infection making his eyes all gooey that they gave him an anti-inflammatory shot, and they updated the rest of his vaccinations. He goes back into the basement...money has been spent on this cat and he has an appointment the following week for surgery. He can't be let out b/c he has to have stuff put on his eyes in addition to the shot and we want to make sure he doesn't run off. Well, a day or so later Buddy is feeling fine. We know this b/c the entire house stinks like ammonia. Buddy has sprayed everything he can find in the basment and the house reeks, thus earning himself the nickname "Buddy the Terrible." He's still sweet, but he STINKS! We manage to get an industrial strength fan and use it in combination with lots of open windows and candles to get the stink to a more bearable smell. The household kindly endures this dreadful smell for another week 'til Buddy goes off for surgery. Buddy goes to surgery on a Friday morning. We get a phone call from the vet that afternoon telling us that we can pick him up...normally they keep them overnight, but Buddy is somehow a special case and we go retrieve him. His version of meow is now an octave higher and after another overnight stay in the basement he has gone back to being an outside dwelling cat. The reign of "Buddy the Terrible" is over and we are all glad.

5. Storage~ Ugh! Boxes are my enemy now and forever!
The majority of my stuff is in storage. Any time I want something I must first locate what box I think it might be in and proceed to dig through it. If the desired item is not in the box I must try to figure out what box it might be in and continue digging. Not fun, at all.

6. Job ~ Actual jobs and prospective jobs.
I now have two part-time jobs. I work part-time at Bath & Bodyworks, just like in DC only fewer hours so far. I will soon be starting part-time work at Ann Taylor Loft as well. I'm excited about this because I can buy the clothes I want at a nicely discounted price. Yay! I probably won't actually "make" money there, but at least I'll have nice clothes should a teaching job occur.

Speaking of teaching jobs I found out a christian school in the area was in need of an English teacher. I dropped off my resume last week and met the principal. He said he would look over my resume and get back to me. I'm still waiting to hear about a potential interview. If this teaching job doesn't happen then I guess I will have an answer about what it is Dave and I should plan on doing in the near future. Stay tuned dear blogreaders for updates as they occur ;)

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Smell Pumpkin!!

Blogreaders I must apologize for not blogging about my list just yet. Maybe I will have time tomorrow. Ijust HAD to blog about the newest recipe in my stash. My dear friend Anna e-mailed me a recipe of sorts last week and I had time to try it out. It was a hit! So I thought I would share it with all of you...although I'm adding some of my notations about the journey from ingredients to cupcakes.

This was the e-mail from Anna:

1 can pumpkin (10 oz)
4 eggs
1 c vegetable oil
1 2/3 c sugar
2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 t cinnamon
{It should be noted that if you use self-rising flour that you do not need to add the baking powder, the baking soda, or the salt. Luckily, my father-in-law read the recipe and saved me from the disaster.}

Put in a 9 x 13 greased pan and bake for 20-35 minutes. {15-20 minutes if cupcakes.} ~Edit: Bake @ 350~ You may want to cut the recipe in half as it makes a lot. It would make great cupcakes, especially if you added a cream cheese frosting.

This is the "recipe" exactly as I received it from Anna. Anna should know that I need specific directions when cooking due to my inexperience and lack of creativity in the kitchen. I even managed to mess up...I forgot to add the oil at first. The cupcakes were in the oven and I happened to see the unused measuring cup on the counter. Hmmm...why did I have that out? The vegetable oil!! {I go out to back porch where mother-in-law is quietly reading..."what will happen to my cupcakes if I didn't add the oil?" How much oil? "Ugh, a cup of vegetable oil?" They're going to be really, really dry.} So I took them out and scraped the mix out of those cute little paper cupcake liners (threw the liners in the trash) added vegetable oil, mixed the batter, and tried again. Second attempt was a success! I would not half the recipe if making cupcakes unless you only want a few. It made about 24 cupcakes.

Anna's Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe:

3-4 oz cream cheese
1/2 T butter
Equal parts milk and powdered sugar {Ugh, Anna...HELP!}

Cream cheese icing tends to be heavy so you can lighten in up by using some whipping cream. Just buy the regular whipping cream at the store and whip it up a couple of times and you will notice a difference.


I am recipe challenged, among other things so I hunted around and found a more specific cream cheese recipe. There were just waaaayyy too many ways for me to screw this one up.

4 oz cream cheese
2 c powdered sugar
1/4 c butter
1-3 t milk
*I added 1/2 t vanilla as well so sweeten the taste a bit more.

