Tuesday, January 25, 2011

so I am late. sue me

yes I admit I have failed horribly.   I had an attack of neat the other day and  I ended up filing all the cards.   hell I have mailed a couple out already.  I hang my head in shame.

Warning: Pity Party Ahead

So, my birthday is Friday.   I will be..over 40.  I have had many Birthdays from hell, starting in 1986 on my 18th.   for those of you not old enough to remember, that was the day the Challenger exploded, pretty much ending the United State's dominance in the Space Race.  other  equally 'fond' memories include being stuck in a  small apartment with the boy friend, his  estranged wife their young son and not a working car between any of us.  Then there was the day I had to pack out all our worldly belongings alone.. not knowing for certain whether or not John would  actually get back from the  so last minute it isn't funny underway( don't ask, long story) in time to actually detach from the command in Japan so that he didn't lose his San Diego Orders.  (side note. this was ALSO the time Sachiko ended up boxed and crated and halfway to Yokohama before rescue).  Birthdays tend to suck past 12 anyway.   I just prove the point pretty much on a yearly basis.

 to be fair there have been NICE ones.   dinner at Melting Pot is a highlight I look forward to as often as feasible.  yeah   not this year..or next for that matter.  Many years ago I pretty much told John to quit spending $100 a pop on flowers so I no longer get  even that when he isn't home.  Oh I expect I'll get a mushy card or three and a cute one or two but we've pretty much given up on the whole present thing.   if we like something, we buy it.   Like my Kindle.   we tell each other that the large expensive things.. like plane tickets from Okinawa are present enough .

 We lie.   We pretend that it's practical and presents on the actual date don't matter.. whether it's Christmas, or a birthday or an anniversary.  We tell tall tales about how we are fine with waiting until April to take a cruise and that 'counts' for Valentine's day and my Birthday and gives partial credit for (step)Mother's day.

We lie because we don't want to appear selfish, or vain, or petty.   We lie because it isn't seemly to want material goods.  But in our deepest heart, we feel sorry for ourselves.  We want our husband HOME dammit so that he CAN take  us out to dinner.   We want to be able  to open a gift wrapped package that he gave us with his own two hands, not  ordered from 7000 miles away.  Or said we could buy ourselves.

So yeah, we  crawl into a little ball and ignore the world for a few weeks and only come up for air if we are forced into it(or run out of eggs).  We put on a brave face to our friends and relations  so they don't see how much it hurts.  We don't want to appear weak.

We lie.   a LOT.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stay tuned

 coming soon: all the cards we worked on at Saturday's shoebox swap.  maybe some gossip.  you never know...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Well whaddya know

it actually snowed enough to be worthy of the designation.  As someone who basically grew up in Upstate NY, that means at least an inch deep on all surfaces.  of  course we don't start really counting until  it's closer to a foot.  We laugh derisively when we read about them Southern States with their paltry 9 total snowplows for a moderately sized  population center.    growing up, my NEIGHBORHOOD had that many.  Everyone owned either a snowplow or had one of them mounted on their truck.. or knew somebody who did.  or in the case of my sister...married somebody who did.   Love had nothing to do with it, she just wanted lifetime oil changes( P is a mechanic) and to never have to shovel out a driveway again. ( she even went so far as to have all boys so that when P is otherwise not around she still has manual labor.   Smart chick)  

At some point I may decide to  shovel my driveway.   what's annoying is my side of the street does not get sunlight during the day in the winter, yet directly across?  all my neighbors have already had their driveways melted away with no effort on their part at all.  so unfair.  as long as there is no threat of icing over,  I'll be fine.  and I am getting picked up Saturday to go out for the day so I suppose that it would be nice if M had a place to park the car.

my GF A( Hi A!) is one of those insane people who actually likes this crap.  so much so that last spring/summer she bought like 4 or 5 snowsleds at the local Thrift store.  she spent at least part of the morning out there sledding on the hill behind her house.  (her only reason for having kids was an excuse to go sledding without getting funny looks from the neighbors. Don't think it would ever stop her though)

My Kindle adventures continue.   finished the first novel: Secret Diary of a London Call Girl.  loved the TV show.   Book was good too.    Now i am on a new series, another Vampire one.. but alas, no angsty boys with sparkles.   this is about a middle aged woman who becomes a Private Investigator after being attacked and turned, and struggling to keep her marriage intact and still be able to pick up the kids from school despite bursting into flame if she so much as steps outside in daylight.  So far, not bad.  her current client is a werewolf so I worry it will descend too far into cliche'.

