Friday, December 30, 2011

Confession of an Ohioan turned Southerner

I have a confession to make.  I’m dying to see some snow.

Yes, I moved down here so I could enjoy milder winters and avoid harsh, icy, snowy, freezing conditions, but the truth is I still think snow is beautiful (at least for the first day or so till it starts to get slushy and brown), and I need to see it at least once a year to get my fix.  Also, I bought some snow boots and I need to justify the purchase :)

I was spoiled by last Christmas, when we actually got a snowstorm IN North Carolina, and enjoyed a long holiday weekend hibernating and waiting out the weather.  That’s why I fully expected to see snow when we were home celebrating Christmas with my family two weekends ago.  Alas, we saw flurries the first day we were there, but it wasn’t cold enough for it to accumulate.

Now, I’m hoping for snow when we visit JD’s family in Michigan at the end of January…. But not so much snow that we get stranded somewhere.  And not overly cold snow (as in, the nostril freezing kind).  Ideally, it would be just below freezing and we’d get snow the day after we arrived and it would melt by the time we left- enough snow that I could utilize my snow boots and feel like I got my fix. I hope the weather gods are reading this, because I fully expect them to accommodate ALL of MY wants.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, December 16, 2011

‘Tis the Season

This will go down in the record books as the longest work week in history because I spent most of it in anticipation of tonight, when we will be leaving for Ohio.  I’m so, so excited to see my family, and to celebrate the holidays.  In honor of those things, I’m going to list some of my favorite things about Ohio (and the holidays!)

*My family (duh!): Because they love and support me unconditionally, because they make me laugh, and because JD thinks our endless list of inside jokes is extremely strange.

*Graeter’s Ice Cream: It’s local to Ohio so most of you probably haven’t had the honor of tasting it.  It’s homemade… and amazing- totally worth a trip to Ohio.

*Christmas shopping: I LOVE buying gifts for other people.  In fact, I find it harder to stay on budget when I’m shopping for other people than when I’m shopping for myself.  I just like finding things for people that I know will make them happy… and shows that I know who they are and what they like :)

*The Ohio River: When you cross the border into most states, all you really get is a sign that indicates you are crossing some invisible barrier, but when you cross into Ohio (from the south and part of the east at least), you cross the river.  There’s something that makes the border crossing extra-meaningful when there’s a visible indication of the state line.

*White Christmas (movie) and any Christmas music sung by Bing Crosby:  It’s what I grew up watching and listening to.  Bing Crosby reminds me so much of my grandpa (they even sound the same when they sing).

*Cincinnati Chili: Some people think it’s weird that we make chili with cinnamon and chocolate and put it on spaghetti.  Those people are wrong.  It’s delicious.

*Gift wrapping: I LOVE wrapping presents so much that I hand-make all my bows.  I’ve even offered to wrap presents for other people… for free.  In a recent Facebook conversation, my sister and I decided that I’m the pimp money present wrapper.  I think I found a new name for the blog…

*Wine: Especially delicious when enjoyed with your family in front of a warm fire.

*Big breakfasts: In NC, my breakfast is usually fruit and some granola, but when you’re home celebrating the holidays, breakfasts (my favorite meal of the day!) are usually large and over-indulgent.

And last but not least, I love that most of my list is bragging about how amazing Ohio is or how much I like to eat while I’m there.

Happy Holidays everyone :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Husband Served Our Country… Now I Reap the Benefits

It takes a lot of sacrifice to serve our country, but there are also a lot of benefits too.  These benefits are shared with your spouse and family, who stood by your side while you served.  Or, in the case of JD and I, the benefits are shared with the girl you met post-deployment with only 6 months left of active duty.

Yeah, I feel like I cheated the system in some way.  To be fair, I didn’t marry JD because he was a Marine.  In fact, that almost prevented me from going out with him in the first placebut I still feel like I reap the benefit of being married to a veteran even though I missed the heartache of deployment and all the other stressors that go along with being a Marine spouse.  In fact, I practically missed his Marine Corps career all together.  Hopefully being a police wife counts for something.

While JD was in the police academy, we both benefited from the GI Bill that supplemented our income.  When we bought our house, we breezed through the loan application process and got approved for a VA loan.  After seeing the hoops my friends have had to jump through for their home loan, I’m now realizing how easy we really had it.  JD gave a kneecap for those benefits, but I swooped in at the very end, just in time to enjoy the rewards.

Most recently, we got invited to Asheville for a Toys for Tots event hosted by the uncle of one of his police buddies.  Since Toys for Tots is a Marine Corps charity, the uncle wanted a couple of Marines in dress blues (formal uniform) to help with the event.  Oh, and he threw in a free weekend at a 4 star hotel in Asheville.

Um, yes please.

We’ve been out to the mountains several times, but we haven’t had a chance to explore Asheville yet, which we’ve always wanted to do.  Asheville is known for being very artsy, very laid back, and very focused on what my family would call “hippie things” like green living and locally grown food.  It also happens to be vegetarian friendly, which I appreciated.  (And since I don’t believe I’ve mentioned this before, yes, I’m a vegetarian, which, according to my family makes me a hippie, so Asheville is a good fit for me and my hippie lifestyle).  The thing I loved most about it is that there’s this totally open-minded vibe there… like you can be exactly who you are and fit right in.

Our hotel suite.  We got a 2 bedroom suite with a common that we shared with the other couple we went with.  Not bad, huh?

Here I am at a delicious restaurant near our hotel called Pack’s Tavern where they’ll substitute any burger with a black bean vegetarian burger.  Hippie-tastic!

The Toys for Tots event.  They encouraged people to “drive-thru” on their way to work.  The event was a success, exceeding their cash donation goal and filling 3 tubs with toys!

And here is JD getting interviewed for the local news.  He’s famous!

Love my man in uniform, always and forever.  And not just because of the perks :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hate Is a Four Letter Word

I didn’t really want to go here; I wanted to ignore it.  Why?  Because I don’t like thinking about these things.  I try to block it from my mind because the reality is too scary.  Yet, I’m compelled to say something today.

I’m sure you all heard about the VT shooting.  Not that all shootings aren’t sad and senseless, but it’s hard for me not to take it personally when it involves a police officer.  Especially when the police officer wasn’t even doing anything but sitting in his car.  Or, in the case of a local Sheriff’s Deputy, trying to arrest someone for doing something illegal AND having a warrant out for something else. Both men were fathers.  Both were spouses.  And now both families had a loved one taken away… for what?  It makes me sad for the families, and angry at the shooters, and scared for JD, and just sick in general.  Literally sick to my stomach.

As a population, we have a tendency to think we know everything there is to know about everything.  We hate things we don’t even understand.  But there’s so much we can’t fully comprehend until we’ve experienced it- living in war zone, poverty, disease, working at a highly under-appreciated but dangerous job, etc.

There’s so much running through my mind that I don’t think I could really articulate all the things I want to say.  Instead, I’ll let fellow blogger Brooke do it.  A fellow police wife posted this to Facebook today and I’m grateful, because I don’t think this type of thing is said enough.  I don’t know the author, but I appreciate that she shared this.

Hate all you want.  Hate the things you don’t understand.  But until you’ve lived it, you have no idea what you’re talking about.  End of discussion.