Friday, October 22, 2010

Champagne Friday: On the Road Again

I feel like I'm always traveling on Friday. Last Friday, I took Mama Virgo to IKEA and she repaid me by taking me to The Cheesecake Factory...and Trader Joe's. Today, I am leaving town and heading back to base, just in time to run my Race for the Cure in Macon tomorrow morning with the Air Force Posse. But I wanted to post something for Champagne Friday as I've been a little hit-or-miss lately.

So, to celebrate, let me tell you about Michael's yesterday.

Usually, everyone is in a big hurry in craft stores. I'm not sure why. I try to go when I have several hours to kill. I plan my trips to Michael's and Hobby Lobby like I plan my trips to Goodwill...lots of time to dig through everything, mix and match ideas, and try it all on for size. But, I will admit, there are times when I just need one thing and I know exactly what it is. And then, I think I could probably be classified as someone who is in a hurry. Most of the time, the cashiers are very's the customers that make me wonder what is wrong with the world. If one cashier suddenly opens her register, instead of the next person in line stepping over, it's a rush of carts...with children left behind to fend for themselves and a trail of body parts...the limbs of those who couldn't move fast enough. This is only a slight exaggeration. You would think the cashier was handing out winning lottery tickets to each customer in her line.

Sometimes, mothers have pushed a child's patience with beading and scrapbooking just a bit too far and it is in the check-out line when he/she finally melts down to a puddle of goo and tears. This usually comes justafter they have asked for the candybar/PopRocks/pen with a pom-pom lid and silly face/a spool of ribbon with puppy paw prints. "No" is the answer...and then it starts. I generally try to let that woman go ahead of me...for the sake of all of our sanity. It is pretty rare that I actually have a completely pleasant experience in the craft store.

Until yesterday.

I just needed one thing and I knew exactly what it was and where it was. And I needed to get out of there so I could check that off my to-do list and haul ass and Mustang across town. As I stood in the ever-growing line, silently wishing I had one of their coveted 40% off coupons, I overheard the woman at the register telling the woman in front of me about how she really needed to organize her purse, but hadn't had time because her son had been sick...blah...blah...blah. I almost always tune someone out who starts telling me their life story at the check-out line. Mostly it's because I don't want to get stuck in the parking lot being their sympathetic ear. I have just enough of Mama Virgo's Therapist gene in me to entice someone to just let it all out.

Let me stop here and say that I realize this is not Christian-like. We are put on this earth to take care of one another, whatever those needs are. I am working on this attitude of mine. If the woman in front of me at Target needs to tell someone about her mother with cancer, I absolutely should stop and listen because there is a reason that I'm with her, in that time and place. So, I'm working on it. Like my life, it's a work in progress.

Anyway, the woman in front of me, being more Christian-like and kind, listened and sympathized. The cashier told the lady she could only use 1 of her 3 40% off coupons each day. So, instead of putting the other 2 items back and using her coupons later, she turned to the 2 of us and said, "Would you like a coupon?" HELLZ YES! And then I felt like a big slab of crap. I had totally tuned her out and she turned around and gave me what I wanted the very most in that moment. I thanked her and mentioned how I was just thinking "Darn! I REALLY wish I had a coupon right now."

The next cashier over opened up his line and the woman in front me, with her arms overloaded, turned to me and said, "you go on. I have a lot and you just have that one thing." There was so much nice going on, I thought my heart would explode. So, I walked up to the cashier and paid for my one item with my 40% off coupon and practically skipped out the door.

I keep thinking about the experience and the idea of paying forward a kindness. As I go through the weekend, where I'm bound to stand in lines, sit in traffic, and talk to many people, I hope to find a way to share this stranger's kindness repeatedly.

Happy Champagne Friday, lovahs! Cheers!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Not Even Close to Wordless Wednesday: More Army Fun

I have gotten several comments regarding my blog over the past week.

"I love the Army pictures!"

"Thanks for sharing!"

"Wow, your blog is bright. I mean...whoa...BRIGHT!"

OK, that last one was from Mama Virgo. We were driving to IKEA last Friday (how my mother had never been to IKEA until last Friday is beyond me. I feel like I failed her as a daughter. And a human being. But just like when I introduced her to Goodwill, there will be some fall-out from this discovery...most likely in the form of throw pillows and closet organizers.)....and she said, "Wow, your blog is really bright." Yes. Yes it is. Allow me to explain.

