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."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Things I Have Learned From Living With the In-Laws

We have been living with the in-laws for about three months now. I have learned several things in that 3 month span about my cats, animals/insects native to AL, and household amenities.

#1 I never, ever, ever, ever, ever want a shower with doors. I'll take the curtain that flaps in the wind any day. I have taken to cleaning the bathroom (and other places) around the house since I get bored easily and my closet OCDness creeps out and I simply "must clean now." It is a nightmare to try and clean shower doors. The glass is always scummy looking, the tracks they roll on are always mildew looking, and you have to work around the doors as you clean the rest of the tub. If you stand in the shower to clean, then you are trapped with the stinky smelling cleaner and a small air supply. Talk about being woozy and coughing! It's also fun to get in and out of the shower without hitting your head on the top of the door track. I don't have as much trouble as Dave and my father-in-law do since they are taller...but I have managed to whack my head on the track at least once.

#2 I never, ever, ever, ever, ever want all hardwood floors. I grew up in a carpeted house. As a result I absloutely hate walking on hardwood or tiled floors with my bare or sock covered feet and picking up all kinds of loose dirt, fur, whatever on the bottoms of my feet. Another thing I didn't realize is how hard they are to clean. I sent two hours sweeping, vacumming, and mopping the hardwood floors in the downstairs. I was completely exhausted by the time I was done. I took a shower and fell asleep on the couch. And guess what? The next day there was all the loose dirt or whatever right back on the floors. I tried.

#3 We're going to need a house with one of the following: a screened in porch, sliding glass doors, or floor to ceiling windows. The cats are LOVING life at the in-laws house. They have a ton of room to run around and chase each other. The cats spend hours staring out the windows trying to "catch" the bugs and birds on the outside. Which is why we need either the sliding glass door with lots of room for them to watch or the floor to ceiling windows. I'm not so sure about the big windows though b/c window treatments for them are outrageously expensive. And Zeke is loving hanging out on the screened in porch. Now that it is cooler we have been leaving the doors open and Zeke can wander out on the back porch whenever he wants. He can be outside without being outside (if that makes any sense.)

#4 No navy blue carpet, ever. I first learned this in college with our big area rug that was blue. It shows everything! No dirt can escape unseen on navy blue carpet. The carpeted stairs are my current nemesis. I can't keep them fur/lint free for very long. Almost as soon as I finish goin step by step with my vacumm cleaner (and cleaning the attachment brush after every step) they are covered in fur again! So, I want carpet...just not navy blue carpet.

#5 There are scorpions in Alabama! I happened to see Zeke and Zeus staring at this bug on the floor and kind of batting it around. I thought, hmmmm this bug looks strangely familiar and I don't think they should be playing with it, but I can't remember why. I called Dave over and he says "uh, babe, that's a scorpion." "Oh my gosh, kill it! Kill it!" was my reply as I scrambled to get the cats away from it. The cats were fine, no stings and no bites. Dave then tells me that the scorpions around here are small and if you were stung it would probably only swell a little like a bee sting and it wouldn't be bad. .oO(Uh, I think I'll go to the ER or DR if I get stung...I'm not taking my chances...but plan A is to simply not get stung.) A day or so later I found Zeus playing with another scorpion and I managed to work up the courage to step on it so that he would stop playing with it. ICK!

~When I asked Dave if there was anything we could do to keep the scorpions from coming inside the house he pretended to think for a minute and replied "yeah, you can sprinkle pixie dust around the house and then they won't come in." Gee, thanks."~

I think that is the end of my list so far. I'm sure I've learned other things, but I can't quite remember what they might be at the moment. So I'm off to travel through another day of Alabama Living, it's never boring for this northern transplant.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Don't Have to Be in Control

For about a month now I have been attending a Wednesday night Bible study, called "Twisted Sisters, at the fabulous church Mr. & Mrs. Bivins attend (the in-laws). I have had many amazing a-ha moments each Wednesday night. I sometimes get a headache with all the "Presbyterian lingo" that I am not accustomed to hearing as a member of Trinity Friends Church and then no church for a very, very, very long time. However, I always find something that makes me really think about exactly what I think, believe, and know about God. My mind and heart are sponges and I am soaking up the discussions!

