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That’s what I’ve been doing for so very long.

One year ago today, I attended the memorial service for, and said goodbye to, my dearest childhood friend, JT.  It was two measly posts ago that I wrote about it.  I’ve been back to my blog one time since I wrote about my greatest heartbreak and I couldn’t bring myself to write about anything.  Not that anything before that point was prize winning, but I have been going down a very long road with the grief.

In one week, I’m participating in my fifth half marathon.  I’m not ready.  I hit a nasty block with the Air Force Half Marathon.   Had I not joined Fisher House Foundation‘s charity team, Team Fisher House, and raised money, I likely would have bailed. but I didn’t want to let those who supported me down.  I ended up traveling alone and running alone.  It rained and I was 20 minutes past gun time starting because traffic was a nightmare trying to get on base even though I gave myself over 3 hours to get there.  I developed a blister about mile 1.5, lost my interval timer and stupidly backtracked trying to find it, which I never did.  However, I was a finisher.  That was five weeks ago and I’ve put my running shoes on once.  Today.

Today, Fab wanted to go for a run with me.  I purposely didn’t time it and I refused to look at the clock because I didn’t want to know how long it took us.  It was the slowest two miles I’ve had in a long time, but I swear it went by the quickest.  She reminded me to be aware of what was around us, asked if my phone was fully charged, and we were off.  We talked, laughed, and had a great time.  She told me she was sorry for being slow.  I told her it didn’t matter and I meant it.  We finished our two miles and we did it with a smile and a high five.  She has asked for a fuel belt for Christmas.  Her biggest concern is what to put in the zippered pouch since she doesn’t have car keys or a phone.  But she wants one because I have one and she wants to run with me.

Next week I’m meeting up with one of my besties.  It will be her first half marathon.  I’m so proud of her and the strides she’s made with running.  She’s an inspiration to me and I’m looking forward to supporting her and cheering her on.  Next week I’ll lace up my running shoes and don my calf compression sleeves and running jersey to raise awareness for a cause I believe in.  Next week I’m dedicating my run to JT.  Just like everything else I tackled in my life, he supported me with a whole heart and unwavering love.  I will do my best, albeit slow, and count my blessings with every step I take.

Be well.

A little over a week ago, I got a message that my longest childhood friend had a seizure and went into cardiac arrest. Last Saturday morning I got the news that he was not going to recover and he passed away.  I was devastated.  I still am. I am struggling so hard with the grief.

Over the years we’d find each other and stay in touch then we’d drift apart.  It only took a quick catch up for us to pick up where we left off and keep right on rolling with life.  The last text I got from him read, “thinking about you.” He didn’t have children, but I shared our adoption story about Olivia and he was excited about exploring that option to build their family.  That will never happen.   I haven’t seen him since we were in our early 20s and he showed me all over Texas.  We found a bar just across the border that took travelers checks and we drank Corona out of faded bottles and terra cotta glasses.  That was definitely one of the best trips of my life and the memories are as vivid as if it happened yesterday.  I’ve never met his wife, but she has been kind enough to keep me up to date with what was going on and she was gracious enough to accept our special friendship.  I’ll meet her for the first time when I travel to Houston for the celebration of his life instead of the plans he and I started making for next year.

He touched my heart and my soul so deeply.  He was heavy metal and I’m more of a country and 80s girly-girl.  He was a drummer at heart and I can’t keep a beat.  I believe we were soul mates (of the best friend type; not the marrying type) and, no matter what direction our lives carried us, we always found our way back to each other when we needed it.

This week was one of “those” weeks that I would normally lay my trials and struggles on his shoulders and he would encourage me and talk me through them until I was calm again.  So many times I picked up my phone to call him, but I couldn’t.  I long to hear, “Hey, girl… It’s JT” one more time. I only hope he knew just how important he was to me and that I cared for him so deeply.

It’s not fair that he lost his life at the young age of 38.  It’s not fair his wife of a few years is a widow.  It’s not fair his mother lost her son just a few short weeks after losing her mother.  I know God has a plan for his short time on this Earth, but I’m struggling with it.  He had so much love and kindness to offer and was never less than kind, loving and caring to me.  It’s just not fair.

