I swear I wasn’t stealing!

I was set up!

We all went into the Dollar Store together & came out. Of course as soon as I got to the car someone had forgotten that we needed something.

There I go unwillingly but spot those always present fake bouquet of flowers on the way in grab a bunch and go inside the store.

Grab my other stuff and notice while in the checkout like it was a bit thin and spotted missing buds. The cashier politely says, “ma’am you can just get another one.”

I walk out look through the various flowers, cock my head to one side halfway satisfied at my choice and stick in it my plastic bag.

Immediately I feel eyes on me and feel a bit awkward because I realize I just stashed flowers in my bag from the outside. I should be walking slightly faster than normal. I had my receipt but felt like I’d been spotted in one of those “what would you do shows”.

For some reason when there were NO people going into the store there were half a dozen on the way out. It’s late why aren’t these prying eyed judging people at home?! I swear I wasn’t stealing!

I get back to the safe haven of my car. My fears were confirmed and laughter erupts inside as my family had been watching my every move. I literally produce the receipt thankful I took it not knowing I’d need to show to the jury. :/

Not nice family. Moral of the story: Next time make Anthony go back inside and be secretly accused of stealing.

If anyone wants an old man and two pre-teen girls they all can cook and clean.

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Friends & Sister wives

Yes I said it. I have sister wives & friends. It started out as a joke but then upon looking at it more closely we’ve found slight differences. I think we all have them in one way or another. Nothing extreme or anything she’s just that supportive shoulder to lean that you click very easily with without hurtful drama; like a sister. Sometimes it can be just one and sometimes it’s a fluid cluster with wives coming and going as the Marine Corps sees fit. This Marine wife can relate to your plight more so than civilians and even your own family sometimes. So you see she’s more than just a typical friend she’s a sister wife.

Friends are great and everyone has lots of them whether they are acquaintance friends, high school facebook friends, twitter follower friends, work friends or neighbor friends. Friends might say hi and ask a rhetoric question expecting an empty answer. You & this friend don’t really have much in common but you’re cordial. A sister wife would know if something is up with you. She tries to pull you out of a funk when the guys leave for training and stops by for coffee to cheer you up every morning. A friend would ask to stop by chit-chat and leave. A sister wife knows your schedule so she drops by & doesn’t have to but will (after coffee of course) help you clean your house before the hubs gets home from out of town just because she knows you’re trying to do 1 million other things. The saying “it takes a village…” applies here but not only with kids because when you’re on the verge of emotional breakdown a sister wife will take your kids for the evening so you can run a warm bubble bath and relax before biting everyone’s heads off. If anything but having a sister wife will give you an excuse to visit your friend in Hawaii when you have to PCS to Arizona.

All of us are in this for a few years and some shorter than others so I see people’s apprehension in getting close to folks you’ll move away from eventually. Like the Marines though your support system is only as strong as those standing to your left and right beside you. Ladies being the only one in your support system is lonely and you’ll need life lines every now and then even if it’s just to vent. Regardless of the wife drama stigma out there please mix and mingle out there with some remarkable new life long Steel Magnolia sister wives.

New Year in Sacramento then stuck on the Grapevine!