We began our Bible study talking about "what is the Gospel" and "who is God" along with discussions about God's grace, which I hadn't really spent much time thinking about before. Tonight's lesson was the one that has made the most impact on me so far. It was entitled "what is wrong with us?" and reflected on the three words for sin in the Bible...which I hadn't heard before (or don't remember hearing) - Avah~twisted out of shape, Chatha~missing the mark, and Pasha~willfully rebel. We discussed what these kinds of sin look like in our lives, well others discussed and I soaked it up like a sponge. There were discussions about doing good works, but for the wrong reasons and how God isn't glorified if we're doing it for selfish reasons, a twisting out of shape. There were discussions about mothers and children and how mothers want to do well by their children, but some days it just isn't happening~a missing of the mark. There were also discussions about how we knowingly do things we know we shouldn't OR thinking we need to be in control instead of God~ willfully rebelling.

I am so guilty of willful rebellion lately. (I'm sure I'm guilty of each of the other types of sin too, but this one struck me the most.) I have been really questioning if we made the right decision to come to Alabama. It has been the toughest transition for us so far. I moved to DC and things happened as soon as I wanted them. I made the decision to not go to work right away there and instead spend time getting used to being a wife. As soon as I wanted a job *poof* I filled out the application and the job was in hand. We (Dave) received orders to Camp Lejeune. I filled out an online teaching application and *poof* before we even moved I had a job. The job was literally waiting on me to get there! We decided to move to Alabama and I began filling out teaching applications. Nothing. No word. One interview, but no job offer since I didn't have an Alabama teaching license yet. Alabama teaching licensure hoops to jump through. So I fill out retail applications. Waiting, more waiting. Finally a part-time job at Bath & Bodyworks again. Small twinkle of hope, but still not enough $ to support the two of us, plus the furbabies. All of these hurdles have been delaying our independence from the in-laws. We really want independence, we long for it (or at least I long for it...I can't really speak for Dave I guess.) Things aren't going the way I wanted them to go, I'm not in control...that's hard for me. I'm the one who always has things under control and I can't do this. Tonight I was reminded I'm not supposed to be the one in control, God is. If I let Him be in control, He will take care of me...he is taking care of me, just not the way I selfishly want him to do it.

Part of the realization that he is taking care of me and that we are where he wants us to be right now came when my smart cousin kindly reminded me to think of the blessings I do have right now. She reminded me of the Israelites wandering in the desert, they questioned but continued on their journey. I was reminded of that again tonight during Bible study. The analogy was presented of trust, trust in God that he will provide. He provided manna for the Israelites in the desert and they could only collect enough for the day b/c if kept overnight it would spoil and turn wormy...they had to trust that God would provide manna for them again the next day. So tonight I'm trusting that God will work it out and that I just need to let Him have control...

Side note: I LOVE the Community Presbyterian Church here. I have loved it from the moment I stepped foot into it over 3 years ago as the northern fiance of their Marine Dave. From that first visit God was at work on me (he was at work on me long before that...I guess I should say I was finally willing to listen). I had an a-ha moment that day as I realized that maybe what I had been taught about God and church wasn't the whole story. Each visit since then has reaffirmed that there is something special going on there. The people of that church really are a church family, for the good, the bad, and the ugly~they openly call themselves sinners (we all are) and don't make any excuses for it...they just get on their knees and repent. When Katie attended that church with us our first Sunday living in Alabama I think she felt it too. The following week she was driving home to Ohio and asked God for a sign about the direction of her life. He gave her a sign all right, a big one in the form of a broken down car and a rescue by a very humble, God worshiping couple.