I haven’t had to shoulder this alone.  My friends have rallied around me with kind words and support this past week and I’m so grateful.  One of them told me, “big grieving is an indication of big love.”  It was a huge love and a huge loss.

This picture is from the bar in Mexic0… JT and I are in the middle.  We had no idea who the others were… we met them there and had a blast.

For some becoming a mom is easy.  For others it takes a lot of work, patience, and time.  And there are the moms whose arms are empty.

Our family tree grew with a branch grafted from another five years ago.  There are circumstances from the first year of Olivia’s life we’ll never know, but we do all we can to reinforce our love and work hard instilling the best values we can.  I can’t, and won’t, romanticize the unknown.  However,  if I had the opportunity, I would love for the woman who brought her into this world to know that she’s a beautiful, bright, inquisitive little girl who sees the good in everyone she meets, the wonder in all she does and is loved by so many.  I believe it takes a village to raise a child and  I have an extraordinary group of friends who have loved my child as much as they would one of their own and I’m very appreciative.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and to those who have cared for and loved a child.  You are just as important to our lives as sunshine and rain.

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day.  Our service members and their families are a very small percentage of our nation’s population and we’re proud to be part of it.   Being a milspouse has not only taught me some very valuable lessons, but has given me an opportunity to meet some of the most fantastic people on the planet.  No matter where life leads me, I know I will go as a better person because of the experiences and frienships I’ve made along the way.

I wish all the milspouses a fantastic day.

That’s what I fed the dwellers of Chateau L today. No cooking – aside from the quick melting of the cheese in the quesadillas for lunch. We had dinner with some friends and they treated us to steak with baked potatoes. Was nice to hang out with them and just relax for a little bit. Thanks!!

Oh, wait. I lied. I made brownies to take with us. From a box.

Tis the season to be jolly…fa-la-la-la-meh.

I’ve been trying to get my holiday mojo, but it hasn’t quite worked in my favor.  Yet.  By saying “yet” means I’m still holding out hope.  For the past couple of months, I’ve been pounding the pavement and begging asking friends and family to help me with the canned food drive at Fabul-O’s school.  I was the PTA chair.  In the past, students have collected food for a food bank, but, this year, it was decided that each class would sponsor one of our school families who applied for assistance.  I reached out to 60 area churches requesting a $10 grocery gift card thinking for sure I would get the 43 I needed.  Students would provide the canned goods and we would give the families the card to purchase their turkey (can’t give out fresh food, especially poultry, due to health concerns).  Not a single church offered to help.  Including the one O goes to daycare at nor the one we attended for 5 years.   Grocery stores, some dear, dear friends, our National Guard unit and family stepped in to help me out.  I was able to meet the goal.  Next came time to divvy up the goods.  There were 3 families who had no transportation to pick up the goods, so arrangements were made to deliver it.  Out of the other 40 families, less than half came to get their goods.  *sigh*

Then came the unit Christmas party.  I am the new family support leader.  And I had one month to plan it.  The to-do list was divided among three of us.  Only one of us – you guess who – had her list completely done and ready to go on party day.  Another of us arranged the food, which was a huge deal and it was done, but the little “completer” items and part of the entertainment fell under them and it wasn’t done.  The last one of us ignored my texts and voicemail reminders of their completer items and they were totally forgotten. Our budget didn’t allow for duplicate purchases and 15 minutes before party time she dumped “Santa” gifts out to wrap IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN who were going to be receiving said gifts.  Oy vey.

Overall, the party was a huge success and a good time was had by all.  Santa was a HUGE hit and I’m a rockstar because I know him 🙂  I got several compliments on my “attention” to detail and making sure each and every soldier had something to take home by making ornaments for them all and having a wrapped gift.  Granted, only half of the soldiers were there for the party, but the effort was put into it and it was noticed.  Next year I don’t know how I’ll handle if, if they vote me back for another year, aside from taking on the whole thing by myself.

