Monday, December 18, 2006

The Texas Nutcracker

Shawn and I went to see The Nutcracker yesterday. Those of you who know me well enough not only know my passion for dancing but also know that I performed in The Nutcracker twice in college. I take this ballet very seriously and it is a major part of my Christmas tradition. That being said I should have paid more attention to who was performing the version we went to see. I purchased the tickets from the local community theatre who was hosting the performance believing that one of the major ballet companies in the state would be coming here to put on the ballet. It wasn’t until I picked up the tickets that I spotted the sign that said it was being performed by one of the local dance schools. That should have been my first clue that this would be a performance I wouldn’t want to see. In Mobile, this wouldn’t have been a big deal because the Mobile Ballet always brings in professionals for the major roles and the company there is really good. Here you are dealing with girls who aren’t out of high school yet. I am not saying they were bad but they weren’t on the calibur I am used to. The second bad sign was walking into the theatre to see the sign “The Texas Nutcracker” and the oil wells painted on cloths next to the stage. I realize that I am living in a different country these days (yes, I am referring to Texas) and that Texans have their own way of doing things but there are some things that should be sacred and not messed with. The Nutcracker is one of those things. I was OK with the father in the first act wearing a bolo tie and cowboy boots. Even the uncle’s Western Magician attire was acceptable. But I had to draw the line when they turned the mice into jack rabbits and the Mouse king into a Jackalope. Then appeared Walker Texas Nutcracker galloping in to the Lone Ranger Theme Song. At that point, I realized that Peter Tchaikovsky was rolling over in his grave. Yes, they turned the Nutcracker Prince into a Texas Ranger. There is a line, people, and you have seriously crossed. Shawn probably lost most of the circulation to his left leg at that point as I squeezed it for dear life. Fortunately for me, they redeemed themselves in the second act and left the Kingdom of the Sweets fairly intact. They did however combine two different versions of the ballet and use animals to represent some countries and sweets to represent others. I have seen both ways so that was still OK. The moral of the story is…it is worth the drive and the extra money to see The Nutcracker performed in Austin by the Austin Ballet and Symphony Orchestra.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I Promise I am not Dead

OK…so for all of those people who think I have fallen off the face of the earth, I wanted to let you know that I am alive and well and busy as all get out. In the pre-MTCI days, I am the time to MySpace all day and still get crap done around the house. Now that I am working again the last thing I want to do when I come home is sit in front of the computer some more. For those of you who don’t know, I am the accounts receivable manager for a government contracting firm now. In other words, I make all the money for the company. Some might say big deal but it is. Thanks to me the company makes over 1 million in revenue every month. Anyway, on top of my job, I have also taken over as FRG Advisor for Shawn’s squadron since the real advisor deployed to Iraq two weeks ago. As if I didn’t have enough with work, I add something else to my plate that I am totally unprepared for and have no clue what I am doing. I think it will be interesting but I am wondering more and more what I got myself into. I haven’t been an FRG leader before nor have I had the time to take any of the training. Man, am I in over my head.

And then there is the church retreat. Why did I say yes to that!?! I am enjoying being apart of something at the church but I didn’t realize it would take so much time.

That doesn’t include spending time with Shawn and all the other functions I have to attend right now. So, in case you were wondering why I have sent you a comment or written back to a message, it isn’t because I am ignoring you or that I don’t like you. I just simply haven’t had the time. Very few people are actually getting responses from me right now. It is not personal and please don’t remove me from your friend list because of it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Too Funny Not to Share…Thanks Martha

TO: GOD
FROM: THE DOG


Dear God: Why do humans smell the flowers, but seldom, if ever, smell one another?

Dear God: When we get to heaven, can we sit on your couch? Or is it still the same old story?

Dear God: Why are there cars named after the jaguar, the cougar, the mustang, the colt, the stingray, and the rabbit, but not ONE named for a dog? How often do you see a cougar riding around? We do love a nice ride! Would it be so hard to rename the Chrysler Eagle the Chrysler Beagle?