I hope everyone had very blessed past few weeks! It has definitely been a roller coaster of emotions, expectations, and events on this side! We stayed at home for Christmas. We went to the movies to watch True Grit and Gulliver’s Travels. True Grit by the way was as good as it was going to get without John Wayne in it. Anthony and I liked it and it was pretty close to the original one.
We decided on a whim to head to Sacramento to see family for the New Year. Overall the trip was fun and we had a great time! The weather didn’t cooperate and it rained almost the entire time but it was a lot of fun catching up with everyone nonetheless. Sometimes California can be wetter in some months than others and also I hear (now that we are home) that we are in an El Nina climate so it will be an interesting next few months.
This was my first drive up the West Coast so I didn’t quite know what to expect.  We left rainy and windy Oceanside at 0430 on the Thursday before New Year’s to head up the I-5 North; we stopped only 3-4 times and made record time by getting there around 1130! It was a quick trip, I was psyched about the drive and I couldn’t believe it was so fast! It was almost identical to traveling to Texas except the gas stations are a lot higher priced and there are less cow farm smells. I found out along the way that there is this one huge mountain (the Grapevine) that goes on and on and weaving in and out of these huge inclines. As I continued up this massive thing the thermometer on the rental car continues to decline. The kids were oohing and pointing because there was snow just a few hundred yards away from them. I noticed I was about at a half of a tank and so I decided that we should stop since I didn’t know when I’d be able to stop again. At this point I didn’t know if we’d ever get out of this mountain! It seemed like forever but I saw a sign for a city called Gorman and stopped at a Shell station. On the dash it said it was 27* outside and I am wondering whether we should get out to use the restroom or should we wait until it’s warmer on the other side of the mountain. I knew the dog wasn’t going to get out in that weather so I left him there in the car, open the door to step out and almost bust my arse getting out of the car trying to stand up!!! OHHHH MAN! I couldn’t believe I almost ate it hard on slippery ice!!! REALLY! UGH!  Anthony thought it was funny! He’d already gotten out of the car. We got in the building and the attendant graciously informed us that we were NOT out of the mountain and not even to the summit yet!!! I knew we had to get out of that cold ass place as fast as possible! HA HA!
Sacramento is beautiful! It has a lot of history and one way streets! LOL! We had a lot of great food and I learned a few things!  We had great time and enjoyed seeing Anthony’s for the New Year! It was too quick of a trip so we’ll be going back very soon! We didn’t get to go by Travis Air Force Base to check out their base or even go to Oakland, San Francisco or anywhere where Man vs. Food went! A friend also told me that in San Fran there is a Marine Corps hotel that gives deep discounts for active duty so that would be awesome to just get pictures of!
Getting back from our visit on 01/02/11 was a completely different story! Coming back we knew the weather still wasn’t going to be the best of conditions so we bought snow chains and had blankets and food in case we got stuck or had to sleep in our car. We drove on the I-5 South until we saw a sign that changed our plan of action. At Coalinga about 2 hours away from the massive mountain (almost home for us) one of those large “Weather Alert” signs displayed that the Grapevine was closed! So we called his Aunt in Sacramento, who’d been tracking our progress to let her know the latest development. We agreed with her that it might be best to spend the night and gather a new game plan. The trick was finding a place to stay at. I was almost positive that everyone on the congested I-5 had the same idea as we did and so I wasn’t very hopeful that we’d get a bed for the night. Well, thankfully I was wrong! Good ol’ Motel 6 was vacant and we were able to get our next plan together. We decided that even though we were off of the JCT 198 that it would kind of be back tracking so we would try to go further down the I-5 to the JCT 41. It wasn’t something that I was happy about considering that I’d never driven this road and didn’t know what to expect on top of the fact that just fear of the unknown can be stressful when driving with some of the most important 2 and 4 legged people you know in the car!
Nonetheless it had to be done so here we go on the road again like Willie Nelson at 0430 again the next morning. Surprisingly there was no traffic and not even really any rain to slow us down so I was almost overly optimistic! After about 30 minutes on the I-5 South I see the exit for the JCT 41 and exit. I saw lots of lights, gas stations, restaurants and cars. I continue on the JCT 41 which is only a two lane road and slowly but surely everything starts to disappear. I see even less lights and less gas stations, less restaurants and only one set of brake lights in front of me. I realize that I am driving up a large hill but cannot see anything because it is pitch black! No street lights, highway lights, or anything. Oh & as I notice all of that there are also NO shoulder guards or even a real shoulder on this very narrow stretch of road! JUST GREAT! Just when I thought it couldn’t get more nerve racking on this unknown road I start seeing upcoming signs.
The first was “High winds” which wouldn’t be too bad if I would have been in the day time able to see the oncoming car and descending drop off to the left and right of the road but I’ve dealt with those conditions before so no biggie.
Then I saw “Flooded” and I thought okay well that’s promising. I don’t know if it was a sign left over from the previous rains or if it is a caution to watch out for huge puddles that I couldn’t see if I wanted to because it was completely dark!
The next one was “Dust Storms”. This was when I realized how insane I was for driving on an unknown road to me so early in the morning for the first time ever. Jokingly, I told Anthony to start keeping track of them because honestly where were we that we could possibly encounter all of these weather situations at once!
We then came upon “Falling Rocks” which was another AWESOMEEEEEEE in my book because once again I couldn’t see said ROCKS falling from who knows where! One of the last I remember was this amazing obstacle course looking sign. I had never seen anything like it and felt like I was in one of those arcade games playing the car game in the Indy 500!
Thankfully we were able to navigate our way through the chaos and came home in less than record time but it was an adventure none the less.
That was a trip that we will never forget coming back that unknown and mysterious way. I feel more confident in my driving abilities now and will be looking forward to our next adventure very soon! It’s always good to experience or learn something new but hopefully we’ll have a little more time to better prepared next time. We’ll let you know how the next trip goes!

