Monday, September 3, 2012

A Trip to the Beach

I thought I would ring in 2013 without visiting the beach with my sweetie.  The new job has made my schedule very busy.  Busy is good, but it leaves very little time for my thoughts to form into coherent sentences for blogging-let alone vacation time.  However, the new job is actually the thing that brought me to the beach this year.  We have a store in Sarasota, they needed a little help in between store off to Sarasota I went. 

I've never been to Sarasota before.  It is a sweet little city.  Very easy to navigate, very easy.  However, there seem to be a lot of Yankees in this town.  I mean true Yankees-New York, Massachusetts type Yankees.  I'd be classified as a mid-westerner here...  I realized I've been in the South for a long time now.

I've had time to buy a new dress, buy new shoes, and relax a little.  (All at bargain prices of course!)  Peace and quiet.  Time all alone, until Saturday that is.  I arrived very late Tuesday night, went to the store on Thursday to work, grabbed dinner and came back to the hotel to enjoy the quiet.  Friday, same thing.  Saturday off to work, to the airport to get the husband, and then time to enjoy being on a sort of vacation with my sweetie.  I may work so much that it makes me so tired I could cry, but it is pretty cool that my boss flew my husband to FL so we could spend the holiday weekend together.  We went to St. Armand's to walk the circle and enjoy some of the cool little tourist boutiques.  Then we grabbed some dinner.  Sunday I didn't have to go to the store at all. We slept in.  It was soooo wonderful.  We ate a late breakfast/lunch.  We grabbed some snacks at the store....until FINALLY it was beach time.  Awesome!  It was a holiday weekend, so we paid $10 to park in a lot instead of parking for free in the public parking lot and the beach was full.  I freakin' love the beach.  I don't care how busy it is.  We stayed for about two hours before we decided it was time to go shower and grab dinner.  We dined at a cool little place called Walt's Seafood Market.  The waiter gave me an awesome recommendation, since seafood isn't this Ohioan's favorite food group.  I ate red snapper, blackened (read cajun spicy) and it was delicious!  Totally worth the money.  If you end up in Sarasota, make sure you eat there.  If you're there on a Sunday, sit outside at the Tikki bar and perhaps Jeremy will be your waiter.

Today, it was back to work at the store.  After work the husband and I headed to the outlet mall not far from the store.  I found super cute comfy shoes at a fabulous sale price. (Can you say Kenneth Cole Reaction for $30?)  I'm talking 8 hour retail shift shoes here.  Unheard of, I know.  After leaving the outlets we decided to head to the beach for one last walk.  It was pretty dark since the moon was hiding behind the clouds this evening.  We had a flashlight thanks to my always prepared Eagle scout Marine.  (No joke, he was an Eagle scout too.)  I could live at the beach...except for hurricane season I guess.  I don't have a great track record with the beach and hurricanes. 

Later this week the husband and I will celebrate 7 years of marriage.  It seems like yesterday we were starting our journey together.  I hope it always feels like it was yesterday.  (Yes, there are some days I get frustrated with him.  Like yesteray when he was throwing popcorn on the sand to attract the seagulls and people around us were staring.  I was giving him the death look.  He was laughing like a little boy, because that is what Marines do.  They do silly things that little boys do and their wives roll their eyes.)  That same Marine is sound asleep on the bed next to me lightly snoring now.  He looks so harmelss when he sleeps...until you accidentally scare him awake.  Whoops.  (I didn't really scare him awake just now, but I know you better be wary if you do.)  So in case I don't blog later in the week-I have a feeling when I get back home I won't have time anyhow, I Love my Marine and wouldn't change a minute of our story together.  I look forward to the next year together and hopefully many more after that. 

Seven years later this northern teacher (turned retail goddess) is still in Love with her sweet, southern Marine :)  Love always has a capital letter after falling in Love with you Bivins.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Feeling Patriotic

My little guilty pleasure, once very two weeks, is to go and get a manicure  and pedicure.  Sometimes I let myself feel guilty over spending the money, but I typically justify it by the fact that I work hard.  It is one of the few things I do just for me.  If I wasn't paying someone to do it for me, it would be one more thing on my list of things to do. 

Yesterday was mani/pedi day.  I had the wonderful pleasure of sharing the nail salon with a very sweet lady, probably in her 70's, who gave me a glimpse into my future...  She was there to get her nails done.  She told the nail tech that she wanted something red, white, and blue.  With summertime coming she said it was time for something that looked patriotic.  *Sound like anyone you know?*  She ended up choosing red polish, and then on her ring fingers she had them do a blue and white swirl design.  She kept asking if they were going to add lots of sparkles (rhinestones) to her nails, because she "just loves sparkles."  The nail tech added about 8 sparkles to each of her decorated ring fingers.  They were beautifully gaudy and patriotic.  I adored them.  When I am 70 I vow to have patriotic sparkly nails too.  Hopefully by then I just won't care who sees my gaudy patriotic nails.  Right now I'm still to self conscious to sport them.  (It doesn't help that they are against the dress code at work.) 