Dear God: If a dog barks his head off in the forest and no human hears him, is he still a bad dog?

Dear God: More meatballs, less spaghetti, please.

Dear God: Are there mailmen in Heaven? If there are, do I still have to apologize?

Dear God: Let me give you a list of just some of the things I must remember to be a good dog.

1 . I will not eat the cat’s food before they eat it or after they throw it up.

2. I will not roll on dead seagulls, fish, crabs, etc., just because I like the way they smell.

3. The Litter Box is not a cookie jar.

4. The sofa is not a face towel.

5. The garbage collector is not stealing our stuff.

6. I will not play tug-of-war with Dad’s underwear when he’s on the toilet.

7. Sticking my nose into someone’s crotch is an unacceptable way of saying hello.

8. I don’t need to suddenly stand straight up when I’m under the coffee table.

9. I must shake the rainwater out of my fur BEFORE entering the house.

10. I will not come in from outside and immediately drag my butt.

11. I will not sit in the middle of the living room and lick my crotch.

12. The cat is not a squeaky toy so when I play with him and he makes that noise, it’s usually not a good thing.

P.S. Dear God: When I get to Heaven may I have my testicles back?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Nearing the End

I received an email from Shawn Friday that they had gotten their orders to return home. Finally this ordeal is coming to an end for a second time. I am happy to report that Shawn will be back on or around July 25th. My life can return to normal again. No more will I be the only one to deal with the major malfunctions life throws at me from the gate breaking on our fence to chasing Maverick around the living room with whatever trinket he has decided to pick up this time. How I am looking forward to having another set of hands at my house. Oh don’t get me wrong. There are many other reasons I am happy to have Shawn coming home. I just don’t think I need to go into detail about those. They are obvious. The deployments wear on you after a while. We have a picture in our office that was taken at the Auburn/Arkansas game in 2002. It amazes me to see how much we have aged in the nearly 5 years we have known each other. I would say that 2 deployments in less than 3 years would do that. I am just tired of tackling life on my own. I am ready to have my partner back. On a side note, I am being the nice daughter-in-law. I have invited my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to come to Texas and be there when Shawn arrives. I don’t mind them coming. I just wish I wouldn’t have had to extend the invitation. I would hope that she would want to be there and would be seeking me out for information on when to coming instead of the other way around. I often have to remind myself that Shawn’s family and my family are very different in how they handle things. Twenty-seven days!!!

Monday, June 5, 2006

Monday Night Boredom

So it is a Monday night during the summer and nothing good is on TV. I hate that break in television scheduling when all the regular season shows are on hiatus or reruns and the summer shows haven’t started yet. I was going to watch the Apprentice finale after I let Maverick play in the yard for a bit but it hadn’t started yet. Deal or No Deal was still on. I think I must be the only person in the world who is not a fan of that show. I don’t know what it is but it just doesn’t do it for me. My day was uneventful at most. I woke up and headed to the office to check my email and myspace only to witness the sprinkler company truck arriving. Finally I am getting my sprinkler system so my grass won’t look like crap anymore. After only an hour, their machine broke so they have to come back tomorrow. More delays! Great! So, I went shopping. I drove to Georgetown to get the rest of the napkin rings to match my patriotic summer decor from Kohl’s. So what if I got a few more things besides the napkin rings. I had to make the 30 minute drive worth my while! If you can’t tell, I am just killing time right. The Apprentice starts in two minutes.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Countdown Begins

