Enlistment Update II


Well it is time to catch you up on my son the Poolee.

This is the term the Marine Corps uses to define those that have enlisted but not yet left for basic training. Those that are working to prepare themselves for the next step, what lies ahead.

Since I last updated you, my son has been working two jobs, and going to PT (physical training) 4 times a week. This is necessary so the he will pass the rigid physical fitness exams prior to and during basic training.

All is going well. He has passed all of his exams so far but one, his run time. He continues to improve, but he is finding this to be a challenge.

He has made a major career decision since the last update. I was hoping and praying he would not choose a certain MOS (career field), and unfortunately that is exactly what he did. He choose Infantry, the most dangerous career field he could have possibly chosen. He will forever be on the front lines of any and all conflicts/wars we as a country are involved in.

Infantry Front Line Marines

Now, I had lunch with him a few days ago, and he explained his reasoning behind his career field choice. I understood, but as a mother it does not make accepting his choice any easier.

We are still looking at a ship date of February 2013. It will come sooner than I want it to.

Until then, we have a wonderful Christmas/New Year’s trip away scheduled to spend some quiet, quality time together, as a family before I turn my baby, my son over to the United States Marine Corps.

Semper Fi


Photo Credit: United States Marine Corps Official Page via photopin cc, Sister72 via photopin cc

To Shop or Not

We all have our favorite stores, and places we love to shop. Unless you are me, that is. Now, I do not care to shop in regular malls. Ugh! I guess you could say I loathe hate can’t stand to shop, period. The word alone makes my vision blurry and makes me shudder. Ewe.

I shop as a necessity for clothing, and miscellaneous needs for myself or my family. I even hate dislike going to the grocery store! According to the Free Dictionary, to “shop” literally means “to go from store to store in search of merchandise or bargains.” Why people find such enjoyment from this, I will never understand. I am not one of them.

Why get in a car, drive from place to place, fight the crowds, the germs, the noise, the people, and waste the gas, when you have this fabulous thing called the internet right at home?

OMG! Internet shopping is a lifesaver! This amazing invention called internet shopping has been my salvation when it comes to clothes, and Christmas shopping for the last several years. Have you been to a mall at Christmas time lately? No thank you!

Now, the stores I frequently go to on the internet are JCPenney, QVC, HSN, Catherines, and Woman Within. Each store has something unique about their clothes for women I find attractive.

JCPenney’s cost of their clothing, and selection for women, is what attracts me to their store. QVC has this amazing line of clothes called Citiknits. Citiknits is a wash and wear line. You literally wash it, hang it up and wear it. No drying (in the dryer) or ironing required! I love it! HSN has a similar line called Slinkys. It is also a wash and wear line, and has just as good of a selection. Woman Within has a mix of everything; casual, dresses, shorts, and sleepwear. If you are a savy shopper, Walmart has a casual wash and wear line called the George line. It is a functional casual work, and everyday wear line that is well priced and comfortable. George also has a shoe line. I own several pair of the shoes that I wear to work with pants and casual clothes.

If I had to be dragged kicking, and screaming to a land based store to shop, (there is that awful word again) shudder. I would have t0 choose, Goody’s. They always have a great selection and great prices. Next, would have to be Catherines, and then last would be Sears.

What are your favorite online clothing stores? Please share as I am always looking for new places to buy clothes, and new ways to avoid the mall! Hope you enjoyed my internet shopping story.


Right to Vote

I am going to preface this with the fact that I have never written a political post before today, this is a first.

Sometimes you just want to say……..enough already! Wow. Today has really been a day of everyone on @twitter having their opinion about someone using their right to vote. That is just what it is, a right to choose to vote. This morning John Archibald wrote a piece about why he chose not to vote. You would have thought he had committed a cardinal sin. Here is the link to his article.

Then, AL.com (@aldotcom), turns around and posts on @twitter a comment that said, “Can you forgive @JohnArchibald for not voting?” Excuse me?