Dress Code and Marine Corps Events…

Oh it’s that time again ladies…..our superbowl, our Golden Globe Awards, Our CMA’s…let the hairspray and spanx hold on tight here we GO!

First of all did you know on base there is a civilian dress code?  I KNOW scandalous!  I would’ve never thought in this day and age grown adults would need to know how to dress appropriately while walking into the grocery store aka commissary but I’ll roll with it.  Did you know? Your Marine is responsible for your actions, attire and lack of attire at events whether you are on or off base & whether you’re married or ‘just friends’.  We’ll go with the rule of thumb:  If it’s written in here it’s because it’s been done before & to what extent the backlash of the attire categories varies from command to command & will never truly be known but can range from simple razzing and stares all night to being asked to leave an event with a formal follow-up meeting afterwards.  This is simply to inform those who are not aware not condemn but I never said it wasn’t entertaining. 😛

Hopefully you like going to events.  Hopefully you’re a semi-modest, rule follower.  Since there are plenty of events & rules to go along with those events in this Marine Corps lifestyle.  There will be events for you and your husband, just your husband or just you are invited to for many reasons it could be for the entire unit, battalion, a base function, a personal or private ceremony or an organization event. Whether it is announced through email, a flyer or in a formal mailed invitation make sure you look at the desired clothing attire on the invitation. If it is not written specifically call the hostess, event organizer, FRA (Family Readiness Assistant) or FRO for more detailed information. The Marines will know what to wear because their command will tell them more than once. There are a few options for the women though.  Here we go:

Formal Attire aka Marine Corps Ball: ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY WITHOUT EQUIVICATION FORMAL MEANS  Tea, Ankle or Floor length Formal Evening Gowns ONLY!  Don’t be ‘THAT GIRL’.  If you are you are forewarned you may be asked to leave and at the bare minimum will be made fun of & always thought of like that by your peers, your husbands co-workers and bosses.  There is always at least one at every formal event.  This isn’t Amish life so steer clear from making anything yourself.  This also isn’t the Victorian era, flapper era, or your wedding.  As cool as they are it’s probably not a good idea: mini-skirts, nip slip dresses, combo-red, white and blue dresses, too tight dresses, high slits, dresses that require pasties, only have strips of fabric covering your ta-ta’s or would require baby powder before you ‘slip it on’.  Combat boots are optional.  No seriously, leave those at home.  You’re not going to a biker bar or to the field.  We all want to be comfortable but theres a line between sliding off your heels under the table and being disrespectful of the occasion.

Please rememer we are a part of the few, the proud, the Marines not in a costume contest or a group member of the Pussycat Dolls, Jersey Shore, Toddler’s & Tiaras, Kardashians, the Real Housewives or an extra on Magic Mike or Striptease think about not only yourself but your husband when choosing attire for a formal function.