Well, I have had a lot of people ask so I figured I would give an update on R & R. Shawn got into Killeen around 4 on Monday afternoon. The greatest thing for me was getting the phone call while in the Harker Heights Walmart (because we all know the on in Killeen is scary!) that Shawn was in fact sitting in the Dallas airport waiting for his flight to leave. The first weekend was spent in Arkansas visiting Shawn’s family. The majority of the rest of our time was working on the very long honey-do list that had piled up over nearly 8 months of me living alone in our new house. A quick trip to the village of Salado highlighted the second weekend Shawn was home. The best part of the two weeks was feeling like a family again, just me, Shawn and Maverick. After Shawn boarded his plane on Wednesday to head back, I resumed my depression shopping. However, my unemployment and the vast amount of home improvements and traveling expenses incurred during Shawn’s brief stay have seriously crimped my shopping style for a while. Either I will have to find another source of income or I can’t shop anymore. Yikes…I better get the classifieds. I am happy to report that Shawn called Friday to say he had safely arrived back at his installation and is of course struggling to stay awake at work now. The good news is based on the information Shawn told me we only have about 2 and a half months until the return of his unit. I can’t wait!

Monday, April 24, 2006

7 HOURS!!!

Yes…that’s right. In less than 7 hours, Shawn will be here! I can’t believe it. It has only been seven long months and I don’t think I can hardly stand seven more hours. That’s OK…I still have laundry and a trip to the grocery store to do. I am sure I will be plenty busy all day to. Hope everyone else is going to have as great as a day as I am going to have.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

It’s Official!

I turned in my notice yesterday. My last day at work will be the 21st. I will be officially unemployed after that until Shawn comes home and I start looking for a new job. This way I can spend some time at home this summer and not have to worry about taking time off to do the things I want to do.

Speaking of home, I spent all last week in Mobile and it was very hard to come back to Killeen. Jenny (my sis-in-law) and I made the trip to Mobile Monday morning after receiving the call Sunday afternoon that Nanny was gone. Mom tried to stop us from coming so soon since the funeral wasn’t going to be held until Clay was able to make it home. Turns out the Army doesn’t consider grandparents immediate family and won’t allow emergency leave for a grandparent’s funeral. So, Clay had to take is R & R 4 months early and made it to town Friday afternoon. The funeral was held Saturday afternoon and was a very touching statement to my grandmother’s life. Sunday morning, Jenny, Clay, Maverick and I loaded up the car and headed back to Texas. After a late arrival, Maverick, my 6 month old beagle, decided to keep me up all night.

Thank you to everyone who passed on condolences to me and my family. It was greatly appreciated.

By the way…18 days and Shawn will be home.

Friday, March 24, 2006

My Greatest Weakness: Shopping

K…first I must say I can’t believe that there is actually a myspace category for shopping so this is perfect for my entry.The time has come to admit that I am a shopaholic. Depression shopping is bad for me. Send my husband away for a year, give us extra money, and what do I do? Let me just put it this way: my house is fully decorated and I have only lived here 8 months.

By the way, I am going to shop for Cowboy Boots to wear to Denim and Diamonds tomorrow after work and the VTC. Afterall, I live in Texas now. It is only fitting that I own and wear cowboy (girl?) boots.

Now back to my point. I am the perfect shopping companion. If you just want to go shopping to leave the house but don’t really need to spend money, take me. I will do all the spending for you. I can’t help it. It makes me feel better. I like having pretty new things to look at or play with or wear. I am also guilty of finding one thing that I really like and buying several of them. Classic examples are my boots that I bought back at the beginning of fall. I loved the first pair so much I now own three pairs in different colors. But I wear them constantly. Also there are the fabulous new Investments pants they are selling in Dillard’s now. For the first time a company has realized that there are petite people shorter than 5′4″ and we need pants hemmed to fit us too. So when I discovered these pants, I bought 5 pairs of them. (Have you ever tried to find pants for someone who is 5′1″ and has a 27 inch inseam?)

So the question is, is this really a problem? I would say no because Shawn and I are very financially stable. I am an accountant after all. Being good with money is a given. However, there is the fact that I will soon be quitting my job so my income will be leaving us. Frankly I don’t worry too much about what I spend when I am working because I am contributing to the finances so I justify it by saying I am spending the money I earned. But I do have to deal with Shawn who tends to be a bit of a penny pincher at times. Not that that is a bad thing but I don’t like being told we don’t have money when I am the one in charge of the checkbook and know good and well that the opposite is true.