I did mix in some whipping cream and made my frosting too runny so I had to add some powdered sugar to thicken it back up. Overall, this recipe was a huge success despite my challenges. I took the cupcakes to the floorset at Bath and Bodyworks and everyone loved them. You can see pictures of my efforts below. THANKS ANNA!

Mixed Up and Ready for the Oven - Round 1

Looking Yummy!

Ready to Go!
Packed Up and Ready to Eat!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

List of Things to Blog About More Later

1. Signing Issues ~ Mostly the spelling on signs...grrr!

2. ATTP Test ~Joke!! Huge joke!

3. Bathroom at UAB Humanities Building ~Interesting mirror quote thingy.

4. Buddy the Terrible ~ He's a cat with a really, really, really big head.

5. Storage~ Ugh! Boxes are my enemy now and forever!

6. Job ~ Actual jobs and prospective jobs.

Sorry for the list, but if I didn't make one I'd forget by tomorrow all that I want to share.

Monday, October 6, 2008

One Sick Kitty

I love my furbabies. I'm so glad I don't have human children just yet. I'm just not feeling it so far. On Saturday we had a lovely birthday celebration dinner for my mother-in-law's 60th birthday. It was wonderful. We had steak, baked potatoes, and salad. Yummy. Well, when Dave helped clean off the table he took the spoon out of the sour cream and chased Zeus with the sour cream covered spoon. He dabbed some on Zeus' nose. Zeus licked it off and made a face. Dave dabbed more sour cream on Zeus' nose and I wiped it off with a tissue. No problems...til about an hour later when dave spots a pile of kitty puke. Ewwww! Then I notice another pile, and another pile, and yup some more too. I locate the Zeus and the poor lil guy is sick. He is banished to the screened in porch for awhile so we can ensure that his lil tummy is empty and I proceed to clean up the piles. Icky!!! Apparently, cats should not eat sour cream and husbands should not be allowed to torture their cats. On the upside, Zeus is feeling much better now.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Blog Facelift & Other Ramblings

I finally took the time to figure out exactly what I needed to do to update and revamp the background of my blog. I've been blogging for over a year now on this site and this is the very first time its had a facelift. I'm excited.

I love fall! ~ I love that the leaves change colors~or at least they do in OH and I'm told they change here in AL as well. They didn't really change much in NC. One day they were on the trees, the next day they were brown and on the ground. Yucky! I love that school is in session~although I loved that fact a little more when I was teaching. I love that I get to wear my sweatshirts and sweaters!!! Wooohooo! I finally made the dreaded trip to storage to locate my "winter" clothes...also known as anything other than sleeveless shirts, shorts, and capris. Then the funny weatherman decided today would be warm again. Grrrrr. Oh well, I guess I'll be prepared for the next time it cools back down.

Fall at Mill Creek Park
The Frantz Sisters 10 Years Ago
{Katie, Wendy, & Maggie}

Friday Nights With the Girls ~ I sort of had Friday Nights With the Girls in NC. My deployment buddies and I would gather together to laugh, eat, watch a movie, and do anything to keep our minds off the fact that the men in our lives were an ocean away, literally. Sometimes it was all of us and other times it was "Friday Night Date." My dear friend Anna and I would meet up after naptime (teachers are exhausted by Friday night) and we would go to the commisary (the grocery store on base) and buy our measley weeks worth of groceries (aka frozen dinners) and then we would either make something for dinner or order chinese food or pizza, drink some Duplin County Wine (best wine EVER), and watch a movie with her dog Max (an adorable Corgi). I have missed those girls so much! Anna especially since she was my go to girl for everything. Well, twice now I have attended Friday Night with the Girls at Chrissi Sharp's house. It is so much fun!! I laughed the whole time I was there. There are kids in and out of the house (because the moms all bring their kids and they play together) while the ladies all talk, laugh, and share. I came home refreshed, in a great mood, and it reminded me how much I love my husband. He's such a good man even if he does give me headaches sometimes.

Deployment Buddies Painting Steph's House
{Steph, Anna, Max, Jenny, Wendy}

I Miss My Sisters~ The past few weeks I have really been missing my sisters. We are grown up and busy living our lives and we manage to call each other, e-mail, leave messages on facebook, etc...but it just isn't the same as having them around nearby ready to spend time together being silly. Katie celebrated her 21st birthday in Sept. and I wasn't there. Maggie celebrated her 20th birthday this week and again, I wasn't there. Katie has been studying for her LSAT's and is taking it today. I'm not there :( I'm missing out on all these fun and important things. I really hoping that Katie does well on her LSAT and that when she aplies to Samford they accept her and maybe even give her some scholarship money so she has no choice but to move here or be in tons of grad school debt. The plan is that if I can get Katie to move to AL, then Mom and Maggie will soon follow. I'm really hoping that they move closer...because this missing out on fun times with the sisters (and Mom too) is just no fun!

