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.