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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.


Well, I finally have a permanent, full-time job.  It’s not ideal, but I’m gainfully employed and, for that, I’m grateful.  No more 90 mi. round trip commute.  It’s 3.3 miles from my office to my house.  I could walk it, if I wanted to and didn’t need to be in pristine condition when I got there.  Maybe one day, but for now, I’m okay with the drive.

It has been a rough year and it has kicked my tuchus six ways from Sunday.  I’ve struggled with feelings of failure and letting all those around me down.  I hit a serious depression and there were days I couldn’t get my head up off the pillow.  Failed interview after failed interview and opportunities that I couldn’t make happen really brought me down.  I accepted a temp position with a company in June and was finally made permanent a few weeks ago.  A good friend helped me out with kid-care this summer when I started temping so I didn’t have to pay daycare rates.  As did the midwest G’ma and Papa L.  Fabul-O spent 3 weeks visiting them this summer.  It was wonderful for her and them.

I’ve made several attempts to redefine me and I have learned, but am still struggling to accept, is I am who I am and that’s not going to change.  Complacency gets us all and it got the best of me.  So, I’m no longer working on reinventing me or even redefining me.  I’m working on making the me I am the best it can be.  I still struggle and I still have a long way to go.  We have had the love and support of friends and family and I am so thankful I surround myself with people who care and don’t just throw lip service our way.  I am so glad I raised Olivia to understand the value of what we have and what we give because it’s helped to adjust to our revised way of living.

I’m back at Weight Watchers and had a successful first week back on plan.  I struggled this week, but I’m having to break a lot of bad habits and, damn, that gets a lot harder the older you get.  And oatmeal doesn’t taste nearly as good as a biscuit.

Olivia participated in her first 5K in September.  We ran about the first half mile and we walked the rest.  We finished in 52 minutes and I am super proud of my girl.  People say we could have shaved 5 min off our time had I not taken her picture at the mile markers.  We walked in support of Operation Homefront North Carolina.  She says she wants to do another one.  Running it.

I had my 20 year class reunion a few weeks ago.  20 years changed a lot of us in a lot of ways.  Others of us it totally skipped and nothing has changed.  I’ve changed.  And I’m glad.

I’m who I am and that won’t change.  There are still a lot of things that need to be worked on and I will… one of them at a time.



I’m serious about the mud run.  Will might not think I am and most people I tell about it roll their eyes at me, but I am.   We will have to have a four-person team so I’m hoping he’ll get serious about it and we can get him through physical therapy to participate.  He is supposed to tell his therapist about it and let them decide what they think the likelihood is he will be able to participate.  If he can’t then I need 3 more.  Anyone?  Anyone? 

Dr. Huha listened to my plea to get me off the seizure medication and we’re working my way backwards to something much more mild.  He suggested, in front of my 4-1/2 year old, that I practice safe relations to avoid the three-headed baby I’m concerned about should my eggs do something asinine like fertilize.  A herd of wild buffalo led by Cindewella  and Pwince Chahming couldn’t have broken her trance off her mindless scribbling, but the word s.e.x. had her at full attention.  He did that scream-whisper when he repeated it like I didn’t understand it the first two times he said it.  Jayzus man…I get it!  That wasn’t an “I’m confused” look.  It was more of an “I’m terrified because now I have to avert a s.e.x. explanation when I leave here”  look.

Anyway, Dr. Huha has reconfigured my medication and I should be able to hit the gym soon.  I’m totally ready for this.  Giving up my indulgences is another story. I’m having a hard time sticking too that…as I have been for quite some time. 

I researched shoes.  And I found these.  I could have picked the boring blue, but I wanted the bright pink.  10% off be damned.  I was able to search out a 20% off coupon code on retailmen0t(dot)com.  With free shipping.  And they are a Upromise partner. And they have free returns should I not like my new kicks.  win-win-win-win. 

We are also in the wee beginnings of something new.  It’s pretty big and we aren’t sure what the outcome will be or if it will even work out for us.  We could use some prayers and some good wishes for the best possible outcome, whatever that may be.  I’ll update on it as soon as I can, but it may not be for several months, so keep us tucked in the recesses of your mind, wouldja?

Contractor called today.  They want to frame the room addition tomorrow and set the windows and doors.  They’ll have to come back another day to do siding and inside, but should be no more than a 2-day job.  We’ll install the lighting and whatnot. It’s not fayncee, but it’s something.  I got a lil nervous about not having a permit since most of the structure was already here (slab and roof), but applied anyway.  Neighbor did same project without permit.  Code enforcement will come inspect ours and I’m afraid he’ll get busted.  Conscience is in my way, but I did what I felt we needed to do. Fine is double the cost of permit.  We picked up the 2x4s, door, and insulation today.  Windows we’ve had for a couple of weeks.  Siding we couldn’t agree on because I didn’t see the exact thing he said to get, so I’ll let contractor pick it up.  Kudos to Lowe’s for giving military discount.   Need to pick out the lighting – think I’ve found what I like and it’s on clearance – blinds and floor covering.  Pieces of cake.