We have the right in this country to choose not to vote, or to choose to vote. There are those of us that feel that the two-party system is not fair, and it does not work. Also, there are those of us that feel that since our candidate is not on the ballot, we were not given a choice. Therefore, why vote?

If you are among those that voted today, good for you. If you are among those that did not, then you did what you felt you had the right to do. Do not let others bully you into feeling bad about your choice. You had a choice, and you exercised that choice.

I am not going to reveal whether I voted or not. To me, voting is a very personal decision, so much so, that announcing that you voted, to me is comparative to TMI. It is a sacred choice, and one that should not be shared with others, much as the same as your choice of candidate.

So, all of this alienating one another over the choice of voting or not voting is ridiculous. It is simply a choice. Yes, many died to give people this choice. I have served in that same service. However, you must let people have that choice, that is why we call this America: Land of the Free.



As I was going through my teen years I watched my mother and father struggle with a difficult task, taking care of elderly parents. My stepfather was an only child, and did not have anyone to share his burden of caring for his elderly parents besides my mother.
My stepfather’s parents both died of cancer, and their care before they died, was both difficult and taxing for both of my parents.

There were days of tears, arguments and long doctor visits. Towards the end, there were lengthy hospital visits, which often turned into lengthy overnight stays for both of them. My parents would take turns spending the night at the hospital, and trying to raise a family of 5 teenagers.

Only children have the unique, and lonely burden of the sole care of their aging parents. There is no one to share their grief, their loneliness, their angst, and their heart-wrenching decisions as time wears on. Their spouse is their only source of comfort, as they try to not only manage the parent that is ill, they also try to manage the remaining parent, that as my husband put it, “can vacillate between toddler and teenager” at any given moment. The only child tries to manage all of this while still maintaining a job, a household, children, finances, etc…

The only child also has to bear the burden of dealing with his parents as they lose the struggle of losing their independence. They become belligerent become they don’t why they can no longer do as they please. They become angry when they are told they have to have their schedules & medications monitored. They become resistant to losing the freedom of being able to come and go as they once desired.

As I watched my mother and stepfather struggle with his parents, I wondered how they finally survived those long years.

Well, I am finding out first hand myself. My husband is an only child and we are now caring for his ailing parents. I never imagined that I would find myself in the same position as my mother, all those years ago, but here I am.

There are days that seem like an eternity. Days of running back and forth to the hospital, managing a home, trying to spend time with my children, and grandchildren, paying bills, looking for a job, and cleaning house.

My husband is burning the candle at both ends so to speak. He works non-stop, and then he has to worry about his parents, the house, the bills, especially with me not working, his parents finances as well, paying their bills, and not to mention all of the difficult decisions he has to make regarding their care, all by himself.

Yes, I do help, but keep in mind, he has no siblings to help him carry this burden. I am his spouse, they are not my parents.

If you have ever cared for elderly parents, you know what we are going through. This is like raising sick children, it is constant care. Medications have to be monitored, meals have to be monitored, we have even had to change our living, and eating schedules to match theirs so that we can keep them on track.

It is a huge sacrifice, one I know my husband is more than willing to give, because he loves his parents. We have had to make huge adjustments, such as not living alone after we were married (we are newlyweds) but, it is worth it to see that his parents are cared for by people who love them.

For those of you that are taking care of elderly parents, or elderly relatives, my heart goes out to you. This is a non-stop job, that occupies every minute of every day just about. It takes huge personal sacrifice, and dedication, and it is not for the faint of heart. Some days it is even a thankless job, but known that deep down inside they do care, and they do appreciate it.


My Bucket List

I mentioned to someone yesterday that Blog Like Crazy was not for me. I mean, what could you possibly have to say every day for 30 days. I have had this conversation that I only write when I have something to say. Which, if you follow my blog, is definitely, not every day. Then, I realized that I might actually have more to say then just every once in awhile. I began to read some of the blog posts by the women who are participating, and I was moved. So, I am going to give it a try. This is blog post #3 for me today. Yes, I am behind but I am trying to catch up.

My Bucket List

Since we have already been talking today about places to visit and places I have been wanting to see, let’s talk about bucket lists.