When my shopping habits become a problem is when I do something crazy (well not too crazy but a little on the mental side). I learned a lesson last week. Never take me to an auction. I should have known this knowing how I get on ebay but on ebay there is an auctioneer up in your face trying to get you to raise your bid. Let’s just say I walked away with a full scale spa day and we won’t talk about how much I spent on it. It was for a good cause though. The even better cause is getting to use the spa day right before Shawn comes home. That way I get to pamper myself before I pamper him.

So that is my story for this evening. Hello, my name is Julie and I am a shopaholic.

I should run. I need to get my beauty sleep. Tomorrow is the big video teleconference (VTC). I get to see Shawn for the first time in 6 months. We get to spend a whole 8 minutes talking to each other. We have had longer conversations than that when I have been half asleep or preoccupied with work. But I am not really complaining. I am just happy to get the opportunity to see his face again. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

You Can Never Really Go Home Again

I had an epithany today. I can’t leave Texas. I know that sounds weird given how unhappy I have been since moving here but I realized that although it isn’t much of one, my life is here now. I came to this conclusion while I was writing an email to my friend, Kevin. Kevin was asking me if I was still involved in theatre which is something I did in college when he still knew me and something I did at home as well. I began to think about all the things my parents and my friends at home tell me about that I would be doing if I was still there. I suddenly realized that their lives had gone on without me just as mine had gone on without them. Shawn and I were just talking last night about me spending the last few months of the deployment in Mobile after he returns back to Iraq from R & R. I told him that as much as I love my parents, I didn’t want to live with them for two to three months while I wait for him to come home. As a married woman who hasn’t lived with her parents for 5 years now, I can’t imagine living with them again. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to have Mommy and Daddy take care of me again. But some days I don’t want to babied. When you are going through a deployment like this, there are times when you really just need to be alone with your thoughts in order to fully deal with the situation around you. I have been through this before and I know myself well enough to know when I need to be alone. Mom doesn’t always get that. Besides, I don’t really want to leave my house for that long. I have enough anxiety over Shawn coming home safely. I don’t need to be worried about my house 700 miles away as well. I remember my Freshman Comp Professor at Judson (who didn’t love Dr. Dan?) telling us early in the semester that you could never really go home again. Being a college student, I thought that was true but I don’t think I fully understood the meaning of that statement until now. Mobile is no longer my home. My home truly is where the Army sends us.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Update

I haven’t really known what to do with myself the last two weeks since we don’t have can-can practice anymore. I end up spending more time at work since I am typically not in a rush to get home. I don’t really have anything interesting to tell. I am really just putting off going to bed so I might actually get some sleep tonight. For those of you who have been wondering about my grandmother, I am afraid she isn’t doing well. On top of the pneumonia, she has the flu. According to my father, she isn’t responsing well or really recognizing anyone. Unfortunately, it looks like my sweet Nanny will be heading home soon. We have been lucky to have her this long. After 96 years, she has had a full life and I believe she is ready to go. Now all I can do is wait for the phone call that I have dreaded for years.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

My Weekend

The weekend started off well but busy with Wild West Night on post Friday night. Nearly six hours later, we (the can can girls) had completed 4 performances. Ten minutes of high kicks wouldn’t have phased me in college but at 28 and 30 pounds heavier, my entire body hurt. Not looking forward to getting up for work Saturday morning, I was pleasantly surprised that I was only sore in my lower legs rather than not being able to walk at all like I thought would happen. After visits to the PX, car wash and nail salon, I crashed for a mid afternoon nap. Saturday turned out slow with me completing the night with pizza and myspace. Sunday was even slower with me hardly leaving the couch. I am close to being finished my Sex and the City Marathon. Shawn did call this morning and we were able to have a two hour conversation. I think that is a record for us for both deployments. Of course the majority of the conversation was about his R & R. We only have a month and a half so we really have to decide how to spend our time. I don’t know why I am dreading this so much. I guess I don’t want to get my hopes up about what our time will be like only to be disappointed when it doesn’t turn out how I had hoped it would. Maybe it is terrible but I don’t want to expect too much in order to not be disappointed. I know that isn’t the best way to approach life but I have learned to have lower expectations in order to not be disappointed or to be pleasantly surprised when things turn out better than expected. I know you are thinking I shouldn’t be disappointed by my husband but I am afraid that it is the ones you love the most that often disappoint you the most. You feel that because of their special stature in your life they should know you well enough to know what you want without you having to say that. Some couples may be to that point but I believe I can thank the Army for us not being to that point. We just haven’t had the time as a couple that we should have. I am also worried about how I am going to handle the other side of the coin. I am used to Shawn not being here now. Am I going to have to readjust when he leaves again? Will our life return to normal only to be disrupted all over again? I just don’t know if I can continue to go through all of this. To top everything off, my grandmother is back in the hospital. I am stuck in Texas and there is nothing I can do. I don’t even know if I will get to see her again.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Girl Scout Cookies