Guesties arrive next week.  So excited.  The boys are going to the race.  There’s gonna be a girl’s night out in the BIG city.  Shannon and Shanny will be joining us so it’s sure to be a blast.  Can’t wait.

Until next time….

I’ll post an update about the event in a day or so, but here are a couple of pictures to show Will and I clean up pretty nicely, if I may say so.





I K E A opened in Charlotte this week.   My first trip was with Shanny to Atlanta and we visited Lisa and Eammon.  It was more than I could wrap my feeble mind around.   When I found out they were coming to our area, I ordered the catalog and poured over the pages trying to envision what I wanted to get for the still non-existent playroom  and to organize.  I have pages dog-eared and I’ve talked it up to Will; he rolled his eyes.  That was until today.

This morning we got up, had a mad dash breakfast at Chick-Fil-A and hit the interstate.   The exit was coming up and my heart skipped a beat.  Something about 360,000 square feet of shopping that does something to you.  No, it’s not heirloom quality furniture.  No,  there isn’t really anything I need.  But it’s fun, people.  Lots and lots of fun.  The city had a plan to shuttle people from a nearby ampitheater.  Will and I pinky swore that we would not be part of shuttling.  If I couldn’t get off the interstate at the exit, then I’d go back another day.  Only one car ahead of me.   Cops standing by to direct traffic when it got busy.   There were probably 50 people directing traffic into the parking lot.  I was impressed; it flowed very, very smoothly.  Will says I ran the red light turning in, though.  In front of four cops.  They were prepared for a riot.  I’m the least of their worries.  

The line was around the building, but it moved very quickly and efficiently.  Olivia stayed with us until we went to the marketplace portion and I sent her to the play area.  They LOVED her.  (surprise)  Some other parents had an Olivia, too, and they thought the care givers were referring to their child.   I let them.  Who am I to burst their bubble?  

Will was pretty impressed with the layout.  I’m not sure he believed me when I told him they had little “homes” set up to show you just how functional 600 sf of living space can be.  I bet he opened every.single.refrigerator. and proclaimed with each one, “they have appliances.  And sinks.”  For some reason he thought when I told him they did I was secretly leading him astray.  

As much as I love it, there were some pretty dang rude shoppers out there.  He scoffed when I wanted to be there as it opened, but I wanted to get there early because I had some work things to do this afternoon.  I’ve had my fix and will get back into planning the non-existent play room addition and hopefully, when our friend D returns from his deployment, it will materialize.  

By the way, my kid used the word “ain’t” for the first time today.

This past Saturday, Will, Fabul-O and I loaded up to go to a local airshow.   It was a small one at our local municipal airport with warbirds and later a special show.  To start said show, were two parachuters.  Trying to keep Olivia as enthralled as I could, I pointed out the tinsy white spot of an airplane that was circling overhead and saw two black spots.  I told her, “Watch baby!   The soldier boys have jumped from the airplane!!”  She’s watching and I’m pimping it.  Hard.  So I’m watching and I’m pointing this out to the little posse of people around us and Will asked me what we were all looking at.  I pointed to the aforementioned dots and told him, “The jumpers!”  He shook his head and pointed in the OPPOSITE direction where they had just pulled their parachutes.  We were all watching two crows fly.  

Teach ya’ll to listen to a girl with football shaped corneas and no glasses on.

Ya’ll wanna know what this is the tracking information of? Huh? Huh?

Tracking Number: Lots of numbers
Type: Package
Status: In Transit
Scheduled Delivery: 11/10/2008
Shipped To: Where I work, SC, US
Shipped/Billed On: 11/05/2008
Service: GROUND
Weight: 33.80 Lbs
Multiple Packages: 16 show all
Near where I work,
11/10/2008 8:00 A.M. OUT FOR DELIVERY

That’s right! A Second Helping is being delivered to my office this morning! I can’t wait to see it. I’m hoping it looks okay. I’ve only seen a black and white proof of the cover. Perfect timing for the holidays. Oh, I’m so nervous.

Just because it’s freaking hilarious, I’m sending you back over to Cake Wrecks.