Most people’s bucket list consist of places that are luxurious, famous or hold some significant meaning for them. My bucket list consists of places that; 1) I read about in my historical novels,  2) I have researched in school, 3) hold a linguisical/archeological interest for me, or 4) is remote.

So, here is my bucket list:

Machu Picchu, Peru


New Zealand

The Seychelles

The Maldives


The South Pacific Islands (ALL of them)

Africa (ALL of it)

The Congo

The American Serengeti Project


My husband and I also have a love of the Four Seasons hotel chain, and we are trying to stay in as many of them around the world as we can. There are 92 worldwide and so far we have stayed in one. We have a long way to go!

What is on your bucket list? Please share, as we are always looking for new places to explore. I hope you have enjoyed my bucket list!



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My Desktop

The image on my desktop screen looks something like this:

This is the Independence of the Seas, and I hope to be on her soon. Cruising is what I call the ultimate vacation. If you have never been on a cruise you are definitely missing out. The wonderful thing about a cruise is that you can do everything on board, or nothing at all.

Every night you get what is called a brochure in your state room listing all of the following days activities. Now, I am a lifetime Royal Caribbean cruiser and the brochure is called the Cruise Compass for RCCL. You can try to do everything in it, or you can simply lay on the pool deck, and do absolutely nothing at all, and read a book. I have cruises where I do some of both.

That is the beauty of a cruise. Everything you need is within reach, and you have the amazing ever changing views while you are at it. The great ports of call along the way are a nice bonus. It sure beats a landlocked all-inclusive if you ask me!

Oh, did I mention the food? Oh, all the food you could possibly eat!

Now, I know you must be thinking, all that food = weight gain! I have never gained weight on a cruise. I swear! Between the amazing gyms they have on board, with sweeping ocean views, I might add, the walking track on board, the swimming, the walking in all of the ports, there is no way to gain weight.

On a cruise I begin my day, every day in the gym. Then, after lunch I go for a long walk on the track, after dinner, a moonlit stroll is in order. The days in port, we opt for walking

tours so we can walk off the food we have consumed. So you see, play it right and you can manage not to gain weight.

There are many different cruise companies for many different types of cruisers. You just have to find the right one for you. RCCL and Celebrity fit my taste, but to each his own. A great travel agent can help you find the right cruise for you. Have questions? Ask me and I will be glad to answer those that I can!

Bon Voyage!



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I Want To Visit…

I have always wanted to visit…..Machu Picchu. Its mystery and history make it a must visit for me.

It began for me when I was a student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. My professor was an Egyptologist, and I took a class about different cultures around the world. We had a project due, which was half of our grade, where we had to choose a culture, and investigate why they no longer existed. We also had to explain why they died out, and what made them unique. I chose the Mayans.

Now, as you can imagine, the topic was fascinating. I became entranced with the Mayan calendar. If you have ever tried to figure out the Mayan calendar it can make your head swim. Here is an example of it:

As I was researching the Mayans I came upon this, Machu Picchu. I knew that one day I must go, and go I shall.

What makes Machu Picchu fascinating, is not only its pure design, seeing as they had no modern mechanical equipment. But, also that some buildings served a celestial function. Some of the buildings aligned with the moon and stars to tell the Mayans of important celestial events. The Mayans were a very advanced people for their time.

Now, there is a sense of urgency about my trip as Machu Picchu is in danger of no longer existing due to over visitation, and also the mountain below is beginning to collapse some say. So, I wish to visit as soon as I possibly can.

There are other Mayan villages I wish to go and see such as this, Chichen Itza in Mexico.

But for now, Machu Picchu remains at the top of my bucket list. I will make it to Peru one of these days.


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Enlistment Update

Well it has been a few weeks since my son decided to become a Marine.

What has life been like for him since then?

Well, he has to call his recruiter, and check-in every Tuesday. Then, every Saturday  all of the poolees (all of the people waiting to go to basic training) meet with the recruiters, and Marines that have just returned from basic, to do something called PT. This is physical training.