Now it’s on to Christmas for my family and a trip to see the in-laws.  I’m about half done with shopping and have TOTALLY blown the budget, so I need to re-evaluate and see where we are.

I have the spirit of giving.  I have it all year long, but I can’t seem to get into the Christmas spirit.  I’m trying to be more peaceful and work towards getting my life back in order.  The last task at hand is Girl Scout cookie sales that begin in January.  After that, I’m taking some time off.  A lot of time.

I’m not a total Scrooge, I just have had so much going on it’s hard to wrap my mind around joy and peace when I know it’s there.  I’m still taking baby steps.

In case I don’t post again before Christmas, which is HIGHLY likely, I wish you all the very Merriest of Christmases and a New Year in which all your dreams come true.

Be well,

Susan

I have good days and I have bad days, which is expected.  But I’m not miserable all the time.

A few weekends ago, we went to the Bank of America 500.  Last year Mar was here.  They boys went to the race and the girls (us, Shannon and Shannon) went out and we had a fantastic time.  Hard to believe a year has passed and I miss her so.  This year we went again.  It was O’s first race and she was lukewarm about it.  I’m not a huge race fan, but there is something about feeling the thunder in the stands as the cars go by and being  under the lights that gets the adrenaline going.  O roots for “Smoke” (a.k.a. Tony Stewart) and I will pull for Junior (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) because he drives the 88 National Guard car.  Y’all know that no matter what I have going on in my life, I love our Soldier boys and girls (and Marines, Airmen, Coasties…)

Last weekend we met up with a long time friend, M, and her husband JT and went to the SC State Fair. It was my first state fair.  Ever.  Seriously.  It was okay.  Fabul-O rode some rides…and Uncle JT got his first ride on the Wacky Worm roller coaster.  They don’t have children, so it was a super treat for him.  O kept her head down until the very end, at which time she proclaimed she had a fantastic time.

We ate fried pickles…I couldn’t bring myself to have fried butter even though I wanted to so, so badly.  And I also managed to stay away from the Krispy Kreme burger known by many as a Luther Burger.

And one of us sacked out before we made it back to the interstate to come home.

We had a good time.  I have always said friends are the family we get to choose and M has been part of my family since 1992.  Wish we saw them more often.

It was a nice couple of family days.  The sun was shining brightly and the weather was perfect.  Days aren’t always this good, but I’m trying to make note of all the good and, one of these days, they should outweigh the bad.  I hope.

Coming soon…an attempt at apple picking.

We finished. I’m not dead, but might be a wee bit injured. It’s an azz kicker, that’s for sure.

That’s what I have.  However, I know deep down that’s just posh talk for being scared utterly crapless about the mud run this weekend.  In 3 days I’m going to embark on the 4.5 mile obstacle course.  I’m not ready.  I know I’m not ready.  I have  a great cheering fan base who all tell me, “you’ll do great!”  In reality, I  won’t.  How do I know?  Because I got my arse handed to me on a platter and lapped by the girl who got lost in the woods for Girl Scout 5k we did.  That’s how I know.  Not much has changed.  I’m drinking tons of water trying to keep hydrated because I quickly learned that dehydration sucks hugely.   I know it’s about having fun and getting muddy.  I know it’s raising money for a terrific cause.  I know I’m doing it and there are others who aren’t even attempting it.  I hurt my shoulder about a month ago at the gym and it’s feeling better, but it’s still not as good as I’ve wanted it to be.  I’m scared.  Loqi says not to be.  Will says not to be.  But I am.  There’s a monkey bars type obstacle.  Hell, I couldn’t do monkey bars when I was in elementary school and I certainly can’t do them now.

There are 3,600 four-person teams.  That’s 14,400 people.  There simply has to be someone who is in worse condition than me.  I hate it, but I’ve lost the drive that had me working so hard for it.  I want to do this.  I really, really do, but I think I have mega cold feet and have a huge fear of letting my teammates down.  My parents are even driving down for it, which is huge and makes me even more nervous.  My fears are rational.  I know a lot of people get race day jitters.  But I’m scared.