When pretty pixie with the pink toenails is chillin' at the top of my blog, I don't get any Google analytics because it's not a Google template. Not that I obsess over visits or numbers, but I would like to know if anyone from Malaysia is hitting my blog or if someone found me from googling "Army slut wears jock strap for wine tasting." Y'know...that sort of thing. So, I grabbed a template that was quick, easy, and...PINK! And here it will stay until I have 7 minutes to sit down and figure out something a little more customized. My apologies to those who must wear sunglasses to view my blog these days. And you're welcome to everyone who no longer has to grab their reading glasses.

I hate that I'm currently writing about once a week. And's supposed to be Wordless Wednesday so, technically, there aren't supposed to be any words at all. But I'm finishing up last minute touches on the KY condo before I head back to Georgia at the end of the week. Besides, I think y'all were really digging Neal's training photos last week and since that's approximately 75837% more exciting than what's going on here, I'm bringing you part 2. I am absolutely certain that you would rather see men in uniform (which is second in sexiness only to men in baseball pants), carrying large guns and rolling around on the ground than hear how I found the perfect striped throw pillows at IKEA or hung bourbon distillery pictures in my dining room.

So...Happy Wednesday to all. And now I give you....our U.S. Army....

This would be 50-cal training. I don't know about you, but I've never seen a man with a gun that large hold it that close to his little soldier.

Walking while firing a weapon. Much harder than walking while chewing gum and walking while texting. Slightly less difficult than walking while tying your shoe.

This picture reminds me of that episode of Designing Women where they take the women's self defense class. The entire 30-minutes they are saying, "And what does she say?" "She says NO!" Fists up, assume the stance, be ready to kick, scream, or run like hell. But a soldier never runs. Although they do play Retreat over the loud speakers every night. What is that about?

How amazing that as far as we've come in modern warfare over the past 40 years, we are still throwing grenades. I mean, they are inherently dangerous, what with the tiny pin with a tiny loop that could get caught on anything and all. But here they are...throwing grenades and running for cover. May as well attach a firecracker to a carrier pigeon....

Urban tactical ops. I reeeeaaallllyyyyy hope Neal never needs this skill. The men I know who have returned from a tour of knocking down doors and securing houses are never the same. They are your PTSD and TBI soldiers. They don't walk around in the dark and they jump at the sound of fireworks. But wouldn't the training be kind of fun? As long as you know there isn't someone with a bigger gun waiting on the other side, I mean.

I guess this was the walk-through. They do it for real today. Whatever for real means....

I think Neal is beyond pleased to be out of the classroom and on the move. And he's getting close to the end of this mobilization...which is good. Apparently if the chow hall decides there aren't enough soldiers to feed that day, they just shut down. Without feeding anyone. I can't even count all the ways that's wrong. Good thing Neal loves a tasty MRE!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Because I Have to Be

When I gave you all the option to choose between a military blog and a travel blog for my second Blogger project, you guys were pretty much split right down the middle...with a large number requesting both (y'all know that I only have 24 hours in the day, just like you, right? And you like it when I come visit your blogs regularly, yes? OK then, oh demanding ones, I can't do two. But I'm flattered that you would want 3 separate websites with my ramblings floating around the www). So, I'm going to turn some Wordless Wednesdays into Military Days because, unfortunately, the less said in print about what goes on around here, the better. I will give as much detail as Captain, my Captain, will allow. There are also some fun Army rules that can be revealed without endangering our troops in any way....such as...if you are killed in the line of duty and you have sick time, you cannot collect on that sick pay. Well, good to know. Thanks for clearing that up.

So, today I bring you training photos. I can't say who or what or where...but Neal is posting them on his Facebook page, so I assume they are safe for general consumption. And I asked him last night. And he said, "sure. Just don't say who or what or where." So...there ya have it. Happy Wednesday! It's a great day when Chilean miners see the light of day and Kentucky sees precipitation fall from the sky.
PS...I think it is a definite sign that I've been on Twitter too much when I have to resist the urge to hashtag all of my final phrases. Maybe it's time for a vacation from the Twat.

Neal's bed. Not quite a king, but it's not the unforgiving rocky earth, either.

Preparing for....anything and everything.

Assume the position!

Weapons....aimed at the flag??

We've come a long way since the bayonet.


Upside down HMMMVEEE!! At least if it ever happens, it's not completely shocking.

This is that part where we whistle and sing "out on the range...."

Praying over weapons...or what looks like praying over weapons. I'm going back to bed because I gave myself food poisoning with pizza last night. Usually, when I do that, it takes me about 6 years before I can eat that food again. If it takes me 6 years to eat pizza again, I may actually drop to single digit pants sizes. Unless I replace it with a filet-o-fish.

