Friday, September 26, 2008

Redneck Party

A friend from Husband’s unit invited us to a redneck-themed party this weekend, and Husband asked me if we should go. I said an enthusiastic “yes!” (Or, make that “shoot yeah!” or “Darn tootin’!”) But first, we shopped at the local discount store for the perfect redneck attire, which was surprisingly fun. (The ease at which we were able to pick out our redneck clothes made me wonder if we’re not as classy as we originally thought…) I got these very sophisticated bud light shorts.

Husband is going for the hunter look.

And, we’re supposed to bring a redneck dish. I’m bringing these redneck sushi rolls. I’ve actually had them before (again, maybe I’m not as classy as I thought!) and they’re actually pretty tasty. The bonus is that they only include three ingredients (ham, cream cheese, and pickles), so even I can make them! Jeff Foxworthy would be so proud.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Finally Home

We got some great news the other day. Husband’s grandma called and told us that Husband’s cousin arrived safely home from Iraq. We both exhaled and rejoiced. He was there for over a year, and we thought of him and prayed for him every day. Ironically, he is the cousin that we are closest to, even though I have never actually met him and Husband hasn’t seen him in years. Soon after we got married, Husband’s grandma sent us a card and happened to include his deployed address. We sent him a care package with a letter, telling him that we were thinking of him. I included our e-mail address in case he had any requests for future care packages. Later, we got an e-mail from him thanking us, and we started e-mailing back and forth. We talked about our families, our future plans, and our military lives. We now consider him a good friend. It’s funny that the way we got close to him was by the military deploying him so far away. Regardless, we’re so glad he’s home, and we can’t wait to tell him that in person one day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Marathon Training! Weeks 16 and 17

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t write this post on Friday. If I had, it probably would have been a rambling mess, saying that I hated marathon training and I was quitting it altogether. On that day, I had a really bad run. It was supposed to be a long run of 12 miles, but for a variety of reasons, I made it (barely!) to only 7 miles. Afterwards, I told Husband that I hated running and I was going to quit the marathon. He called my bluff. He didn’t overreact. Instead, he gently and patiently asked, “How would you feel if you quit?” I told him that I would feel very disappointed, especially since I’ve worked so hard for almost a year to get to this point! He smiled and said, “Well, I guess it sounds like you’re not quitting.” Darn! He is a clever one, and he tricked me without me even knowing it. But, I’m glad I decided to keep going. I’ve realized that not every run is going to be a good one, but the important thing is that I keep trying. Yesterday I ran a 3-mile run, and it turns out that it was my fastest run ever! I would have never experienced that if I had quit last week. I know I have a lot more challenges (and a few lingering doubts) to conquer in the weeks ahead, but I know I have the determination to keep going. And if there’s ever another time when I’m close to losing hope, I’ll have a clever coach by my side to ask me, “How would you feel if you quit?”

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Uniform and the Memories

I finally decided to give away my military dress uniform. Though I gave away almost all of my military uniform items right after I left the service, I couldn’t help but to hang onto my dress uniform a little longer. Besides being (hands down!) the best-looking uniform, it also held a lot of great memories. I wore it to my unit’s various military ceremonies. I wore it when I went as Husband’s date to his military functions. And I wore it to my uncle’s wedding ceremony. My dad, my uncle, my cousin, and I all wore our military dress uniforms. (It made for a very nice picture – just ask my grandma.) I remember on my uncle’s wedding day, a couple ladies saying “ooh, so that’s what the ladies’ dress uniform looks like,” when I passed by. I felt a lot of pride for being able to represent my branch of the military in uniform, as well as representing women veterans. The uniform also made for a somewhat embarrassing (and amusing) story later that day. My aunt remarked to me in front of a number of family members, “You looked really hot in your uniform today.” I smiled and said an enthusiastic, “Thanks!” “No, I mean, it looked like you were really warm in that uniform; your face was flushed,” she elaborated. Oh. Yes, it was rather warm in the church. I’m so glad she clarified that she intended the “so hot you’re sweating” meaning of “hot” and not the “you’re very attractive” meaning, in the presence of so many family members. Regardless, I decided recently it was time to give it away. It’s a very expensive uniform, and I know it would help out someone new to the military. The additional closet space for me would be a bonus.
I hung up a sign in the women’s bathroom in Husband’s unit, offering the uniform with “FREE!” written in large letters. Who could pass that up? I got a call a few days later from a girl that lives on the opposite side of the country. She was about to go off to military training, and she heard about the sign from a friend. She asked if I wouldn’t mind mailing it to her, and she’d mail me a check. I told her not to worry about the check, and I mailed it to her. I included a note wishing her all the best in her military career. I knew I made the right choice in giving the uniform away, when I got an e-mail in my inbox with “THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!” as the subject.

And yesterday I got a card in the mail with her check that covered much more than the shipping. I almost got a little choked up, when I read her humble words: “Here’s a little something to at least cover the shipping, sorry I can’t send more. I really appreciate you sending everything to me!” I’m so glad that I gave away the uniform, but I’m glad I kept the memories. I hope that the uniform also brings her many happy memories and only the best meaning of the word “hot.”