Stay warm!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Christmas cards

Yes.  In January.   make 'em now, not rushing come Thanksgiving.

 This design was blatantly stolen from Mary G.   No glitter, but I did add the snowflake brads instead.   oh and I skipped the sentiment in favor of ribbon(* yes, ribbon!)  and went with DP instead of the CB folder.   The Felt snowflakes are from a few years ago  so yay me for using up stuff!
 Okay this looks terribly washed out but it's the least offensive picture.   This cute snowman couple  was the last of it's kind hanging on the wall in Amish Country.   Kathi wanted it, but I got there first.   I am letting her borrow it next weekend.
The inside of the snowcouple card.  It will be perfect to send to the spousal unit.

A week into the new year and I already have close to a dozen cards made.  Let's hope I can keep this up!

Yeap, Kindles ARE awesome

mine arrived not ten minutes after I bitched on FB about the fact that Brown had not yet seen fit to grace me with my delivery.   works every time.

want an endorsement?

 BUY A KINDLE.    seriously.   no worrying about losing your place.   hell you can even  channel my husband and read multiple books at the same time and it keeps your place automatically.  if you are terribly cheap( or just broke) there are hundreds of thousands of ebooks available freefernuthin'. and some of them you may actually read!   Ever wanted to read ALL the Oz books?!   now you can.  (what, there's more to Dorothy's adventures than the movie version?!.   yes, Scarecrow there is a whole series by L Frank Baum centered on the Emerald city and it's environs.)  Pick a classic that you were forced to read in school.. and all the ones you liked to read anyway.    They are available.   I started with Austen.. I have never read any of her works but have seen most movie versions.   I also have my perennial favorites Dracula and Frankenstein.  and soon I will break down and get my beloved Poe.   and if I can find some  ClassicGothic, so much the better.   Oh Castle of Otranto, where Art Thou?!

page turning is a joy.. one handed and no dealing with a cat who insists on getting in the way.  screen wipes clean.. no more spattered pages of spilt coffee.

My only half regret is I backed down from my original plan to buy the cover with the built in light as I had read several reports of it shorting out the kindle.   last night I could have used it although I was able to read without straining too much( bet the new glasses had something to do with that)

Squidward is going TAD next week.   he gets to finally  get back into the game.  he's all sorts of giddy at the prospect.   he'll never come right out and admit this to me, but he really misses sea duty and being underway.  he gets to  do his job with real time feedback.   I don't mind when he's gone, we both like our alone time.   2 years is a bit much, though.   luckily we have begin plotting for a 3 week jaunt to Okinawa around Christmas next year.   Hope my Cat sitter  is up for a long term gig.   but she'll be well compensated with Japanese goodies when i get back.

since we got twice as much snow today as we did the other day( an entire half inch, at least) it's kinda a grey gloomy day.   I have therefore resolved to do some laundry, make some cards and maybe, just maybe, start trying to  figure out how to load photos on the Mac.  The blog needs illustrating.

* had to admit defeat.  Loaded Chrome.   I may only use it for  Blog stuff since google doesn't seem to play nice with Safari.   Guess yesterday being able to sign in without issue was a fluke.  but it was either that or bail on the whole blog concept.   not quite ready to break a resolution this soon.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Kindles are awesome

and I don't even have mine in hand yet.   Due tomorrow.  We like it when Brown comes a callin'.   usually means good stuff in the boxes.

My Sister got an ereader(not Kindle) for Christmas and I had been already intrigued by them before.   saw a Kindle in person at a friend's  and decided they weren't redundant after all.   Hmm, load several hundred books into something the size of a paperback;  small enough to stick in your purse for airplane rides( hey I have one coming up in December soonest that will be like 12 hours long!)  FREE copyright expired classics like Poe and Shakespeare and Austin?!   HELLO~~~~ English Lit Major here!