Happy Wednesday, lovelies. I hope you enjoyed today's slide show. It was Army Strong! Hooah!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Taking Inventory...a Couple of Years After the Fact

It's an azure, cloudless day with temps topping out around 80. A perfect day for betting at Keeneland (which just opened yesterday. There is very little that I love more than opening weekend at the horse races...) or tailgating at the UK vs. Auburn game (yes, we will get our asses handed to us in our helmets, but whatever. Defeat is best served with a keg of Miller Light...), or checking out the World Equestrian Games that end this weekend. But I'm camped out in my courtyard, covertly watching the neighbors and their 3 daughters from Alabama unload everything that you move from house to house. It's a voyeur's game...peeking out from Audrey Hepburn sunglasses to see what bedding they brought or how much you can actually squeeze into the trunk of an Infiniti. But, it's Saturday afternoon and I'm also catching up on blogs. This is the perfect place to be.

And while getting caught up on all things blog, I ran across Shana @ Fumbling Towards Normalcy's post, "I'm older than 30, but..." Glamour published an article ages ago about everything a girl should have before she's 30. Since Shana and Krysten @ After I Do have been taking stock this weekend, I think I will, too. Somehow, not accomplishing an item on a beauty magazine's list of what I should have accomplished by the age of 30 goes down better on a sunny, temperate day.

1. One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you've come.
I actually have this one in spades...and by "spades" I mean ex-fiances. I have an ex-fiance who, I think, could have worked out if we had been older when we met. I also have several who remind me that I'm not a punching bag or a back-up plan or the other woman. I am actually more grateful for painful as the entire experience was.

2. A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone in your family.
The only decent furniture I have ever purchased myself was a bed when I moved to Arizona, and really, it was not that decent according to normal people's standards. It was the mattress, box springs and frame for a twin bed. Hardly luxurious. As a married woman, we have purchased loads of beautiful and expensive furniture (thankyouverymuch, Operation Iraqi Freedom) and now, family heirlooms are actually in the minority.

3. Something perfect to wear if the employer/man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
Unfortunately, my body is clinging to those last 20 pounds like Bret Michaels is clinging to his last last last 15 minutes of fame. So, I don't have either of these. I have some fantastic jewelry, a couple of pairs of pants that either give me muffin top or camel toe, and a rockin' new haircut. That's what I have right now. Cellulite and highlights.

4. A purse, a suitcase, and an umbrella that you are not ashamed to be seen carrying.
I have all three of these, thanks to our Italian vacation...which required an umbrella and a suitcase and scored me an Italian leather purse. And my PSA for the day: Apparently, you can take a lighter to real Italian leather and it does not scorch, mark, or otherwise destroy your handbag in any way. Also? I will never again buy a suitcase that does not have 360 degree-turning wheels.

5. A youth you're content to move beyond.
Yes, yes, a resounding YES! I was a brat and a bitch.

6. A past juicy enough that you're looking forward to re-telling in your old age.
I think the story of how I met and fell in love with our children's father is as juicy as my past needs to be. Well...that and that one time at band camp. No, seriously...there really was this one time at band camp...

7. The realization that you are actually going to have an old age - and some money set aside to fund it.
How funny that this pops up today, less than 48 hours after a lengthy conversation with my investment broker. One word, boys and girls...Roth. Not as in the David Lee variety. As in the "pay taxes on it now, reap the rewards later" variety. This is not as fully funded as I would like it to be, but as long as the Army keeps us employed, I think we'll be just fine.

8. An email address, a voice mailbox, and a bank account - all of which no one has access to except you.
Check, check, and check. I definitely think a credit card should be added to this list. Have your own credit card. Pay your own credit card with your own bank account...Miss Independent.

9. A resume that is not even the slightest bit padded.
Uh..well, it's not padded...but it's also not growing, either. I mean "starting a business from scratch" is definitely a strong addition. But I'm pretty sure it's more impressive if you show a profit at some point. So, let's say this one is in progress.

10. One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
I am amazingly blessed with many friends who do both of these exceptionally well. Sometimes, they let me cry and then they make me laugh. Those are the moments that make life so sweet.

11. A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.
While I fully appreciate the need for a woman to have her own tools (which do not necessarily need to be pink. C'mon women, unless it's a Race for the Cure toolkit, we need to man-up a bit), I don't really understand the black lace bra part. Why black? Why lace? Why not something with garters or a Mrs. Claus teddy? At the age of 32, I do not own a black lace bra and I think that is perfectly OK.

12. Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
I can't think of a single thing I've purchased for myself that was ridiculously expensive. I think if you add up the money I've got invested in my scrapbooks, shoe collection, and hair, that is pretty ridiculous. But I'm OK with that because hell yes, I deserve it.