Good dress…BUT…ummmm Okayyy

Combat Boots & RIPPED Crocheted panty hose

Change of Command/Retirement Ceremonies:Attire for Ladies: Dress  although I’ve seen more Business Casual

California Casual: Consists of Skirt, Khakis, Shorts or Nice Jeans (no ripped, torn or faded items)

Conservative Casual/Business Casual Attire for Ladies: Crisp Pants, Skirt and Modest Blouse

Depending on where you’re stationed will dictate the above information and can vary from time zone to time zone. Unless it is 120* do not wear a mini-skirt to a formal event; not only is it against the rules and inappropriate but some senior Marines and wives may call your date/husband out in front of everyone or off to the side and get in trouble because of something that could have been avoided by following the rules.

Other expectations include:

Make sure that you “repondez s’il vous plait” or RSVP meaning, “please respond” so that the hostess will know how many to account for regarding seating and food. You wouldn’t want to throw a party at your house and invite 40 and only 10 RSVP so you cook for 10 but 50 ends up at your house. So out of good manners and respect for the hostess and command please RSVP!

Another big thing at Marine Corps functions is to show up on time. Generally this means 15 minutes before the actual start time to get situated in the room, say your hello’s and find your seat.  If you’re late to a Mess Night or something similar you may not be allowed in until a break & then have to pay a fine of some sort.

Expect to socialize in one way or another.  Do NOT have your cell phone on and if it has to be on for emergencies please put it on vibrate. They typically remind you before any ceremony to turn it off out of respect for others. You do not want to be the one whose phone rings an inappropriate or loud ringtone during colors or other sacred ceremony. You’re husband/date will NOT be very happy with you.

Also, when the flag is passing, the National Anthem or Marine Corps Hymn is playing or the Pledge of Allegiance is being said as the spouse or parent of a Marine, it is customary to stand as well and place your hand over your heart.