I’m utterly stoked about this one.  So much, in fact, I’ve had my reservation since April to make sure I got a room at the same [insert Fabul-O’s accent] ho-tay-yul the event is being held.  I’m attending my first ever SpouseBUZZ Live event in Hampton Roads, VA this weekend.  I didn’t realize until February I had missed the one that was almost in my back yard last fall.  It also means I get a weekend away in Virginia Beach!  Fabul-O and Will are staying behind.  Not on purpose, simply because of other obligations (That kid of mine…sheesh, can’t keep up with her schedule)

SpouseBUZZ is a wonderful site for military spouses, significant others and parents to learn and share experiences. 

Long drive, but I’m packed and ready to roll.  I’m practicing my couth for when I meet some of the wonderful bloggers I’ve been reading for so long.  Ya’ll know how giddy it can be meeting e-pals and bloggy buddies for the first time.  (I don’t have lipstick on my teeth do I?)



P.S. Vacation updates will resume ASAP.  I know you’re all dying out there.

I’ve always wanted to learn to knit.  My aunt tried to teach me and I made the nicest knot one has ever laid their eyes on.  Bust.  I wanted to learn to crochet.  Bust.  I wanted to learn to sew.  I have quite a bit of money invested in that one so I will learn.  There are many of my fellow blogger friends who knit caps for babies and I want to, but I don’t know how to knit.  That is until I came across the Knifty Knitter.  I.Love.It.  and it is soooo very simple to use.  I promise you if it’s something I can read the instructions and do, anyone can!

My first projects….


 In my opinion, this hat was a bit snug, so Bitty Baby will enjoy it and the afghan was a mini-project I did just because.

There was one more hat I made over the weekend, but it’s on its way to a little fella who made his debut about eight weeks early while he and his momma are visiting in NC.  

I found this blog and have enjoyed reading about his journey. He is a 30 yr. old retired Army Captain who lost his arm below the elbow in Afghanistan. He is in medical school and is now traveling the country on his summer off to meet some of the folks who supported him while he was deployed.

It’s a fun read. Pop on over and say “Hi!”

Over at Sarge Charlie’s place, I linked up for this week’s Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt started by TN Chick. This week’s theme was shoes. When I saw the topic, I knew I had to participate. In true Susan fashion, I’m late…

First, the Ghetto fabulous shoes Will insisted we buy for Fabul-O. They kind of grew on me after awhile, but we weren’t fortunate to ever find another pair in her size. And, in case you are interested in knowing, NO we are not still actively looking 🙂 She wore these for the first time from Chongqing to Guangzhou. It’s hard to believe her feet were that tiny just over two short years ago. (If I’m not mistaken, they are a size 2 and she was 13 mos. old)

My second favorite shoes picture is one I took of Will’s combat boots he wore in support of OIF III. I’ll never forget the day I came home from work to his foot locker sitting on the front porch. I knew it was the first step in them preparing to come home, but I lost it. For my family, it was the first step in preparing for homecoming, but for others who received a footlocker it was the belongings coming home of a lost loved one.

These boots were buried at the very bottom and were covered in sand and dust. I ran my fingers over them memorizing the feel and wondered what stories they would tell if boots could talk. As dusty as they were, I didn’t put them away. I couldn’t. I put them in the same in-the-way place Will always took his boots off when he came home. It made it oddly cozy for me. When he was home safe and sound, I made him put his boots away, the same way I always do.

I have a Grip-EZ melon/pineapple cutter and I love it.

I used it for the first time tonight to cut a little watermelon I bought and it worked like a charm!  Made perfect little slices and O and I ate watermelon until our bellies couldn’t hold any more.


Yes, I’m a gadget girl. 

While parading for Salute to the Troops, I made some rounds to visit some friends who had displays set up. I went past the National Guard set up and they had a Bradley, which is Will’s other ride. He was impressed I picked it out until he noticed the sign next to me telling what it was. Damn…should have Photoshopped. Not that it makes a  difference, but I entered the area from behind the vehicle and, if I’m not mistaken, I think my words to my friend ‘P’ were, “Hold up! This is what Will does*.” I read said sign and it was.

My Husband Drives A Tank


*I’m really not a dim wit. I had to learn all about the ACES and then I got jacked over to the Bradley. Learning curve. Also, I make no apologies for speaking “girl.” Girls rule. Ask us.

Two words: Absolute Blast.

