Friday, February 26, 2010

SLEEPOVER CITY

Tonight, Baby Girl has two of her BFF's over to spend the night. Sarge is on duty this weekend, so it is all Girl Power around here.

Check out all the fabulosity that is going on at Ft. Franks (if you can see through the grainy video the flip took in the dark):


video

Boom Boom POW! And now for something a little sweeter:

video

Taylor Swift would be proud!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Deployment Nostalgia

The guys from Sarge's unit will be returning home from Afghanistan sometime this weekend. (I know when it is, but there's this silly thing called OPSEC and if the Taliban happen by my blog, I can't risk them knowing when a group of Army Cav Scouts may or may not be returning to the US.) Anyhoo... Watching my friends prepare for the return of their soldiers has me reminiscing about the last deployment they returned from almost four years ago.



Nostalgic about a deployment. I totally need therapy.




It was 2006 and Sarge and I had met on Match.com during his deployment to Iraq. After four months of constant communication via telephone, webcam and email, this man I had never laid a finger on but had fallen so completely for it was ridiculous, was coming home. To me. In the flesh. SWOOOOOON.



Up to this point I only had the sound of his voice, the power of his words and a grainy smile over a webcam to go by. We sent TONS of pictures back and forth. This was the first one he ever sent me.





If he got any more rugged and manly looking I probably would have died on the spot. A handsome man, in uniform, wearing sunglasses and carrying an M-16? I mean COME ON!



A few weeks before coming home a mysterious package arrived in my mailbox. Sarge told me to be sure to have it in my purse when I got to Ft. Stewart to meet him on the Parade Field. At least once a day he checked to make sure I remembered that I was to put the package in my things for Ft. Stewart. Being a blond from birth, I totally appreciated these reminders.



After the welcome ceremony, the sea of uniforms and family members parted and MY soldier locked eyes with me and literally RAN into my arms. We hugged, kissed and cried. Then he said into my ear in his deep gravelly voice, "Nice to finally meet you." I could have dropped dead on the spot and then gone to heaven completely happy and fulfilled.



But, no, this tough, rugged, handsome soldier is a true romantic at heart and after snagging the package out of my purse without my knowing when first hugging me, he pulled this move on me...


got down on one knee, in front of all those people and asked me to be his wife. All I heard was a woman screaming, "OH MY GOD HE'S GOT A RING!" Flashbulbs went off and we were on the front page of the Savannah newspaper the next day. Thank goodness those reporters were there, because I have one heck of a photo to help me remember that night and that feeling forever.

And you were wondering why I was nostalgic about coming home from deployments to war!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dog Portrait Entries


I entered a Photography Assignment on the Pioneer Woman website. The assignment is for dog portraits. This is the photo I chose to enter yesterday.I realize Baby Girl is in this one, but it was so candid looking and captured both her spirit and Elwood's so completely. I love the lighting. It was during what is termed the "sweet light" of sundown yesterdayl. Yes, they are in the absolute center of our road. Luckily, we live in an area remote enough that this doesn't matter 98% of the time!



I plan on entering this portrait of Elwood today. It is during the same "sweet light" time. He's a handsome man, no?

Please let me know what you think of these. They are taken with a simple "point and shoot" Kodak camera. I don't have Photoshop, so obviously they are untouched. I'd love to know your opinions!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Peaceful, Easy Feelin'


This morning I swam. I swam for almost an hour. I swam 20 laps. I swam backstroke (because water gets up my nose doing freestyle these days - stupid pug nose!). I swam with the kickboard. But mostly, I just swam.
I was the only one in the pool for the majority of my swim. While I occasionally obsessed over the amount of water I was obviously displacing all by my lonesome, mostly I just exercised, felt my body working and pulling itself through the water. I counted my strokes. I worked on breathing slowly and consistently. I thought a LOT about my life and where I want to go from here. It was incredibly peaceful and totally good for me.
When I was pulling myself out of the water I felt like I had the long, lean swimmer's body I had long ago.
Then my feet hit the pool deck and I looked down at myself. "Well, damn!".