Physical training is a crucial part of becoming a Marine. Not only are you tested several times before and during basic regarding your physical fitness, but to a Marine physical fitness becomes a way of life. It will help to keep him alive one day.

So, my son who loves to sleep, has been waking very early on Saturday mornings, to go run and run and run, and to be screamed at by Marines, and he has been on time! Now, if you know my son, this in itself is a miracle.

I have already begun to see the changes in my son. He is on time for things I ask him to do. He is now consistently addressing people as “Ma’am” and “Sir”, not that he didn’t before, it is just consistent now.

We still do not know where he will be stationed after basic yet or his MOS (his job function). We are still waiting to find this out.

I have to confess, I have been reading as many books as I can on the Marine Corps, because even though I was in the military, each branch of service is different, and things change over the years. I must say my son will have an interesting future, and life will never be boring.

More updates to come as things move forward. We are still looking at a ship off date of February 2013.


My Son The Marine

Well it’s official! My son is in The United States Marine Corps!

Please welcome our newest military member into our large military family.

He went to Montgomery, AL for MEPS, as they call it on Sunday, and he passed all of the in-processing, and the ASVAB, and he signed his enlistment papers.

So, I now have two sons that are Marines, my oldest and my youngest.

I am filled with many emotions; happiness, sadness, and fear.

But, most of all I am very, very proud of him.

This decision did not come lightly, and is one of great personal sacrifice.

If you are a military mom, then you know exactly what I am talking about. You are excited that they are beginning on a new journey, but at the same time you are terrified.

Terrified because you know we are at war, and you know that as soon as they are finished with basic training deployments begin, and you have no idea when you will see them again.

This is not my first war-time Marine Corp. rodeo, per se. I have been through this before. My oldest barely survived his one and only tour in Iraq. I am going to pray that my youngest son has a different experience.

Please wish him well as he begins this new journey and pray he remains safe.

Semper Fi.


Recruiter – Part II

Well, I met with my son’s recruiter yesterday. The meeting could not have gone any worse.

My son told me at dinner on Sunday night he was going to “talk” to a recruiter. Now, I knew that my son had his mind made up to become a Marine and had for a while. I knew he had reached his decision after a great deal of thought, and research.

The recruiter was explaining what happened next. I was prepared for weeks to a month or more of tests, exams, fitness tests, etc… But oh no!

The recruiter said if my son passed his physicals on Sunday he would enlist on MONDAY!

That hit me like a ton of bricks.

I mean who talks to a recruiter on Tuesday and signs their enlistment papers on MONDAY???


I was not prepared for that. I remember when I joined. I talked to a recruiter in June, signed the following February, and then went to basic training in May.

I became angry, and told the recruiter that this was moving too fast, it was not fair to my son, and that this process needed to slow way down.

I guess I was angry, sad, frustrated, scared, all rolled into one.

I told the recruiter that my son and I would discuss this and I showed him out.

My son then told me that he had his mind made up for a long time and that he was ready to join.

I asked him why he was in such a hurry to put himself in harm’s way. He said he had been ready to do this for so long and he was tired of putting it off.

I am upset because I cannot be there for his enlistment ceremony, I am upset because I am losing my baby, I am upset because my son is going off to a dangerous place and I can’t protect him, I am upset because…………well I think you get the point.

I have been crying off and on now for 24 hours.

I am alone? Is it this hard to let your son go off to war? Yes, I did the same thing when my oldest enlisted, but it seems SO much harder this time. This is my youngest, my baby.

The child who was never afraid to crawl up in my lap even when he was too old to do so. He has always been my support system, always ready to make me laugh, always my happy child.

I will miss him terribly!!!!

Maybe I am being selfish, and I don’t mean to be. This is just so very hard.

I love my son so much. If you have ever been a military parent I think you know what I am going through.

By Monday my son will be a Marine. For that I am so very proud of him. Please help me pray for him as he begins a new journey in life, and pray for me that I have the strength to survive this, again.

Semper Fi