After a long day of parading and driving from Raleigh back into Charlotte, I was more than ready to settle into my room and grab a couple of z’s before J got into town.  I checked into the Renaissance Charlotte Hotel where the prom was being held.  We figured better safe than sorry, so we opted to get a room and be able to enjoy ourselves without having to worry about driving home.  Because the hotel was remodeling two floors at a time, the rooms filled up quickly.   I kept checking back every day or so in hopes of getting a room and one day, SCORE!  Granted, it was the Romance Package, but beggars can’t be choosers so a little romance it was going to be.  Heh.  I got some raised eyebrows when I checked in and they confirmed my request for two double beds.  Yeah, about that.  After a brief history of where Sgt. husband was, I got my keys and rode the elevator to the fancy key only floor.  The room was great.  Wasn’t over the top, but it was very nice and I was quite pleased with our accomodations.  J got to the hotel and we had a couple of cocktails and we got dressed.  It was going to be a super duper fun night.  Shannon, Tony, Jodi and Scott got to the hotel and we were running just a tad bit behind.  I swear it was the humidty making for a terrible hair night.  We met up with our party in the lounge area.  After a bit of confusion, slight attitude and a very gracious recovery from the restaurant manager on duty, we had the most delightful dinner.  We ate our dinner, shared some stories and then it was time to get our groove on.    Just an aside: Jodi and I kept looking at one another and finally we had to figure out how we knew one another…she is the PA for the doctor who took my tonsils out!  Yup, small world.  At the time of my consult, she and I talked about the China adoption process and she told me she had a friend who was adopting, but had gotten held up in the slow down.  I told her I had friends who were going through the same thing, but tell them to hang in there; it would happen.  Little did I know it was Shannon! 

Okay, where was I?  Oh, yeah.  We entered the ballroom to some kicking tunes and danced, danced and danced some more.  Even though J was my date, I was afraid of feeling left out when the slow mushy songs came on.  Not true.  Jodi was the first to offer me her hand in dance during a slow song.  And thanks to Shannon, Journey has brand new meaning to me and I must say she is quite the dance partner.   I don’t think anyone’s smile faded until they crossed the threshhold back into the real world.  Yes, Will was missed greatly, but I could not have had better dates or friends there with me.  So a HUGE thanks to all of you!  You made my night a blast and we helped out a fantastic charity.  Anyone who wants to go next year, c’mon!  We’d love to have you. 

Blah, blah, blah…where are the pictures already?  Here ya’ go!


Tony, Shannon, Me, Jodi, Scott and J


Fun, Fun, Fun

A while back I posted about having a digital pressure cooker that sat unused for a couple of years.  Mine is by Cook’s Essentials and, I must say, it is still one of my absolute favorite appliances. 

We eat a lot of chicken around here and chicken can get pretty boring.  So, I started experimenting with different seasonings.  Penzeys is my favorite spice spot.  The only thing with cooking in a pressure cooker is you must have at least one cup of liquid so I use chicken broth, beef broth, or whatever my spice is mixed with water.  I also use McCormick’s Bag ‘n Season (the seasoning, not the bag) a lot; I mix the seasoning with my one cup of liquid and put in the pressure cooker, set it for the allotted time and dinner is done within half an hour.  Again, throw the bag away or save for something else.

Sunday I made a pork tenderloin using the Bicentennial rub from Penzeys.  I used my handy dandy Deni meat tenderizer to tenderize my loin and rubbed it down and put it in the fridge for about 5 hours.  I trimmed all the fat from my pork loin before seasoning *GASP*.  I know, not thinking about how I was going to cook it, it could have been a disaster.  Not with my digi pressure cooker!  I mixed some more of the seasoning with a cup of water, put in and 50 minutes later, we had the most delicious and tender pork tenderloin I think we’ve ever had.  

 Tonight was another pork debut in the cooker.  One of my absolute favorite grilling sauces is John Boy and Billy’s Grillin’ Sauce.  We like the spicy.  I bought some pork county-style ribs and was going to slow cook them on the grill.  Whatever.  I threw them in the cooker with 2/3 of a bottle of the sauce (would have been the whole bottle, but when we grill steaks, Will puts bbq sauce on his and he had already dipped into the bottle).  50 minutes and dinner was de-lish-us.

Bon appetit!

“Whas dat?” is a question I hear a lot from Fabul-O. Rather than answer her right away, I always ask her what she thinks it is and she’s usually right. This is how it went tonight:

O: Whas dat? (as she pokes at me)

Me: You tell me.

O: B00bies.

Me: Yes, b00bies.

O: Mommy, you gots big b00bies. I have little b00bies. Daddy has b00bies, too, but his aren’t big like yours or little like mine.

She’s right.

I can only write about it as I missed the window of opportunity to video the fab Miss O belting out an original tune.  Not sure about most of it but I did understand the parts about needing some juice while on the phone and don’t put milk in the shredded wheat.