Used up  all our CC rewards to buy $350 worth of Amazon gift cards.  that covered the kindle, the plain black cover( may get fancy someday but went basic for now) and I started buying a few books.   Yes I downloaded Twilight.  Sue me.   Also downloaded the three Doonesbury books that chronicle  BD and Toggle's injuries in Iraq/Afghanistan.   Yes  you can buy comics for Kindle.  and I even sprang for  the first in a new series that I found that looks to be half  Janet Evanovich- esque and half Angsty Vampire-ish.

and I still have money on the account for future purchases.  hehehehe.

Now if only Kim and and I can figure out how to swap books with each other.....

*Blogspot/Google/Gmail does not like me.   I am having to reset my password every day no matter what I do.  not sure how to fix it and the contact us button is completely useless.   whose bright idea was it to  force you to ask your question in a forum setting  then hope to hell some random person who does NOT work for Google can address the issue you are having that is specifically NOT addressed in any of the  FAQs and whose step by step instructions lead you right back to where you were already...having to reset a password that you just reset a day before, and WROTE DOWN to make sure you weren't futzing it up?  Do Not make me download Chrome for just Google related stuff!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


That may or may not actually be kept...

The secret is making realistic ones and then actually, you know, accomplishing them.  

I have a few this year.

1: lose 35 pounds on Weight Watchers.   I  joined it once before in San Diego  while John was deployed and  liked the concept.   what I didn't like was the in person meetings.. one part hard sell "buy this cookbook/scale/drink mix" and one part too damn chipper for your own good positive feedback.   This go round, I am doing it strictly online but have a few friends who are doing it too.   To that end we are  gonna share WW friendly recipes in a swap and  we are going to try and bring WW friendly  dishes to our swaps. I WILL learn to like veggies again.   I  make no promises in regards to salads.

2: make Christmas cards all year round.   Did it two years ago and it was AWESOME..  making  a few each month was soo much nicer than waiting until October and then panicking.   Also didn't get tired of the same card over and over.   the first year I ever got into card making, I made 100 cards.. the same design.  sure I did it in stages, but by the end of it I so loathed the stamps and punch I used that I sold them  immediately.   and now I miss them.   Go figure.   but now I have about 15 or 20 stamps that are holiday appropriate so I can vary my designs and keep form getting burned out.   I actually made some today.   And if I figure out how to add pictures to the Blog, well you'll get a sneak peek.  actually, lemme rephrase.. once I figure out how to add pictures to the new Mac i will add them here.

3: actually keep up with the Blog regularly.   Once a week minimum.

4: Pay OFF my student Loans.   This is well on track, I have about $9000 left of a $26K beginning balance.   This will be a two fold resolution.   by paying them off this year, I can  use the money set aside  to do so available next Spring when John returns and we have to buy a car.  The bigger the downpayment, the lower the monthly payment.   and with gas forecast to reach $5 or more a gallon by then we are gonna need all the extra cash we can get.

5: Rein in the crafty spending.  Hard to do when you live an hour from a Ribbon outlet and 2 from Amish country, have friends who sell SU!, are design team members of  other companies and generally suck you into the latest new toy.  Back in the fall, I looked at my Girl Cave and realized I had too much stuff and  had no idea what a good third of it was.   Every year, SU! has this big sale where you get free stuff for spending money.   I have promised myself that once I place that order, NO MORE  stuff that is not a consumable..  I can replace adhesive, cardstock and envelopes, but I can't justify buying another stamp set when I have 12  on my shelf that have never seen ink.  which leads me to...

6: Use what I have up first.    Last year SU! reorganized their colors and got rid of a bunch.   so I resolved to use up the discontinued colors.   I also will force myself to use all those cute embellishments  I have lying around, all that DP taking up space and I WILL use each new stamp set at least once.    can't quite bring myself to use ribbon on every card yet.   baby steps.

I'd also like to avoid breaking any bones this year.  You know, just because.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How to Stay Sane During Deployments or Unaccompanied Orders

Rule One: surround yourself with friends.   GOOD friends.   Don't limit yourself to on base.. or even the same Branch in the case of a Joint base like Ft Meade.  Find Civilian friends too.   they may not 'get' Military life but you are depriving yourself if  you surround yourself with only military spouses.  They don't have to all have the same interests.  Although it helps to find something in common.   You know, like Stamping.