Also, I love the people that go to this church. They have welcomed me with open arms and open hearts. I love them for it. The ladies threw us a gift card bridal/wedding shower since I couldn't be present for an actual shower. Each visit they are there to offer friendship, support, guidance, and love. I am so blessed to be attending this church, even if it is only on Wednesday nights right now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dance Related Memories

Some of you may know this and others may be surprised to hear that I used to take dance lessons as a child. I was reminded of some silly happenings and fun memories when I read my cousin's tale of venturing out to find tap shoes, ballet slippers, a leotard, and pink tights for her daughter. Finding dance apparel isn't always easy as you can tell from her post. Here are some things I remember or learned while taking dance classes once upon a time, in a land far from Alabama.

#1 Never show Nana your tap routine by tapping on her kitchen floor.

The story may not be what you expect. I took dance classes at Susan Powell Dance Studio in Minerva, OH and as far as I am aware they are still teaching youngsters how to dance. One day after my lessons (I was maybe 4-5yrs old at the time) we went to my Nana's house. I was eager to "show off" what I had learned and Nana was always eager to see what her grandchildren were up to. I put on my tap shoes and began tapping away on the kitchen floor. Nana didn't care that I was tapping on her floor. I didn't care either. Not until I slipped b/c my tap shoe was too slick on the kitchen floor and I fell, but on the way down I hit the back of my head on the kitchen chair. I knocked myself out! I scared my Nana half to death because I apparently stopped breathing too. My Nana and my Mom rushed me to the hospital to have me checked out. Turns out I may have had a slight concussion, but they released me and I didn't have any lasting long term damage that we know about.

#2 Keep dancing no matter what happens!

This event occurred a few years into my dance career and I had changed to a studio in Salem, OH where I also took baton lessons and we performed in parades. It was time for our annual recital and we always had a dress rehearsal the day before so that everyone knew what to expect and they could make sure our costumes looked ok. (They always had parts that needed sewn together...even though the costumes were outrageously priced for a snazzy leotard and some sequins.) It was my group's turn on stage to practice. We went out on stage and started tapping. I "shuffle stepped" so hard that my tap shoe flew off! I kept right on tapping until out routine was over...even though I was missing a shoe. My dance teacher was impressed, but it was something I had learned during my time at Susan Powell. "No matter what happens keep dancing!" OK.

#3 Big bows, ruffles, and sequins are a must! Tutus optional. (No panties either :O )

Also part of the costume or performance were the HUGE bows that were a color chosen to match the costume that we wore as the "laces" to our tap shoes. I think a mom or someone went and bought enough ribbon for all the girls and they handed them out right before the dress rehearsal. Then it was Mom's job to tie them in a big bow. (Probably another reason my shoe flew off...it was only being held on by a big bow.) The ones in the picture aren't too bad...but there are some pictures where the bows are bigger than my feet at the time. Ruffles and sequins belonged on every costume. And then the worst part about dancing...for the recital you were absolutely forbidden from wearing anything under your leotard because then you would have panty lines. Ick. If you you exceptionally unlucky you had to wear tights with your costume as well.

#4 Recital costumes range from insanely cute to outrageously ridiculous.

I have had several different costumes throughout the dancing adventure. My favorite costume was a yellow bikini with black polka dots and fushcia sequins. If we ever move our stuff out of storage I will have to see if I have a picture of this costume. It is one costume that made it to my toy pile (read toy mountain) and every time I would unbury either half of it I would have to put it on. Did I mention the bottom half had a HUGE butt ruffle too? Another costume was the purple one you see in the picture with this post. I think we had this costume the year after we had the yellow polka dot bikinis. Then the costume I had during the shoe flying incident was a bunny costume. We had white sleeveless leotards that had some sort of decoration on the front in pink. We had white "sleeves" that went from wrist to upper arm. There was a nice ruffly white tutu complete with sequins on the end of the ruffles. To top off the costume we had nice playboy bunnyesque ears attached to a head band. I'm sure whoever chose the costume found it to be adorable, but looking back at the pictures in recent years we looked a little floozy. I have pics of that costume floating around somewhere in storage as well.