Monday, February 22, 2010

JWism #1

I moved this over from Momsbuzz, where my blog used to be, because a)It's funny as hell and b) I needed something light to follow-up that Debbie Downer post of mine earlier tonight. Enjoy:

JWism #1
First, let me tell you who JW was. He was "Daddy" to my hubs, The Sarge. JW was a Master Sargeant in the Army, served in WWII and Korea, and retired to mule farming in rural Alabama. JW passed away before I ever met The Sarge, and I feel like I missed out on lots of fun. Periodically, I'll be adding JWisms to my blog, mostly because I'm stuck about what to write, and these are true southern gems! (If you get offended by these sayings, I'll apologize now. JW was no saint, and neither am I!)

JWism #1:
"That boy's happier than a sissy in a dick tree."
Interpretation: That boy is really, REALLY happy.
(Don't say I didn't warn you!)

Happy Monday,
Dona

In Case You've Missed Me...

Remember me?
(Ignore that cheesy man on the left. It's just Sarge.)


As I sit here and type this, I have finally unburdened to a friend how I've been feeling the last several months. I feel pretty good about getting it off my chest, but now worry that it will soon be all over Madison (since that IS the small-town way). She would never tell to hurt me or spread gossip, simply tell out of wanting our other friends to know what I've been going through, add me to their prayer lists, etc. Since I let the cat out of the bag to her, I might as well write it down here. Share it with whomever chooses to read this or happens upon it by mistake.





It all started in August. I had been working at a job for friends as an Administrative Assistant, where an I.T. guy and an attorney shared me. It wasn't high paying. It wasn't high stress. It paid me enough for our family to have dinners out and trips to concerts and such. It was incredibly family friendly. These guys know me and know that during the week I am the lone parent to my child and as such have to be there to drop off/pick up/volunteer/go to the doctor, etc. My parents are fabulous about helping out, but I have this thing about being the one to raise my child. But, I digress.





In August, my I.T. guy lost a major client. This eliminated the funds he had to pay me to do what it was I did. I was going to have to start working part-time for the attorney. Which was fine. The Army was continuing to pay my husband well to do a job he loved. Then, two weeks later, the attorney I was working for (who specializes in real estate law, and we all know how well the real estate market is doing) decided that he could no longer afford to keep me, either. I hold absolutely no anger toward these men. This is business and with this economy, I totally understood that the part-time help had to be the first to go. And besides, the Army was continuing to pay my husband well to do the job he loved. I decided I would just stay home again and look for something to open up, as it always has tended to do for me.





Then, my husband's orders ended. And the State of GA decided they didn't have the money (yet) to continue him on similar orders. They would be happy to pay him for day-to-day work while a Technician position came available with the D.O.D. He worked everyday for those four weeks of October. Everyone told him he'd be on orders before he knew it, they'd pay him for the days he worked, and if nothing else the Tech position with the D.O.D. would come through eventually. While all of that was worked out, my family went without income (other than my child support for Baby Girl) for SIX WHOLE WEEKS. And when all the money finally came in, there was a week of pay that was lost somewhere in the system and has never been made up. He had to take the Tech position (which to be truthful is the more steady position, you don't have to rely on someone to decide that you need to be on orders, it is just a job). This Tech position pays pretty much what he was making before. With. One. Huge. Exception. No housing allowance. The housing allowance for my husband's pay grade equals about $15,000 a year. THAT pays our mortgage, folks.





So, since November, we've been playing a mad game of "catch-up" with bills, etc. Just when it seems we are there - BOOM - something else hits. I know this is life, but I've had about enough of this, and I'm waiting on my Lottery Win to happen anytime. But then, I'd have to waste at least $1 on a ticket for the lottery, and I've gotta tell ya, that just ain't gonna happen.





Since October/November, I have basically shut myself off from all my friends in Madison. I have been embarrassed and ashamed because I can't do the things that we've always done together. Lunches out. Birthday presents. Little trips out with our girls. I quit going to Bible Study, Sunday School and Church, because at any point, I might just bust into tears and then everyone will want to know what's going on with me. I'll tell them and then spend a week or more worrying that I spent what little time we had together with it focused on me and my problems. I don't want to be the subject of later conversations, and I do constantly wonder about if I really have friends, do they think of me as a friend, blah blah blah. (I have issues from High School. I still struggle to move on from those issues. I need therapy.)