13. The belief that you deserve it.
I think I covered this in #12. But in case you skipped over it, hell yes I deserve it. I'm a good woman, a good wife, and mostly a good person (snark not withstanding).

14. A skin care regimen, an exercise routine, and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don't get better after 30.
Well, my skin care routine needs a little (or a LOT) of work and I should probably try to drink more water and less mojitos. And I should definitely be fitted for the proper bra. But for the most part, I exercise, I get lots of sleep, and I laugh on the daily. That should take care of most of it.

15. A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship, and all of those other facets of life that do get better.
I have had 32 jobs in 17 years. I love, love, rainbows shooting from my eyeballs LOVE making jewelry and rosaries. I can't imagine doing anything else. I would very much like to think this is the beginning of a beautiful career. And my marriage to Neal is typical and magical, all at once. Satisfying barely scratches the surface.

Thank you so much to Krysten for starting it and Shana for keeping it going. This was not nearly as painful as I thought it must be. Nikes await and my mini-bottles of champagne beckon. Please feel free to play along! We may not be where we thought we would be at the age of 30 (or beyond), but we are where we are and that is the best place we can be!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sip. Tweet. Repeat.

Think of today's post as a very un-blog post. Like a very un-birthday, but with less candles and more of the 140-character variety. I follow a group of trendsetting mamas on Twitter and they have persuaded me to join their 2nd Friday festivities, which includes boycotting blogs in favor of hanging around on Twitter all day. I, personally, don't care for the word "boycott" reminds me of civil rights protests and sit-ins (OK, having been born in 1978, I've never actually participated in a sit-in, but I bet Mama Virgo has! And I'm her flesh and Anyway, let's say that I'm re-directing my attention to Twitter for today's Champagne Friday celebration. I know there are a huge chunk of readers who think Twitter is simply short for "a-twitter" in..."Mama Virgo is all a-twitter about her vacation coming up next month." But actually, it's yet another social media that we young'uns have developed to know exactly when our BFFF's have hit the Taco Bell drive-thru or found a bathing suit sale at Target. It sounds a little high-maintenance, but can actually be loads of fun! So, pop the cork on some bubbly and come find me @MagnoliaMimosa on Twitter. I promise, by the end of the day, you will be completely hooked!
Happy Champagne Friday!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Signs, Signs, Everywhere are Signs

As most of you know, we have been burning up the stretch of I-75 between Lexington and Macon. These are just a few roadside signs from our travels. Sometimes, it does a person good to get past the state line and see how the rest of the world spells. Or...doesn't...

click to enlarge if you are not seeing the hilarity in any of these
Clearly, someone needs a lesson in verbs vs participles...or...something. Hey sis, help me out!

Lucky him! Mine only pees asparagus-odor urine!

This is really not that unusual to see on I-75....

Unless it's followed by this...I wonder if the late afternoon sun casts a cross-shaped shadow over the "back room"....

Oh Warner Robins Logan's...I really hope the "appitizer" is something prepared over a pit and not the result of your bus boy being tasked with changing the sign.

Happy Wednesday, lovahs! Champagne Friday is only 2 days away! And if you're looking for something pink and shiny AND want to help fight breast cancer with Susan G. Komen's Race for the Cure, come visit me at Daisy & Elm until the end of the month! Need more details? Check here. See you THERE!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Pink Campaign Launches in a Browser Near You!

What's pink and sparkles and saves lives all over? The Pink Campaign I am launching today through Daisy & Elm! I know there are girls out there who don't go all weak-in-the-knees, stars-in-their-eyes gaga over the color pink. I'm not one of them. I think I used to be one of them, but then the allure of navy started to fade and, really, nothing showcases my eyes or my hair like the color pink. I'm also strangely attracted to items that sparkle in the sun (vampires are the exception...sorry TwilightLovahs) and little pretties that dangle delicately from my ear lobes. Thus the birth of my jewelry empire (that is less like an empire and more like a very large wheel that has been slow to turn). If you bring my love of pink and my passion for gorgeous, yet affordable, jewelry together, mix it with a splash of I wanna save the world and you get...
...which starts TODAY!! It's not a giveway, unfortch...there is money exchange involved. However, if you love it and if you buy it, I will send 50% of your check to the Susan G. Komen Foundation and 100% of your check if you review it on my Facebook fan page (but I will be tempted to keep it all if you write a negative review...although...there is really nothing negative about beautiful jewelry so I don't think we to worry about that).