Most importantly just have fun & take pictures!  🙂

Things to NEVER ask a Marine Wife…

 -Author Unknown; found floating around on the internet…awesome though & I added some of my own quick wit to some of these
Things to NEVER ask a Marine Wife…
1. “Aren’t you afraid that he’ll be hurt?” (This one ranks in at number one on the “duh and NO SHIT” list. Of course we’re afraid. We’re terrified. The thought always lingers at the backs of our minds —but thanks alot. brilliant, you just brought it back to the front. Maybe next you can go ask someone with cancer if they’re scared of dying.)
2. “I don’t know how you manage. I don’t think I could do it.” (This is intended to be a compliment. Though, its just a little annoying. Here’s why: it’s not like all of us military wives have been dreaming since childhood of the day we’d get to be anxious single moms who carry cell phones with us to the bathroom and in the shower. We’re not made of some mysterious matter that makes us more capable, we just got asked to take on a challenging job. So we rose to the challenge and found the strength to make sacrifices.)
3. “At least he’s not in Iraq.” (This is the number one most annoying comment for those whose husbands are in Afghanistan. What do they think is happening in Afghanistan? An international game of golf? )
4. “Do you think he’ll get to come home for Christmas/Mothers Day/anniversary/birthday/birth of a child/wedding/family reunion, etc?” (Don’t you watch the news? No! They don’t get to come home for any of these things. There are no personal time off days, sick days, or any civilian things like that. He cant call in to work. Please don’t ask again.)
5. “What are you going to do to keep yourself busy while he’s gone?” (Short answer: Try to keep my sanity. Maybe there’s a military wife out there who gets bored when her husband leaves. For the rest of us, those with and without children, we find ourselves having to be two people. That keeps us plenty busy. We do get lonely, but we don’t get bored, and drinking massive amounts of wine always helps keep me busy.)
6. “How much longer does he have until he can get out?” (This one is annoying to many of us whether our husbands are deployed or not. Many of our husbands AREN’T counting down the days until they “can” get out. Many of them keep signing back up again and again because they actually love what they do or they VOLUNTEER AGAIN and AGAIN to go back to Afghanistan b/c there is work that needs to be done.)
7. “This deployment shouldn’t be so bad, now that you’re used to it.” (We do learn coping skills. We figure out ways to make life go smoother while the guys are gone. But it never gets “easy” and the bullets and bombs don’t skip over our guys just because they’ve been there before. The worry never goes away.)
8. “My husband had to go to Europe for business once for three weeks. I totally know what you’re going through.” (This one is similar to number two. Do not equate your husband’s three week trip to London/Omaha/Tokyo/etc. with a 6-15 month or more deployment to a war zone. Aside from the obvious time difference, nobody shot at your husband, your husband could call home pretty much any time he wanted to, and he flew comfortably on a commercial plane. We do not feel bonded to you in the slightest because of this comment and, if anything, we probably resent you a bit for it. Comparing a 12 month combat deployment to a few weeks business trip is like comparing a Hyundai Excel with a Mercedes convertible.)
9. “Wow you must miss him?” (This one also gets another big “duh”. Of course we miss our men. There are some wives who do not and they’re now divorced.)
10. “Where is he exactly? Where is that?” (I don’t expect non-military folks to be able to find Anbar Province on a map, but they should know by now that it’s in Iraq. Likewise, know that Kabul and Kandahar are in Afghanistan. Know that Muqtada al Sadr is the insurgent leader of the Mahdi Army in Iraq and that Sadr City is his home area. Know that Iran is a major threat to our country and that it is located between Afghanistan and Iraq. Our country has been at war in Afghanistan for seven years and at war in Iraq for five years. These basic facts are not secrets, they’re on the news every night and in the papers every day —and on maps everywhere.)
11. “Well, he signed up for it, so it’s his own fault whatever happens over there.” (Yes, ignorant, he did sign up. Each and every day he protects your right to make stupid comments like that. He didn’t sign up and ask to be hit by anything, he signed up to protect his country. Oh, and by the way, he asked me to tell you that “You’re welcome.” He’s still fighting for your freedom.)
12. “Don’t you miss sex! I couldn’t do it!” (hmmm, no I don’t miss sex. I’m a robot. seriously…military spouses learn quickly that our relationships must be founded on something greater than sex. We learn to appreciate the important things, like simply hearing their voices, seeing their faces, being able to have dinner together every night. And the hard truth is, most relationships probably couldn’t withstand 12 months of sex deprivation.)
13. “Well in my opinion…..” (Stop right there. I didn’t ask for you your personal or political opinions. Unless you’ve walked in my husbands shoes or my own you have no idea how we live or feel…keep it to yourselfCivilians have no idea on this subject so try not to interject your thoughts and opinions into my life.  The negative and emotional comments are counterproductive so don’t even say them!)
Last, but not least….
14. “OH, that’s horrible…I’m so sorry!” (He’s doing his job and he’s a complete bad ass. Don’t be sorry. Be appreciative and please take a moment out of your comfortable American lives to realize that our Marines/soldiers/airmen/sailors fight the wars abroad so those wars stay abroad.)
If you want to say anything, say thank you. After all, we are sexually deprived for your freedom 🙂