When I have seen my lady friends out, I try to always be smiling and have "the jokes". On FB and Twitter I'm full of one-liners and how excited I am about seeing my husband. I've told no one that this financial struggle has taken its toll on my 3 year marriage, and though we are still very much in love, we are both stressed and strained and have actually fought alone and in front of our kids (and we swore we'd never do that). We have talked and talked about things and our marriage is as strong as ever, and it's a good thing... cause we don't have the money for outside attractions. It's just us. And as it has always been, "just us" is pretty darn good.





I guess to end this, I should say that in general I am pretty happy. Thanks to my wonderful parents, we will never do without and we will always have a roof over our heads. We are lucky. So many have lost their homes.





I told my friend this afternoon that today was an "I opened my bedroom curtains type of day", because so many have seemed so dark that I have holed up in my room and wanted to disappear in the darkness. I am determined to move through this and I want to do it with my friends at my side.





I am writing this today to get all of it off my chest and to move forward from here. I will either find a job or not. I am seriously considering going back to school to be a nurse, because I am and always have been a caregiver at heart. Mostly, I just want to put it out there to say, "If you haven't seen me much, this is where I've been." I'm doing everything in my power to get back in my social and church activities. And hey, we can sure eat lunch together, but I've got some salad and sandwich fixin's at my house. Let's just head over there!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Favorite Picture from our Snowstorm Last Week



Isn't this gorgeous and serene?








I'm going to try to remember it like this when I have to mow around all those trees and rake up all those leaves next fall.
But for now, YUMMMMMMMMM.

Snowpacolypse 2010 (Middle GA Edition)






As I sit and type this it is a sunny 70 degrees outside. Last Friday night, enough snow and ice fell in middle GA to make the world stop. Hard to believe, but that's life in the South.



Anyway, last Friday night was the annual Daddy/Daughter Dance at our local Rec Department. Baby Girl was all dressed up and waiting for Sarge and Sugarpop to get to Madison from NW Georgia where Sarge works and Sugarpop lives. He left at 4 p.m. to make a drive that normally takes two hours. Baby Girl was sittin' on G, waitin' on O.




Isn't she just gorgeous? New dress, hair in rollers for almost and hour and even had on mascara and lipgloss. If she wasn't ready for that dance, I don't know who was!



But as it inched closer to 6 p.m., the time for the dance to start, Sarge was no where close to home. The snow and ice had slowed the interstate to a complete crawl, because y'all KNOW we can't drive in a few flakes of snow down here. He called and said, I'll be lucky to make it there by 7:00, but if you'll iron my clothes, we'll get there and do this thing! Then it started getting darker and colder and the roads started to ice up. Needless to say, even trying his hardest, Sarge didn't make it home in time to take our two girls to the dance. Baby Girl cried, and I cried a bit too at her heartbreak, but Sarge promised he was going to take all three of his girls out for a fancy dinner on Saturday night to make up for missing the dance. Everyone was expected to wear pretty dresses and the corsages that had been bought for the girls for the dance. After that, Baby Girl perked up a bit and looked forward to morning when she could play in our close to 4" of snow.









The girls were up and at 'em early the next morning, making snow angels and getting soaking wet and freezing.



There's Baby Girl on the left and Sugarpop on the right. They tried making a snowman and this snow just wasn't wet and sticky enough to work, so they decided to make a "wall" out of snow. I called it the wall to defend our home Ft. Franks. Trust me in this small Mayberry of a town, that wall is about all the defense we need!


But, anyway, the girls got to play, we had hot chocolate and a fire in the firepit out back and roasted marshmallows. Fun was had by all of the Franks and we got to go to that fancy dinner Saturday night, too. Only, there are no pictures of that, because I am "Mom of the Year" and forgot my camera.
Hope all of you got to have fun out there in it, too!




P.S. Black Dachsies named Oliver HATE, HATE, HATE the snow.