Up to their necks in leaves!
The Sisters in the Leaves~More Than 10 Years Ago
{Wendy, Katie, Maggie}
This is back when I was actually taller than my sisters, lol. Poor Maggie is almost hidden behind the leaves.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Past Few Days

Many things have happened in the past few days that I have felt like blogging about, but haven't yet. So here is another list of occurrences, wonderings, and ramblings.

#1 Not Sleeping Well
For some reason I am not sleeping well. I lay down in bed at night and it takes me awhile to fall asleep. Then when I do fall asleep it isn't a very restful sleep. I don't usually sleep through the whole night anyhow because I wake up at least once to go potty. The past few nights though have been very restless nights of sleep. Dave says I'm apparently making noises straight out of movies like "The Grudge" or "The Ring", I wouldn't know what they sound like though since I haven't seen either of those movies. I've been noisy enough I awakened him the first two nights. I asked him why he didn't wake me up and he said I was sounding demonic....apparently Marines don't like to mess with demons. The third night I startled him from his sleep and he said he almost hit me when I scared him awake. (He does that now...if he falls asleep on the couch I started leaving him sleep on the couch b/c depending on what he's dreaming about or what kind of sleep it is he sometimes rears back when I wake him. So now he just gets to sleep where he falls.) So hoping this restless sleep stops and I get some quality rest soon. If I turn up with a black eye it isn't that my husband is abusive, I'll just have startled a Marine awake.

#2 Rudely Awakened
I woke up this morning to Zeus going "mrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhhfffff" (that sounds like a sort of humming hmph) and I open my eyes to see Zeus with both paws on the bed and we are eye to eye. I should mention that I sleep on my side facing the edge of the bed and I was right on the edge this morning. Unable to decipher the "mrrrrrrhhhhhfffff" I closed my eyes and was ready to go back to sleep. Then Zeus decided to hop on the table next to the bed, which isn't very sturdy, and he tips it so that the remainder of my cup of water onto the floor as he jumps into the window. So apparently "mrrrrhhhhhffff" translates into "mom move over so I can hop on the bed and get into the windo so I don't have to knock your water over." Since I didn't cooperate my punishment was mopping up water from the hardwood floor. Thanks Zeus. Once he got into the window he began "calling" at birds. Did I mention this all occurred at 6am? I have absolutely no reason to be up that early since I am essentially unemployed. Being the nocturnal sleep loving creature that I am I try to sleep as late as possible...even if it is restless. Kids are great, aren't they?

#3 Stupid Zeke
So, I had just showered and put on my clothes and when I opened the bathroom door my mother-in-law hollers up the steps. Be careful where you step, one of the cats got sick. I'm on my way to clean it up. I wander around the corner and sure enough, kitty vomit. Icky. she comes up to clean it up and picks it up with a handful of paper towels and we are kind of looking at it to see what the problem might be. She says, well it looks like grass. I take a closer look and realize...it's a plastic plant leaf! Zeke is the only one who eats any kind of plant life so it had to be him. Apparently the fake ivy plant was just too irresistable and he managed to choke down one of the leaves. Unfortunately for him, he had to choke it back up too. What am I going to do with these kids?

#4 Shopping for Nail Polish at the Galleria
The past two times Ihave gone to my favorite store, Trade Secrets, to get my favorite brand of nail polish (the only brand I will use actually you should really check it out), O.P.I., I have been "assisted" by very annoying, flamboyant males. I should mention that it really isn't the flamboyant part that annoys me. It is the hovering over me as I peruse the wonderful color selection. The first guy showed me one of his favorite new colors~that he was currently wearing on his nails. Disturbed? Yes I was. The second guy wouldn't shut up and just let me pick a color! I practically ran from the store once I made my purchase. If I hadn't needed my Nail Envy (a nail strengthener that is waaaaaaayyyy better than the Sally Hansen Hard as Nails) so terribly bad I wouldn't have purchased anything. I'm hoping that the next time I won't be assaulted in such a way. It really ruins the shopping experience when the sales guy is hovering!!!

Hmmm...here's to hoping that I get more sleep, my cats stop being stupid, and guys stop trying to sell me nail polish.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I'm Learning to Smock!