First Friends…

One of the first of many bright spots of my experience in on base in Cali was meeting one of my #firstfriends my neighbor, Stacie! When we first moved into our house we BBQ’d a lot with charcoal which I’ve learned is not what most people use in this state.
We’d been here maybe a month or so through the billowing smoke of my BBQ pit in our patio I saw my neighbor just one door down who was also partaking in the Sunday BBQ tradition. She politely said hi and asked where we were from. (That question is one of the first things most Marine Corps spouses ask one another…and most are from the South and tend to stick together throughout changes in units, duty stations, states, and even change of countries!) I quickly responded being probably the first person not related to me by almost shouting “TEXAS!!”
She laughed and said that her husband was from there and from a town very close to my home town! Needless to say, we hit it off; she took me under her wing and helped teach me how it is on base, the cool things around the city and all the juicy gossip on our block. Stacie is a native Californian; she was one of the first to prove my initial theory wrong about Californians. She completely blew my prior misconception out of the water that not all or even most people who live here are mean, rude, standoffish and not cordial it’s just some that just so happened to give off an awkward first impression on me.
Stacie was a proud Marine Wife, a spunky young lady and at the time mother of two cutie pie boys. She’s an energetic cleaning machine, with all the latest and greatest tips on almost everything! She taught me how I have to use Lemi-Shine in my dishwasher since the water on base is full of calcium. She also taught me the best places to find deals on everything from groceries to retail stores here in Oceanside. Her husband is a great guy and one of the first encounters of a Marine besides my own husband! We spent many a afternoon watching her husband and our kids slide down a hill on cardboard boxes that is cushioned right behind our houses that leads up to another street with more base houses.
Stacie introduced me to my next partner in crime, Maggie who was the my neighbor in front of my house on the block. Life was perfect for a while.  Stacie & I & Maggie either at each others house or out on the culd-a-sac with the kids, having coffee or texting each other from inside our houses.
Things never stay perfect in the military.  Stacie’s husband eventually got out of the Marine Corps & cross decked to the Army. They’re now in on the East Coas.  We still keep in touch and when she’s in town we try to get together for fish tacos and good conversation every time!  She was my very first friend on base, she loved me for me & supported me when I needed it most whether she knew it or not.
Maggie was a Navy wife, mother of a handsome son and beautiful little girl. I know what you’re thinking Navy wife, what are THEY doing on a Marine Corps base & on my block.  LOL!  It was a new concept to me too but at the time I didn’t know that Navy, Marine Corps, Army, ect all comingled on the same Marine Corps base. LOL! Silly I know! I was severely uneducated on the issue but learned everyday! Maggie is another one instrumental to my initial progress and blossoming here. She’s another good example of a great person whom I couldn’t have gotten where I am now without her influence. She’s a ball of energy I could barely keep up with at times. We found out not too long after we met that our husbands were both in the same unit and that they would be deploying together. This cemented our friendship even more since we’d be going through very similar emotions and situations at pretty much the same time. Maggie’s a lighthearted nature girl from the Northwest with German roots very much like myself.
Since both of these ladies lived across the street or next to me if I needed anything I’d just go get it from their house. I loved being able to walk 20 steps from my house to see a friend who was a lot like a family member. Like Stacie; Maggie expanded my knowledge of my surroundings. We were inseparable pretty much from the start. Since I didn’t have much to do and before I got heavily involved in Anthony’s unit I babysat her kids while she went to work. It all was a lot of fun!
Once again the perfectness changes.  Maggie eventually moved from across the street to a brand new house on base only about 10 minutes away from us. She’s gotten reacquainted with her passion of painting and also into photography. She has a very good eye for the best shot. I don’t know if Stacie and Maggie realize how much they helped me get out of my funk, feel comfortable in this place and get me out of my shell. They are some of the most funny, energetic and outstanding ladies I know and we will be friends for many years to come.
Once I got to know more about my surroundings, the FRO (Family Readiness Officer) for Anthony’s unit, people at the girls’ school, and baseball practices I got to know so many other unique and interesting ladies like Angela, Gaby and Jackie to name just a few.
Remember that as Marine Wives our lives may be different but we share a common bond and all our stories are so very far from over…
The family I’d grown to love in Texas is there and always will be but Stacie, Maggie & the people in this photo are just as much family to our family.  Everyone in the picture below was active duty Marine Corps in 12-2010 & since then each couple’s lives have changed in one way or another.  Keep reading to see how my fellow marine wife friends cope with the ever changing Marine Corps lifestyle.

Christmas 2010…Norris’, Arriaga’s, Doyle’s & San Miguels