In other news, Memorial Day just occurred.  It always makes me reminiscent of the days I could gather all my boys together for a day or night to feed them dinner and find mischief.  It also makes my heart ache because it is a day to remember the families left behind from those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.  I'm oddly lucky, all of my boys came home...but I know several of their brothers in arms did not.  I know they each have a different reason that Memorial Day is special to them.  I do my small part in bringing out my patriotism via red, white and blue.  My husband summed up my Memorial Day (and every day) job best in his toast...  He said my job is to love my veteran for all of the wives who can't love theirs.  He's right.  It is one of the things that active duty life teaches you, every moment spent together is special.  It doesn't matter if you're doing laundry, or heaven forbid you have to grocery shop together; each moment together is special because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  I think that mindset is a great philosophy for life.  So many times happiness is about choosing to make the best of it, not letting things get you down, in order to be happy.  Time with loved ones is always a commodity in this world.  I encourage you to do your part, be purposeful in planning to spend time with those you love. 

Memorial Day also makes me homesick for life in D.C.  I'll be forever thankful that I had some time to live in the heart of our country.  The air itself is different there. (Smoggy is what it is, but it makes me feel invigorated-could be a lack of oxygen or something.)  D.C. does Memorial Day and 4th of July up in style.  If I could wear red, white, and blue everyday I would.  I'm that girl.  I think my blood is American flag patterned with a touch of glitter.  I like to remember the pomp and circumstance of the ceremonies and monuments.  The National Mall is a peaceful place full of energy, especially on a warm sunny day.  I wish I had taken more time to grab a blanket, grab a good book, and head to the National Mall to spend the afternoon reading and people watching.  Hindsight is 20/20.  I would have done a lot more, had I been more independent then.  Several metro rides in a month I'd pass by the Arlington Cemetery metro stop.  It always brought about a somber mood in me.  The air itself felt like it was grieving.  I'm incredibly proud of my husband and his service to our country.  His role was an important one.  I wouldn't trade our time in D.C. for all the gold in the world.  What good is gold if you lose some of the best memories of your life?

Today's Message: Enjoy your life.  Spend time with loved ones.  Be mindful of all that others have sacrificed so that you may do those two things.

Today's Secondary Message: Sparkly red, white and blue nails should be fashionable at any age, but if you're in your 70's they ROCK!

Monday, January 2, 2012


We (Dave really) received a present for Christmas that neither of us ordered.  We knew this present would arrive before too long as time passes regardless of whether we recognize it or not.  Time passes a little quicker than we thought and the day arrived.  He received his Honorable Discharge certificate from the USMC.  Many of you saw this picture posted on my facebook, but here it is once again in case you'd like a closer look.

When we arrived at my in laws house after Christmas Eve service my mother in law let me know that there were two pieces of mail for Dave.  I looked at them, momentarily puzzled, and then I knew.  I knew it was the official end to his time with the USMC.  I smiled, but it was a bittersweet moment.  I waited until after we ate dinner before showing it to Dave.  He opened it with a grin, but I know we both felt the tug of sadness too.  It signifies the end of some of the greatest years of our life.  We both have memories, stories, and friendships that will last us a lifetime.  Thankfully, we're part of the USMC family forever now.  I'm terribly proud of his service.  I'm thankful I was blessed with so many great friends during his service, but especially during his deployment.  The BLT 3/8 wives I met were amongst the best and I will forever cherish them.  I don't think I realized how special they were at the time, I just knew I loved them.  Life beyond the Marine Corps is good too, but I miss being an active part of the USMC family.  Now we get to figure out how to support our fellow family members beyond the realm of active and inactive duty. 

Some of my favorite USMC memories:
1. Bootcamp Graduation.  I had no idea at the time I would be married to a Marine just a year later.  I marvel at the fact I was able to see my future husband graduate boot camp even though I didn't know his name at the time.  I met him after graduation when he was headed back to his family, and just barely remember the meeting.  Two months later I would be spending hours on the phone with him.

2. Iwo Sunset Parade & Friday Night Parades.  I only saw the sunset parade once, but my darling husband (fiance then) was part of the firing party.  A Marine doing what he loves to do is a fine thing to see.  The Friday Night Parades were so much fun as well.  You simply must see one.  Seriously.  

3.Marine Barracks Washington.  Thanks to this wonderful duty station.  I had so much fun living in DC for 9 months.  Days spent walking along the National Mall with my husband.  Public transportation so I didn't have to drive, thank you DC metro & Fairfax Connector buses.  Close proximity to pretty much anything.  Safeway grocery stores, you are a goddess among grocers.  Pentagon City Bath & Bodyworks ladies circa 2006, you made me feel welcome and gave me girlfriends when I was constantly surrounded by boys.