If you think about it, on Saturday, September 25 at 9:21:20, we will start and I ask you send me some good ju-ju.  I just want to finish.  Alive.  And not broken.  And not last.  And most of all, I don’t want my teammates to regret being on my team.

You can read a little about it here.

Thanks.

This weekend I have four days off, which is very unusual for me. While I am enjoying four days of not working and am headed to the coast to spend time with my family, I know Memorial Day is more than days off, picnics and potato salad. We remember those who serve, have served in the past and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We continue to stand tall for, and honor, those who protect us.

As you enjoy whatever it is you will do this weekend, please take time to remember those who have answered our country’s call.

Nothing much, really. Nothing anyone would be interested in, anyway. In January, I lost a contract job I’ve held for seven years. No, it’s not my “real” job, so I’m still working full-time (and very grateful for that, I might add). However, it was a pretty big blow to our household budget, so I’ve made saving money my new mission. Now, I’ve always watched for sales and stuff and avoided paying full retail unless it was absolutely necessary, but when you have more “disposable” income, you tend to not pay attention as closely as you should. Okay, “you” = me/I. It took a while to get used to not having to work in the evenings and I’m enjoying being able to spend time with Fabul-O. I’m cooking more and loving being able to go to bed when I’m tired, not when a deadline has been met. OH, and having a weekend that is completely free. *squee*

So, I’m a couponing diva now. Yes.I.Am. And I love it. My coupon binder is my third love and I *heart* my reusable bags. I love super doubles and triple coupon weeks make my heart swell. We’re still able to donate and give at a level we’re comfortable with, so that’s an added bonus. Saving an average of 70% on my grocery bill is freaking awesome. Awesome, I say, and I haven’t paid more than .25 for toothpaste since December. And, no, I don’t buy things we won’t use just because I have a coupon for it. Not for our personal use, anyway. I recently donated 60 cans of dog food and three bags of cat food to our local animal shelter. We don’t have a cat because of my allergies and PomPom doesn’t eat canned food. But it all worked out to be free, so it was a win all the way around.

I negotiated a better rate with Time-we’re-sucking-your-bank-account-dry-because-we-can-Warner and even made the courageous feat to give up our Blackberries. It’s a luxury, a purely evil luxury, but I missed it terribly while it was gone. Yeah, we’ve got it back, but only thanks to Will’s company insisting he have it and the reimbursement method they chose covers most of my service, too. We already have Vonage, but I’m not quite ready to give that up yet, even though we hardly ever use our home phone, so that expense stays. Our room addition/playroom/three-season porch is about 80% done. Will take a wee bit more time to get it finished, but it’s been closed in since October, what’s a bit more time among friends? BUT I was able to do it in the evenings and on weekends. We are sprinters on that project…run for it and then stop. We’ll sprint on again soon. I need to paint the trim, pick out flooring and hang the curtains. After I buy the rods.

I hurt my foot a while back, so my Couch to 5K training came to a halt. I’m not sure I’m meant to be a runner, but we are currently training and getting ready for the Marine Corps Mud Run in September. Four months from today, actually. Running is one of about a half dozen things that makes me feel defeated and deflated. I’m trying hard not to let it, but it does. I’ve set the goal to finish it. And I will. Our team is “Ladies and Grunts.”

I’m also dealing with some “heart” issues. Not as in health, but as in forgiving, forging on and being made whole again. I have a hard time forgiving, no matter how hard I try. Dudes, it is so stinking hard. I have lost my will to be a greater person and I want it back. I need my head and heart to get on board together. Has anyone else ever noticed you can’t force those two to jive? It’s like oil and water. I need it more like peanut butter and jelly. If I don’t do something, my life as I know it will never, ever be the same and I’m not sure I want that.