I finally got my Girl Scout Cookies today after ordering them ages ago. Right now I am sitting here with a box of tagalongs and a Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper. Just what I need the week before Wild West Night. I order 4 boxes of cookies this year. Two each of the tagalongs and samoas. I figured I could send Shawn a box of each and keep one for me. I just hope I make it to the post office before I eat all 4 boxes. Why can’t I resist these cookies? My thighs would thank me if I could. Well, I just thought I would share. I hope everyone else has enjoyed their cookies too!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

How to tell if you are a true Alabamian

While this is intended to be about Alabama, many of the things talked about here can apply to Texas, the state I currently call home. Keep in mind that I was born and raised in Alabama so most of this relates to me. I am adding my own personal commentary to this in italics after each comment.
1. You can properly pronounce Arab, Opelika, Oneonta, and Eufaula. Add Mobile to this list of cities to be able to pronounce correctly. I get tired of hearing people butcher my hometown’s name.

2. You think people who complain about the heat in their states are sissies. I thought Alabama was hot until I moved to Texas. All I pray is that I don’t have to leave my house during the summer in this state.

3. A tornado warning siren is your signal to go out in the yard and look for a funnel. I have never lived anywhere that is in tornado alley. Hurricanes, however, are a different story.

4. You know that the true value of a parking space is not determined by the distance to the door, but by the availability of shade. Shade isn’t an option in Texas. We don’t have trees!

5. Stores don’t have bags or shopping carts, they have sacks and buggies.
Buggies are much more fun to drive. Just ask the Amish.
6. You’ve seen people wear bib overalls at funerals. I don’t know about bib overalls to funerals but at every buffet I have ever been to.

7. You think everyone from a bigger city has an accent. Mobile is the second largest city in Alabama so I guess I am one of those people. What I don’t understand is people in Texas (who are native Texans) telling me that I have an accent. Have they listened to themselves talk recently?
8. You measure distance in minutes. I have no concept of distance. Time is all that matters to me.

9. You go to the lake because you think it is like going to the ocean. No matter what anyone tells you, the Gulf of Mexico is NOT the ocean!

10. You listen to the weather forecast before picking out an outfit. You have to listen to the weather forecast because it will be 83 on Thursday and 47 on Friday. (actual weather last week in Killeen)

11. You know cowpies are not made of beef. I don’t even want to touch that one.

12. Someone you know has used a football schedule to plan their wedding date. OK…so I might be slightly guilty of this one. We did plan our wedding around a federal holiday (Veterans’ Day) but I also checked to make sure Alabama and Arkansas weren’t playing major games that weekend mostly because I didn’t want to miss them!
13. You have known someone who has a belt buckle bigger than your fist. I am beginning to think I am the only person in Texas who doesn’t own a giant belt buckle and cowboy boots. If I did, I don’t know that I would ever seriously wear them.
14. You aren’t surprised to find movie rental, ammunition, beer, and bait all in the same store. All I have to say is the Conoco in Marion, Alabama. Add gas and you are set. It was fun to walk around the life-sized deer target to get to the videos.
15. A Mercedes Benz isn’t a status symbol. A Chevy Silverado Extended Bed Crew Cab is. But I like my BMW!