4.Camp Lejeune, NC aka Marine Corps Land.  You gave me close proximity to the beach.  Introduced me to Duplin County Wine, the wine of the gods.  You showed me just how awesome the USMC family really is-from the Battalion Commander's wife on down the ranks I was welcomed with open arms.  You introduced me to the hardships of deployment, while sparing me the worry of combat deployments.  I had one year of teaching that was hellish and one year of teaching that was truly a blessing through some very long days.  Did I mention close proximity to the beach?

5. Life beyond active duty USMC.  It has shown me the pure joy of encountering a fellow member of the USMC family.  It has shown me my deepest desire is to do all I can to support those still in the active duty realm, as well as those beyond it.  I just have to figure out exactly what that looks like...
Thank you so much for the memories USMC!  You'll always hold a special place in my heart.

A Beautiful Day at the Range

We have been experiencing some wonderfully mild winter weather here in Alabama so far.  I'm not bragging, I'm just saying it has been nice-even if it seems odd to have a Christmas tree up in 60 degree weather.  Saturday was a gorgeous day, making it perfect range weather.  I'm very blessed in the fact that I am included in the "boys club" at my house.  What probably began from necessity has grown into something I enjoy a lot.  My husband and his friends have always accepted my presence during their boy time.  It began in DC when I was far from my friends and family in Ohio and by the time we reached NC I wouldn't trade hanging out with the boys for anything.  They make me laugh so hard my cheeks hurt, they make my heart swell with pride, and they torment me relentlessly at times-but always show me respect as well.  I feel honored to be part of their group.  I accept the privilege and recognize it as such.

Saturday I was able to enjoy an afternoon at the range with two of my favorite Marines.  (Ok, so I really don't think I've spent time with a Marine I wouldn't consider a favorite of mine.)  My darling husband and Jordan let me use of some of their range time.  I was looking forward to range day all week.  Seriously.   It might have something to do with the fact that for Christmas my husband gave me something he knew I would love, a CZ, and a pink pistol bag to cart it to and from the range.  Be still my heart, that man knows how to spoil a girl.  (Who is this girl, right?)  His friend Matt, who was missed at range day, gave me the second best present-M frame Oakley glasses!  I think we should have recorded my reaction to opening those on Christmas Day.  I was extremely excited.  Why? Because when you have to wear ear protection for hours at the range along with ballistic eye protection you can get a headache when the ear pieces of the glasses are thick and smashed against your head.  I borrowed Dave's M frames the last time we went to the range and they made my range experience so much better.  Then to top off the range day anticipation my husband gave me a .22 rifle for my birthday.  Wooooohoooo!!  Like most things in my life I learned the art of shooting backwards from the typical shooter.  Most shooters learn to shoot .22 rifles or pistols first and then move on to shooter higher calibers.  I learned how to shoot 9mm first and just recently learned how to shoot a .22 rifle.  I enjoyed it so much that Dave decided he would continue the spoiling streak and buy me one for my birthday.  Here is a pic of me and my newest love...

Out of a box of 525 rounds I shot probably 250 of them.  It was a nice workout for my weak muscled arms.  The only reason I put the rifle down was because we ran out of ammo about the time my arms were feeling wobbly.  Doesn't this look like fun?

I also had a conversation shortly after Christmas with Dave as we were wandering the aisles of the Piggly Wiggly one evening.  (I live in Alabama, ok?  I've grown to enjoy shooting and I shop at the Piggly Wiggly when necessary.)  He asked me if I had named my CZ yet, because it wasn't mine until I named it.  I love the CZ and quickly said "Pearl."  He just laughed and said, "really?"  I said "sure, why not?  I mean I could think up something else..."  He said "No, you should go with the first thing that comes to mind.  I just think of an old southern lady with a big hat on and an umbrella, the kind used to shade you from the sun not for rain.  The kind of old southern lady that will beat you with her umbrella."  I said "perfect."  (Doesn't she sound intimidating?)  He then asked if I had named my conceal & carry weapon.  I said "how about Minnie?"  Dave said "why didn't you just leave the tags on them, Minnie Pearl?"  I just giglged.  I like Minnie and Pearl.  Minnie is pink by the way so I think it suites her.  Fast forward a few days to receiving the .22 rifle for my early birthday present.  Dave asks me what I'm going to name the .22.  Mom says I should name it Buck Owens and stay with the Hee Haw theme.  I decided to name it Roger.  It sounds great.  So I am the proud owner of Minne, Pearl, and Roger.  Together, we had a wonderful day at the range.

I can hardly wait to get back to the range and shoot some more.  Unfortunately, we're experiencing some colder temps this know 30's and 40's, which is a little more seasonably appropriate.  Not terribly cold, but it doesn't make for as much fun on the range.  So instead I'll find other things to do.  Not sure exactly what...maybe take down the tree, organize my room/closet, or maybe just waste the day reading a good book.