Monday, September 15, 2008

Some Hurricane with Their Wine

I finally used a Pottery Barn gift card that we received as a wedding gift. I have a few very good excuses for not using the gift card for so long (over a year and a half!): 1) We do not live close to a Pottery Barn. 2) The gift card never expires, so it's kept its full value the whole time. 3) When I did some preliminary research, I found that our gift card (for a very generous amount!) would pay for approximately one leg of a chair or a single exquisite toothpick. (I’m joking – sort of.) Finally, the stars aligned for me last week, and I decided to order some very nice wine glasses for our friends’ upcoming wedding. I was very proud that I finally used the gift card, and I thought the wine glasses would make a nice gift for our friends. Pottery Barn sent me an e-mail with the tracking information, and I saw that my package of wine glasses was in transit, currently at a location in Houston. And it took a second for the remarks (in all caps) to dawn on me: “EMERGENCY CONDITIONS BEYOND OUR CONTROL” I wonder if our friends will think that we’re extra generous when they find we’ve included some complimentary Hurricane Ike with their wine glasses?

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Dog Ate It

I never really believed “the dog ate my homework” excuse, until recently. My friend and I both love Nicholas Sparks books. (Yes, the sappy ones that include: A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle, and The Notebook.) I let her borrow The Choice. My friend loved it and stopped by to return it. But first she handed me a note and told me to read it. I started laughing so hard because this is what it said: Dear Auntie, Thank you for teaching me to write. [Side note: I once dogsat for them, and I left a note from the dog, pretending that I had taught her how to write.] I decided to read the book you let my mommy borrow. I got a little excited with my new skill of reading and ate the title. I am very sorry. My mommy took my allowance as punishment. I promise to never get that excited reading again. Woof woof, The Dog Then, she handed me the book. At this point I’m laughing so hard that I can’t speak. It’s funny because their dog is possibly the most well-behaved dog I’ve ever met. But, I guess she gets into mischief sometimes while they're at work. Though the book jacket is torn, the book itself still looks perfect. My friend still felt so bad that she gave me a gift card to make up for it. [Notice that it is dog themed!] The gift card certainly wasn’t necessary, although I admit that I’m a bit excited about picking out a new book! (Any suggestions??) Don’t worry. I’ll take a lesson from the dog, and I won’t get so excited that I take a bite of the gift card.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


McDonald’s recently started offering a special deal selling 50 (yes, fifty) Chicken McNuggets. I’m undecided as to what is the saddest part of this scenario: 1) McDonald’s decided that serving greasy McNuggets in quantities of 4, 6, or 10 pieces was not quite enough, and they felt they needed to increase their highest offering five-fold. 2) Husband saw the advertisement for this and said, “What a deal!” 3) I somehow allowed Husband to convince me that we needed to buy this monstrous portion of McNuggets. 4) We ate McNuggets for three straight meals in a row (dinner one day, plus lunch and dinner the next). 5) With those portions, I consumed more Chicken McNuggets in that 48-hour time period than I probably have in the last ten years. 6) The container, the remnants of our McNugget feast, sat on our kitchen counter for five days. 7) When Husband tried to throw it away, I told him that I wanted to take a picture of it first for the blog. (He didn’t even flinch, which shows he’s getting accustomed to the bizarre things I do all in the name of a blog.) Notice I don’t even mention anything about the overload of calories and fat from each greasy nugget. Frankly, I don’t want to do the math, and I would prefer to live in blissful denial about the nutritional value (or lack thereof) from our chicken indulgence.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Marathon Training! Weeks 14 and 15

My training is starting to feel like it’s gone on forever! Truthfully, I think I actually started my training a little bit too early, since the marathon isn’t until mid-November. But, I’m taking advantage of the extra time and scaling back my long runs a bit, so I don’t burn myself out before the big race day. Last week wasn’t so bad, but this week was tough. Specifically, my long run yesterday was really hard. My neighbor, a fellow military spouse and runner, is also training for the same marathon. We haven’t run together much - she usually runs in the evenings when her husband is home to watch the kids, and I usually run early in the morning. My friend is really sweet, and she must also be very persuasive, too, because somehow she managed to convince me that it would be fun to run 10 miles on a track! (That’s 40 laps! On a track!) We drove to base yesterday morning, and we started out on our run. The first few miles weren’t bad, and we’d stop every few miles to drink Gatorade and take a few bites of bananas. My friend runs faster than I do, but somehow I managed to stay on pace with her. Then the sun started beating down on us, and those last few miles were torturous. It was so hot that I felt like I was running with a wool blanket wrapped around me! I had a running dialogue (no pun intended) with myself trying to figure out a way to stop running without looking like a quitter in front of my friend. Finally, after running 9.5 miles, with two laps to go and little strength left, I told her I was going to walk. I came home with blisters on my feet and my spirit defeated. I started to question why I wanted to do this marathon in the first place. I cried to Husband that I felt like an imposter and a fool for thinking that I could take my non-athletic self and run a marathon! Thankfully, he made me feel much better. I’ve learned that this training – just like anything else – will have its up and downs. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t compare myself to others. I’ve learned that I shouldn’t lament that I’m not a natural athlete, but I should be proud that I’m trying to run anyway. And finally, I’ve learned that, no matter what, the track is just not my friend! I’ll stick to running through my neighborhood instead.