16. You know everything goes better with Ranch. At this time I would like to thank the staff of the dining hall at Judson College for teaching me this lesson through my four years of terrible food and lots of bagels.
17. You learned how to shoot a gun before you learned how to multiply. Still can’t shot a gun and I don’t plan on learning. However, I have to multiply everyday at work.
18. You actually get these jokes and are “fixin’ ” to send them to your friends. I am afraid I get all of these and I don’t see what is wrong with fixin’!
Finally:
19. you are 100% Alabamian if you have ever had this conversation: “You wanna coke?” “Yeah.” “What kind?” “Dr Pepper.” I refuse to ever refer to a soft drink as anything other than a coke. The words soda and pop will never pass my lips!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Borrowed Quote

“The greatest legacy you can ever leave is what you write. The greatest tragedy is that most of us will end our days with our words unwritten, our songs still trapped in our hearts.” Mark Twain

So true. I just hope I have the ability to leave my legacy behind. I am trying to write about the things I have learned through the deployments. It is just a matter of taking the time to get it all down on paper.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Sleeping Pills

I discovered the joys of sleeping pills this weekend. One of the biggest problems I have had through both deployments is my inability to get a decent night’s sleep. I hear every creak and moan that my house makes and convince myself that despite my well working alarm, someone is breaking into my house. Needless to say, the last six months have been filled with many sleepless nights. Early in the deployment I bought a package of Simply Sleep but I only took a couple of them because I still felt groggy the next day at work. Thursday night Shawn called at 12:15 AM my time which of course is 9:15 AM his time. I should have been upset for being woken up in the middle of the night only he didn’t wake me. I had been lying in bed for two hours trying to sleep to no avail. If I had even been remotely close to sleep at that point, it wouldn’t have mattered. If I carry on a coherent conversation with someone, it wakes me up. So I headed into the bathroom and there in the bottom drawer was the Simply Sleep. I figured one pill wouldn’t hurt so I popped one and headed back to the bedroom to watch more Olympics coverage. Twenty minutes later I was in dream land and didn’t hear a sound the rest of the night until my alarm went off the next morning. Even then, it was hard to wake up from what had been the best night’s sleep I had had in Texas. So…I repeated the process on Friday night and Saturday night. I must say that Saturday was great since I didn’t have to get up for work Sunday morning. I should have gone to church this morning but I didn’t regain consciousness until about 10 AM. I don’t plan on making a habit of this but it is nice to know that I have a solution for the nights that I really have a problem.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Saturday Night

Wow, for once I actually had plans for a Saturday night. Some of the girls from Can Can were getting together to go see a play at VLA and the invited me along. I am still not sure why I got invited. If they think of me as someone they could be friends with or if they just asked out of pity. Whatever the reason, we all had fun. I hope that I will get to tag along again. Maybe I soon find a place to plug in in this town. I thought I would be better adjusted to Killeen six months after the move. Unfortunately the opposite has happened and I feel more out of touch than when we first arrived. It is still weird for me to go out in public and never run into anyone I know. I know I should give it time but I am not a patient person.

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Welcome to My World

Well, I guess I am going to try my hand at blogging again. I ran out of things to say the last time so I took my blog down. It was fun to chroncile my move to Texas when it was fresh and new and I was excited about all the things Shawn and I would get to do together. However, the Army has yet again changed my plans. I am hoping that Shawn and I will get to spend an entire year together as a married couple soon. Hopefully, he won’t have to go anywhere for a while after this deployment. We are busy preparing for Wild West Night. I will have to put the picture of me in costume up on my pictures. I now know that I can’t dance at 28 like I could at 18. I am so out of shape. One dance and I am breathing heavy. Two dances and I can’t hardly move. I don’t know how I am going to make it through 6 hours of this in 3 weeks! Well, I guess that is all the interesting stuff I have to say for now.