So, here's how it have from TODAY until Thursday the 28th (I would run it until the 31st, but Shana @Fumbling Towards Normalcy and I have to grace Atlanta and Savannah with our presence over Halloween weekend and I don't think I should be drinking and crimping. That's how people lose an eye, y' it ends the day before she arrives.). Each day, you have to come stalk me on my Facebook fan page (which is not my Facebook group page...look for the the featured item as the profile picture, not my logo, to make sure you're in the right spot) or on Twitter (@Daisyandelm) to see what the featured item for that day is. If you love it, gotta have it, or gotta gift it, email me to let me know. If you're first in line, it's all yours. Remember our motto at Daisy & Elm: There's only one of everything so...See it. Love it. Buy it. Make the other girls jealous. Once it's purchased, it's gone, baby, gone! When I receive your payment, either via PayPal or by check (or cash if you're in the Lexington area), 50% of it will go toward the big check I write at the end to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. If you love it so much that you feel inspired to review it on my Facebook fan page, I will send 100% of your payment to them. When Shana arrives on the 29th, we will have a grand unveiling of how much money you raised for this magnificent charity. Y'all came shining through for the children of Africa (which, by the way, Mama Virgo is writing her guest post...she's just waiting on some pictures of the school to arrive in her email in-box) let's do a little something for breast cancer research and pray to heaven above that we are never forced to reap the benefits!

This is not an Etsy event. Please don't go over there looking for it. With a new item everyday, I could go poor in listing fees. I hope you understand. Plus, that's less competition for your pretty pink something.

Get ready....get love. buy. support.

Nailing It

Neal loves I love a chilled glass of pinot grigio and a sunset. He uses them in practically every situation where he must explain something. Most of the time, it is an effective way to clarify one of his explanations (which, admittedly, are hard to follow sometimes...with all of the unfinished sentences and chuckling in the middle...). So, I'm used to them. And it's not like they just sprang (or is it "sprung") onto the American grammar scene...I'm pretty sure they were on the SAT's. But on the way home from KY a few weeks ago, Neal struck an all-time weird with his analogy of the $400 hammer (and let me say that until then, I had never heard of the $400 hammer analogy, which, according to Neal, was "all over the news a few years ago".... On our 8-hour drive to home #2, the following conversation took place:

Me: So, when are they going to decide if our Yellow Ribbon (pre-deployment workshop) is going to be in Macon or Orlando?
Neal: I don't know. Soon, I guess. It depends on where the other units have theirs.
Me: Oh, so our unit won't be the only one at the Yellow Ribbon?
Neal: No, we will be the only one for that weekend, but if they can have several units per month in the same hotel, then they may get a discounted rate so then they may pick a hotel that's more convenient to all the regions.
Me: wouldn't it be cheaper for everyone to have their conference in their area rather than fly everyone to a different state in order to save money on the conference room? (Let me stop here and say that I'm certainly not opposed to spending the weekend in Orlando. I would actually prefer it. I am just always baffled by wasteful spending).
Neal: Well, it's like the $400 hammer. Have you ever heard of the $400 hammer?
Me: No.
Neal: If you have a hammer that cost $20, it doesn't really cost $20 because a guy had to make the hammer and he makes $25 an hour. Then it had to be shipped and that's x amount of money....
Me: What does this have to do with how the Army books hotel rooms?
Neal: I'm trying to tell you! It's like the $400 hammer. Then this hammer has to be unloaded by the truck driver, who makes $50 an hour...
Me: Can we please kill the $400 hammer analogy? It's only confusing me. Who is the hammer and who is the truck driver in this scenario? Am I the hammer? Is the Army the hammer?
Neal: This is what I'm trying to tell you! The $400 hammer does not cost $20! It actually, in the end, costs $400!
Me: OK...I am not an idiot...I understand the analogy. I do not understand how that relates to the Army or the Yellow Ribbon or us flying to Orlando. (I think, at this point, there may have been some banging on the dash involved. Also, probably, some fairly negative body language).
Neal: I can't believe you've never heard of the $400 hammer....
Me: STOP!!! How does this, in ANY way, relate to the Army and our workshop??
Neal: Well, if I make $25 an hour and it takes me an hour to book the hotel room, then that's $25 right there, on top of the hotel room....
Me: Seriously, was that so hard?? Why does there have to be an analogy? And y'know what? Analogies only work if you understand the initial concept. Having no idea how the Army chooses Yellow Ribbon destinations or how they book hotel rooms, the analogy is useless. Why couldn't you have just said that 5 minutes ago?
Neal: Because it's just like the $400 hammer....

I think I may have blacked out at this point. Arguing with a 5-year old sometimes does that to me.