This second part stems from last weekend.  I attended a Gold Star Ceremony, which honored the mothers and families of fallen heroes.   Olivia went with me and, I must say, my child is the best blessing God has ever bestowed upon me.  During a really emotional moment for me during the ceremony, she grabbed my hands and put them around her and told me what I tell her when she’s upset, “Hold me tight and love me much.  It will be okay.”  She brought a smile to my face beneath my tears.  Then she said, “Here’s a tissue.  Wipe it up.”  Love her!  During all the chaos of the morning trying to get out of the hotel, my purse was left in the hotel lobby.  About 30 miles into my trip home, one of the ladies from my group called to tell me the hotel had it and I turned around.  I held  my breath that the money wasn’t gone but it was; about $130.  This is what is known as my “soldier money” for shipping care packages, etc.  I was telling my mom about it on the phone and when I hung up with her, Olivia asked me, “Where you soldier money?”  I explained as best I could that somebody took it away from us.  She asked would we get more and I laughed and told her yes.  Then she piped up with, “Don’t worry.  I hep you.”  That night Will came home and asked where I was and O told him, “Shhh.  Mommy’s making soldier money and I hep her.”  She showed him the pictures she colored while I was working on some contract work I do from home. 

Back to tonight…Oh, I was just informed she was on the “phone” with Jessica but I have no idea who Jessica is.  Anyway… She repeated last week’s story to “Jessica” about the soldier money and the last thing before she hung up was, “We got more and spent it at Costco.  Don’t worry.”  She’s right.  We bought some care package goodies today.

I love her more than the next breath I’ll take.  She has more compassion at 34 months old than a lot of adults I know.

Is it possible to be in love with appliances? I know it’s one thing to like them a lot and to be thrilled with their performance but I really think I’m in love. Now, I’ve always been smitten with my rotisserie oven. I started off with the baby one and Santa brought me the big one for Christmas. I can’t tell you the number of people who have giggled and poked fun at me for having the “set it and forget it’ appliance. However, they sang a totally different tune when they ate the delicious moist chicken breasts. My turkey is a hit at Thanksgiving and I haven’t had a dry bird in at least 5 years. Oh, my. Then there’s the Dyson. What words to describe it other than pure sucking bliss. My latest is my Rowenta iron. It almost brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it. Will carefully unpackaged it and placed it lovingly on my ironing board for me. I didn’t say a word as I unplugged the old one and cast it aside. I used the water cup provided to fill the reservoir with tap water since it has a built in filter to block out impurities. I turned it on and switched it over to steam. The first thing I ironed was Miss O’s smocked bishop dress. It’s cotton and has all the pleats. Great first test piece. Oh..the creases for the pleats were phenomenal. Then I ironed my white cotton pants. One burst of steam and it was as if the wrinkles just jumped out. I swear it cut my ironing time in half. It wasn’t cheap and it took a lot for me to push the buy button but I’m glad I did. My mom has had one for years and I’ve doubled what this one cost on irons over the past few years always trying to get the best one for not so much money.

I heart my appliances.

I’m a week two weeks late with this but it seems to be my recurrent theme of late.

A local radio station has a Second Chance Prom every year to benefit their charity.  I’ve wanted to go for the past 8 years but there has always been something that stood in the way or Will just flat out refusing to go.  This year while he was on AT, I bought tickets.  Hah.  We went with Shannon and Tony and I must tell you, it was a freaking riot!  We had the best time evah!  It was way better than a high school prom; everyone had to be over 21 and there was a cash bar.  We danced.  We laughed.  We made fun of those who brought out their mid-80s prom dresses.  It ranged from church-type clothes to shiny pimp-like duds.  I told Shannon that even though we were giggling our tushies off at the puff sleeves and Gone With the Wind-esque bows, every girl there thought she was the bell of the ball and felt pretty*, which is very, very important.  However, their friends should have been gracious enough to tell them that sleeves stuffed with tissue paper went out with Hammer pants.  Will even had a better time than he ever thought possible; I think we all did. 

It was an amazing night and I hope that those who turned us down this year will go next year.   For the rest of you, pack up and head our way – you can go, too. 

Hammer pants (for those who may not know or can’t remember)


At dinner



At the prom

Tony and Shannon


Tony and Will (Darn them for being so photogenic!!)




Pimp Posse



*Before anyone stumbles here and makes a snide comment:

  • No, I don’t think I’m better than anyone.  I just dressed more tasteful than some and I know it – so did 93% of the other people there.
  • My dress was bought 3 weeks before prom so I know it’s in the right decade.  Besides, it’s black, not peach taffeta.
  • Shannon went with me and told me what looked good and didn’t and I trust her. 
  • Will thought I looked smokin’ hot and that’s what matters.

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