Olivia has two more weeks at her current school. Friday is field day, and I’m off work, so I’m going to spend the day with her at school and hopefully make some nifty little treat for her class. Then we’ll spend the afternoon packing for a little coastal get away with my family. Will’s parents just left/ they visited with us for a week and a half and I know they were exhausted from having Olivia climb all over them, but it was nice to have them here. The big plus was they were here for Fabul-O’s end of year program at school, which she rocked, by the way. Totally rocked. All the kids did. And you can tell from the way they screamed they were told to speak loud so all the audience could hear. Pre-K has had its challenges for us this year, but it makes my heart sad that Kindergarten is on our horizon. My little girl gets bigger and bigger each and every day. I only wish she knew how much I love her.

So, with a wee bit over 900 words, you see what I said was true…nothing much going on and certainly nothing interesting. I miss blogging. I truly do and hope to get my mojo back. I’ve tried for about a year, with no success, but I’m going to keep trying.

Thanks for hanging around.

Fabul-O had originally requested to be a Ninja for Halloween.  I said no.  Her backup was a Power Ranger, to which I, again, said no.  After some careful negotiations, she asked for a purple costume with wings and a wand.  Bless costume(dot)com because they had a purple plum fairy?  Plum purple fairy?  I can’t rember, but it was purple with wings and a wand.  And a headband with flowers that make it “da best ever” and put me at the top of her “bestest mommy ever list.” 

Years past, we would simply take Olivia to the local mall for some treats and she would pick where she wanted to eat.  Her choice: Pizza Hut.  Not this year.  We packed up and headed to the big city to see Shannon, Tony and Emily and went trick-or-treating in their neighborhood.  In the pouring down rain. 

Fabul-O loved it.  Loved it, I said.  And she was sure to let Emily have her turn at ringing the doorbell, but when she didn’t want to, Fab stepped up her big girl skills and accepted the responsibility.  Both of them were very aware of their loot.  Very aware.  They were some pretty dang cute fairies, if I may say so.

Huge thanks to the Shannon’s for hosting us.  We had a great time and can’t wait to see you again soon.

olivia 1

And Shannon totally made the night with some glitter spray. 

princess glitter

 

One of my besties, Shannon, is raising money for Autism Awareness.  Last weekend she hosted a banging little get together at her place to raise some money and they are only $95 from their very modest goal.  If you have a few bucks to spare, http://www.trianglerunwalkforautism.com/.  As we all know, every little bit helps and it is tax deductible.  Colin is her nephew and a very, very sweet little boy.  And, yes,  Shannon is walking.

Today my friend Wendy welcomed her husband home from Iraq.  Almost four years ago, Wendy and I waited for the plane to descend from the clouds with our husbands on it in the rain at the Naval Air Station at Oceana in Virgina.  Today Wendy, another friend and some other wives are exhaling and hugging their husbands tightly as they welcome them home from deployment.  They let go of the anxiety they have carried with them throughout the deployment.

These folks aren’t just friends….they’re family.

Welcome Home, Danny and the Seabees of NMCB24. We’re proud of you and thank you for your service to our great Nation!

HOOAH!

Had a little girl’s night last night at the home of a wife of a Soldier in Will’s unit.  Sounds like an awfully long description, but I met her for the first time at their wedding last summer and haven’t seen her since.   In true southern fashion, I took dessert with the dish as a gift and an invite back to my house.  I asked Mar if it was classier to show up at someone’s house you didn’t know with a 12-pack of beer or a 5th of liquor.  She said 5th; it would make me look tough.  Hardly since it was Malibu, but it sho was good with my pineapple/orange juice as a mixer. 

It was a good time with lots of giggles and swapping of stories.  Two of her BFFs were there and, while I enjoyed their company, it made me miss my BFFs tremendously.  Our time’s a coming…at some point.

I’m southern. We say it a little different.  But the meaning is the same.

pri⋅or⋅i⋅ty

/praɪˈɔrɪti, -ˈɒr-/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [prahy-awr-i-tee, or] Show IPA noun, plural -ties for 2–4.