I was kindly invited to join some ladies every Wednesday afternoon for two hours as they gather together to talk and sew. Yesterday was my first day venturing to the sewing gathering. I had a lot of fun. I should probably mention at this point that my sewing skills are rather rudimentary. Ive never really sewn much without the watchful eye of my mother or my Nana around. I've tried many times to complete counted cross stitch, it always looks so nice, but it never fails that somewhere in the middle I mess it up so terribly that I give up trying to fix it and put it in a drawer not to be seen again. So it was with much trepidation that I arrived at the sewing gathering. Maja, the lady who invited me, is extremely talented in smocking. She gave me a sample piece to practice some basic stitches while the other ladies worked on their projects. I took a picture of my sample piece last night. I can't believe I'm smocking! Now if I can just learn to actually make something...which I'm told is the next step.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My Personal Diet Plan Designed By My Sister

My sister Katie has lost a lot of weight since high school and she has muscles where I didn't know muscles could exist...like that flabby part of your upper arm that flaps every time you wave~hers doesn't flap. The weight loss and muscle building is due to her diligence in eating only healthy foods and running like a machine every day. It makes me tired just thinking about her exercise schedule. I have been wanting to "slim down" since my weight is on a constant yo-yo of heavy, then thin, then heavy, then thin, then heavy... So I asked Katie to send my a plan. She kindly sent me a plan...and I laughed. I love my sister dearly, but she has a lot of willpower. Here is the plan she sent me (I've added my commentary in bold print and I've fixed her grammar and capitalization or lack thereof).

Ok so eating schedule....
(Hmmm...so I can really have snacks each day, wow I've been
trying to limit snacks.)

Try and do 500 calorie meals and 250 calorie snacks and remember that
all calories are not created equal. (I knew there was a catch to
those snacks.)

Give up sugar, sweets, and pop....it'll be rough...and no more pop tarts...
Try replacing cereal with oatmeal (Uh, no sugar? I'm addicted to
sugar! I can't simply do without sugar completely!)

I would suggest a power bar or a slim fast for breakfast....or drink a glass of
milk with a bowl oatmeal. (But I don't like oatmeal.) Long story
short it adds
protein which sustains hunger unlike carbs that give you
a burst of energy and
then leave you feeling hungry in an hour. Replace
2% with skim and white with wheat.
(But skim milk is gross.)

Do low fat dressings but beware a lot of low fat products replace fat with
sugar...yikes. No more fast food...it's just bad. (I don't like to cook all
the time.)
Opt for subway.. pitas etc. Start studying the calorie content
of your
favorite foods and fast food restaurants...then google how long it
would take to
walk/run that off....a slice of Goodfellas (pizza, yummy!)
would take an hour
and forty minutes to run off at 7mph. You better
believe that keeps my drunk
self in check. Avoid drinking your calories.
You should prob consume around 2400 a day.
On a diet keep it at 2000.
1lb of weight loss equals 3000 calories.

(There are so many rules....and who knew it took so long
to burn off calories.)

Walk or do some sort of cardio 4 times a week. Buy some free weights...
5 lbs
to start and then I'll send you some exercise stuff. (I don't like
sweating. End of story.)

The slim fast for breakfast and sometimes lunch works for me very well,
but it's
basically all about a limited calorie intake. Its around 200
calories and it
suppresses hunger cause it's loaded with protein plus
it has all my vitamins so
I dont have to take supplements. Just
make sure you get all your
vitamins...your body will cooperate with
weight loss more nicely if you get 7
hours of sleep a night, are less
stressed and are getting all your vitamins.

(Yeah, and in a perfect world I would be a
size 10~or smaller~naturally.)

Weight loss is about diet as much as exercise ...without both you will
like a d-...hahaha. (Thanks for the failing grade before I've
even begun. I know an F is actually failing, but a D- after
college just isn't acceptable.)

I know it's rough...I spend an hour every day in Ping (the fitness
center on campus)
and sometimes I'm grumpy or I think my
spandex pants
(You wear spandex? No one should wear
spandex, bean pole or not.)
might split down the back or I
wonder if
that skinny, blonde chick is just running next to me
to feel better about herself...
keep running...so to speak. (I
I have blogged about my treadmill difficulties
...if not I'll fix that.)
It's hard and you may get
discouraged..keep going...
email me.

Tell me what foods you like i.e. pizza ...french fries...broccoli...idk
and I will
send you substitutes...alternatives...etc


That is the end of my dear Katie's e-mail. I like ice cream, chocolate,
hot fudge,
whip cream, and sprinkles. I don't think she'll approve of
that or that she will
consider it part of my diet and exercise plan. I
admire her tenacity, but I think
I'll take her advice in doses and see
what I can do with it now that I am living in
the land of all foods are
better fried, aka "the south."