Hmmm...I think those are the highlights of my time in dance lessons. If I remember correctly the bunny costume occurred the last year that I faithfully attended dance lessons. My interest fizzled after that.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Very Own College Student

I have my very own college student, my husband. I have been talking about how much he needs to go to college for at least three years now. The time finally arrived now that he is out of the USMC to be a college student. Going to college is his only "full time job" as far as I am concerned. He is working at Domino's on Friday and Saturday nights right now and we're hoping a job for me turns up so that college can continue to be his job. My job has been to support him and make sure he gets his assignments done with assistance as needed.

I have been earning my title of supporter the whole way. The first time I had to be supportive was when he had a paper to write for his art appreciation class. He had to research a mask and write a one page paper about it. He started completing the work by himself at the pool house. About a half hour into his research he calls me on my cell phone to ask a question. I end up going up to the pool house to look at what he had found in order to answer the question. Once I'm there he ends up asking me to stay up there while he completes his research. I end up falling asleep on the loveseat that is in the pool house while he did his research and wrote the paper. Then came my job of typing his paper-which he is going to have to learn to do soon! All of that for the completion of one assignment.

His latest task was to complete a poster board to go along with his paper about the mask. I again traveled up to the pool house with him to provide moral support. I took along a bag of misc papers, bills, receipts, etc. that needed sorting. I sorted and filed while he printed off the pictures he wanted to put on his board. Then he began cutting out his pictures. He was doing fine until he came to a picture with rounded edges. He began cutting, reached the rounded edge, hesitated, and then passed me the picture along with the scissors. I cut that picture out and handed the scissors back to him so he could finish cutting the others out. Next it was time to attach the pictures to his piece of foam board. I didn't have a glue stick for him to use, but I did have glue dots from my scrapbooking stuff that he could use. I showed him how to use them on the first corner of the picture and then set them down and walked off. He says "but I still have more corners." I said "I am not doing it for you, I gave you direction and now you need to finish it." So he finished the other three corners and said "it looks like a 5 yr old did it." Yes dear it does, keep working. It took about three hours, but the board is finally complete. He kept asking questions about what he should do or how he should do it...I think it was an attempt to get me to do it, but it didn't work. He did the whole thing by himself...with me in the room for moral support. (One wise Marine mom I relayed the story to told me "he's used to working with a unit, not by himself. You're his new unit!") I think it is going to be a very long college career (and I have no idea how I'll manage to work too) if I have to sit around while he does everything.

Three Years Ago

Dave and I recently celebrated three years of being married! I can't believe how the time has passed. Three years ago today we had just arrived back at the in-laws after going to the beach for our honeymoon. We were packing our bags in preparation to fly back to Dulles where Dave would head out to the barracks and I would catch my connecting flight back to Ohio. It was an interesting first four months to be married, but living 6 hrs apart. It certainly prepared us for the separations we would endure in the future, but I'm certainly glad those days are over. Here is a picture of us on that special day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

So many things to blog about...

I haven't blogged in over a month! It isn't because I haven't had the time or I haven't had things to blog about, I just seemed to be stuck in writer's block mode any time I sat down at the computer. There are so many things to blog about I even started making lists...but now I can't find them so I'll do my best to go from memory.

Sarah Palin~I must admit I've felt rather "blah" about the Presidential election so far this year. I voted in the primaries for Obama, mostly because I didn't want Hilary to be on the ticket. I am VERY glad she isn't. All of that changed tonight when my mother-in-law asked, "are you going to watch Sarah's speech?" Well, I honestly hadn't planned on it or even knew she was going to speak...I'm that out of the political loop :) (Scary that I get to vote, huh?) I watched with a critical eye and was very impressed. I don't agree with her stance on all issues, but one rarely agrees with everything a politician says. I love the fact that she isnt afraid to say things or give her own rebuttle to the media. I love that she has made some great accomplishments in her state government. I love that she "talks funny" (accents are a big thing for me since my northern and southern are all intermixed at this point and I feel like a mess). I love that she looked so put together and polished (I desire to look that put together and feel I rarely accomplish it.) One thing I spent half her speech wondering about was "how did she get into that darn jacket?" I had missed her entrance and the way the camera was angled the front looked like a solid piece and I couldn't find any hidden zipper...I knew it wasn't magic. Finally, at the end I saw that there was a flap at the front with buttons or hooks on the inside of it. (I'm silly I know.) At any rate, I like Sarah Palin and I like that her kids are already showing their quirks and flaws. Nobody is perfect and children aren't perfect either. My favorite "action shot" can be seen here of Sarah's youngest daughter holding her baby brother. My first reaction was "oh no she didn't" and then immediate laughter.