1. The state or quality of being earlier in time, occurence, etc.
2. The right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence.
3. The right to take precedence in obtaining certain supplies, services, facilities, etc., esp. during a shortage.
4. Something given special attention.
-adjective
5. Highest or higher in importance, rank, privilege, etc.: a priority task.
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I’m going to start this by saying C*N*N isn’t my favorite news outlet, but I was watching the  “debate” over Ob*ma’s school speech next week and it was preempted by Mich*el J*ackson’s 2nd funeral.  Seriously?  Hasn’t the past 70 days of coverage been enough?  It kept cutting in and out because his family was over an hour late for his funeral and there were glimpses of the 26 matching Range Rovers on the interstate.  They’ve had 70 days.  Most people get a week.  Tops.

I’m so glad our news outlets have their priorities straight.

Since C*N*N won’t throw this shout out…to the wives of the Seabees coming home from their 2nd tour in Iraq…Hang in there ladies….your heroes will be home soon.  xoxo

ziplock

It started with a text:

Dear Thelma,
Will you run away with me?

Love,
Louise

To which I replied:

Only if I can drive.  Love, Thelma.

She agreed.

I followed it up with:

Maybe we should fly in case we both want to drink.

I heard the tabs popping from here…she agreed.

Then the conversation – somehow – moved on to dying/burying/cremation.  I know, twisted conversation for someone who lost half her body weight in tears when she picked out flowers for her husband’s pre-planned funeral.  Will and I have this little “extra” policy and one day he asked me what I was going to do with it.  I (sort of) jokingly told him I was going to have him made into a diamond.   Just the carbon.  I’ve threatened to put the rest of him in a Ziploc bag and carry him in my purse so whenever I get ticked at him, I can just take a pinch and stomp on him.  He rolls his eyes and I continue to design my setting.  Don’t get mad, he’s cut corners on me, too.  But not as many because I plan to come back and haunt.

Apparently, decorative wood boxes are the way to go.

These aren’t hip.  But duuude…they’re cheap.  I had to clip the “box tops for education” coupons for “pimping for private schoool’s” first fundraiser.  Hope I didn’t nick any of the bags….that gets into double bagging and expenses I’m not prepared to absorb.*

————————————————————-

*I’m just kidding….or amI? 😀

We arrived into town late last night after failing to get out of town on time.  I was missing one shoe and my fayncee strapless bra that is a key component of my outfit…it’s the one I’m safety pinning my dress to since I skipped my alterations appointment.

Every trip I’ve ever made has required at least one obligatory trip to Wall Marks or Tahget, but does it count if you do it before you even leave your zip code?  If it doesn’t count, this might be the first time I’ve not had to go.  We hit a couple of stores and I replaced the shoes and the bra and we were on our way.

Pretty boring trip.  The one from where we live to where we were going is about 3 hours or so, but I swear it seems to take three years.  It is the longest drive evah. Other trips of similar lengths are not that bad, but this one is horrible…every time.  Okay, so I say it was boring.  Before we left, I had to take something for nausea and pain, both of which make me sleepy so I slept for a big portion of the trip, but the last 12 miles were brutal.

This morning we went down for breakfast.  I got up, pulled my hair up, brushed my teeth, got dressed and made sure I didn’t look completely like I had just rolled out of bed.  Heck, I would have even ventured out of the hotel in my current state.  I have yet to understand why people can’t/don’t/won’t change out of their pajamas before heading down to breakfast at a hotel.  Including children.  And ladies, put a bra on.  Your middle aged sagging bubbies are not what I want staring at my belly button while I wait for my turn to get juice.

Meeting a friend for lunch.  It started off on the girly side until her husband’s plans got canceled and he’s joining us, so that puts Will in the mix so we’re headed to H00ters for wangs and beer for lunch.  Which I’m good with.  Who doesn’t love good wangs?

Catherine finally got the call she’s been waiting over three years for.  She’s the mama of a baby girl.  Go give her some love, would ya?

My bloggy buddy, The Mrs., is up for Mommy Blogger of the Year.  She’s a Marine wife and very pregnant with Dash-3.  She’s also where I found the  yummo recipe for eggless blueberry muffins.  If you’ve got some love and a click available pop on over to here and vote for her.  I know she’d appreciate it ’cause she’s sweet like that.  Voting goes through August 31.

It’s What Day?!?

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