Rule Two: do NOT sit around moping all day wallowing in self pity.  Worse.Idea.EVAR.  being gloomy is okay.. for like 24 hours.   Then suck it up, untwist your big girl panties and get over it.   (you only get 12 hours if you have kids. 6 if  they are in diapers)

Rule Three: do SOMETHING.. anything for YOURSELF ALONE.  at least once a week.   even if it's nothing more than locking the bathroom door for an hour to keep cats, dogs and kids out and you sit in the tub and read.  I recommend Janet Evanovich for a laugh.. and Stephanie Meyer for some adolescent romantic fantasy.  and Sparkle.  I am all about the Sparkle.

Rule Four: succumb to the inevitable: join Facebook or Myspace.  Now I don't necessarily  advocate  playing every stupid Zynga app offered, but  these social networks are a great way to stay in touch, reconnect and find new friends.  I have found  people I went to grade school and high school with, and  am still in touch with  friends from various duty stations.

Rule Five: Get OUT of the house.   sign the kids up for a play date.   sign yourself up for a playdate.   meet somebody for lunch.   Go shopping at Hobby Lobby together.    watch Twilight Marathons.. at home  and in the theater( only 350 some odd days!)

Rule Six:  Rediscover the fine art of letter writing.   yeah, emails and IMs are great.. but what happens when he is in the field for weeks at a time?   Handwritten letters( okay you have permission to type them on the word processor if your handwriting sucks)    can be carried anywhere.  and re read ad naseum.  Extra points if you send handmade cards.

Rule Seven: give back to the military community.. somehow.   Volunteer to watch the next door neighbor's toddler one afternoon so she can take a nap.   Donate your time at Fisher House.   Make a Welcome to the Command basket for the new arrival.  Offer to teach a class at MWR.

Rule Eight: be grateful when somebody helps you out.  and don't be afraid to ASK for help when you need it.  that used to be my biggest problem.. Since I don't drive, I can be stuck when it comes to basics like grocery shopping.

Rule Nine: don't take advantage of the kindness of others.  Pay if forward, or back.  Somebody fixes the laptop your husband screws up 30 minutes before leaving, bake him cookies.  His wife will love that she didn't have to.

Rule Ten: never let on to your spouse that you  are an emotional wreck.   he doesn't need reminding or the guilt trip.  He's not exactly thrilled either, you know. if you must vent, do so after you are done with the anger/depression.

Rule Eleven: set a goal for yourself.   It can be big or small.. Lose 30 pounds, read 20 books, run a half marathon,  Finish organizing the shoebox full of pictures of your wedding 15 years ago.  But something attainable  while your spouse is off saving the Universe.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New year, New Start

January 1st.  It's as good a time as any to begin something new, right? So, let's begin.

Hello, my name is Dawnmarie.

*crickets chirping*

Yeah, figured as much.   No biggie, I don't expect this to be the next big thing.   In fact I don't expect to have any subscribers at all except a few friends who also have blogs and the occasional pity one from a family member.

so even though the only people I expect to ever read this already know too much about me, I shall bore you all to tears with My Biography.

or at least, the reader's Digest Condensed Version.

Who am I?   not going to get all existential on you, I am not that cruel.   Suffice it to say I am mere weeks away from my 43rd birthday, am happily married to a US Naval Officer, have a degree in English Lit and am currently living alone.

other details include me being a crafter of sorts(mostly card making), a cat lover and new Mac owner(as of 2 days ago)

background: 2010 SUCKED.   no, really, it did.   I knew the year was gonna be hell when the BWA triangle got hit with Snowmagedden the week between Christmas and New Year's  last year and things went belly up  and never recovered.    I failed my over seas screening so John( the aforementioned Naval Officer) ended up having to move to Okinawa alone.   as in withOUT me.  or the cats.  for TWO YEARS.  Yeah I know, it beats being shot at in Afghanistan or Iraq.   he's done his time in the desert.. in fact he had just come back just a few months before having to go to Okinawa.

I will spare you the boring self pitying details, but highlights include breaking my arm when visiting him in Japan last October.

This Blog will attempt to chronicle  year 2 of our separation, interspersed with pictures of some of the cards I make all year( one personal goal is to make Christmas cards all year long so as not to be stuck  next holiday season with no time),  laments about living with Arthritis & without a driver's license, the cute stuff my cats do( and their annoying stuff too) and all my plans/hopes/wishes( like, say, losing 35 pounds, getting to Hong Kong Disney, taking at least one cruise and generally surviving the year)