Job~So, it is looking like I may be a very part-time employee of Bath and Bodyworks once again. Currently, part-time employees are only getting sometimes 3 hours a week...but they need help with floorsets and then the holiday season will be here before we know it. I truly enjoyed my time as a BBW employee and look forward to possibly rejoining the company. It isn't ideal simply because the hours are so few, but I'm willing to try it and see where it takes me. I need some time out of the house and feeling productive. I'm still searching for something else that will provide enough stable income that we can leave the in-laws house...but it seems to be slow happenings here in Alabama. (They always said things moved slower in the south, they weren't kidding.)

USMC Life~Is missed at times, which I find crazy since I was counting down the days until it was over. Mostly, I miss all of the guys who used to gather at out house on the weekends and during holidays to eat, drink, and be merry. We all had so much fun together. I was really surprised when Dave didn't re-enlist. I thought for sure that June 1st would roll around and he would decide to stay with the Corps. I still kind of wonder whether we might end up back in the Corps at some point. And even if possibly the reason things haven't worked out quite the way we wanted them to is because we are supposed to go back to the USMC. (I've been praying for a sign of what we are supposed to be doing and some guidance...and I'm just not seeing it, but I'm afraid to ask for a big one because when Katie asked for one her car broke down on the highway.) I love and enjoy the fact that Dave is here with me now and that we get so much time together, which I know would be gone the minute the USMC had him back...but still I wonder...are we where God wants us?

Books~I have done nothing but read, read, read everything I can get my hands on. A lot of it has been military related. It started two years ago when I read The Gift of Valor: A War Story about Cpl Dunham and his journey from being wounded in Iraq to his parent's decision to turn off his life support. I remember sitting in the food court at Pentagon City Mall wiping the tears from my eyes as I read the last pages of this book. That summer I also read Marines in the Garden of Eden about the initial invasion into Iraq. Much of this book was technical terminology that I didn't always understand at the time. However, it gave me great insight into what Marines and other service members experienced almost from their perspective rather than the media's. I also read Blackhawk Down that summer. I enjoyed all of these books, but when Dave received orders to Camp Lejeune we knew deployment was inevitable and I stopped reading military literature mostly as a desperate attempt to keep me sane. This summer I was finally able to embrace military literature, mostly about Marines of course, once again. I read Generation Kill by Evan Wright who was an embedded journalist. His articles turned into the book, which is now an HBO miniseries. I loved his candid retelling of events and descriptions of what things were like. I don't know if it just because I know and love Marines or if he really tells the story that well...but I found myself laughing out loud at some parts, wincing during others, and nearly crying at some points for the things the Marines saw, endured, and the memories they now live with. I felt like it gave some insight into the mind of the warrior Marine and what it really means for a Marine to "do his job" and how they feel when the realities of their job go against things they have been taught their whole lives. One thing that still sticks out after reading this book, that I hope by now has been corrected, but when they first invaded Iraq the plans were kind of on the fly. They had West Coast (Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton) and East Coast (Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune) that were units set to invade Iraq together, but their communications equipment was encrypted so that those Marines could communicate within their own "coasts," but not with each other. It made for some tricky situations that sometimes led to a little friendly fire. At any rate, if you read any one of these books my vote is for Generation Kill simply because it tells the human side of war, not just the basic logistics. Be prepared though and keep in mind this is a book about war and Marines...meaning gruff, tough, guys. I am delighted to have received my latest book in the mail thanks to Amazon.com entitled Keeping Faith: A Father-Son Story About Love and the USMC written by Frank and John Schaeffer. My mother read it and it comes with high recommendations.

Ok, I think that is enough for one post. Hopefully I'll write more soon.