Tag Archives: gifts

Celebrating 36 years of not killing each other…..

 

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Yes, there’s that as well.

This was the very first picture of us ever taken ….

 

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Back in 1984, on that awful chair at his mother’s house…… right before we got married. I may look twelve, but no worries. I’d just turned 20. (As for the husband’s hair… I have no idea what was going on there.)

We knew each other for 6 days.

Yes, you read that correctly…. 6 days. And to be honest, 3 of those were the required waiting period for the marriage license.

People thought we were crazy.  (We knew we weren’t.)

 

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People said it would never last.  (It’s been 36 years.)

 

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The Grateful Dead had it right…..

What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been!

 

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But I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.

Anyway…. this year on our anniversary?

 

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A seriously beautiful bouquet from my other half….

 

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That got better every day as all the blooms opened up.

 

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The rose colors were gorgeous.

Then it was off to our favorite restaurant in Boothbay Harbor…. before their doors were shut due to the virus.  The decor is nothing to write home about, and the menu is smaller in winter….. but the food is still fabulous.

 

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As were the seasonal cocktails.

I started with a Ciderberry.

 

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And moved on to a few Sugar Plums made with this.

OMG!!

If you’ve never payed attention to any of my advice before?

Start now… and buy a bottle.

 

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It doesn’t matter if you’re not a fig fan. I actually hate the things.

But this was like nothing I’d ever tasted before. A very unique flavor. I read they also make a Golden Apricot ….. and I’ll be looking for that as well.

 

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Can’t remember what they called my appetizer but it was delicious, with just the right amount of spice.

Husband went with his usual French Onion soup and a light main dish of broiled haddock and asparagus.

 

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I, on the other hand….

 

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Dove into the richest, creamiest most delightful Parmesan risotto you’ll find this side of Italy. It’s one of their specialties and I can never resist…. paired here with pan seared scallops, mushrooms, arugula and a citrus balsamic glaze.

I don’t care how many pounds I gained…

It was worth it!

 

 

 

 

A little catch up… the baby barn, a sunrise and some deer.

 

Now that the Virginia vacation saga is finally over, it’s time to clear out the photo files.

If you remember… before we left for the Cape Cod vacation in November, the husband was desperately trying to finish the remodel on our baby barn from Hell before the snow started flying.

 

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He started putting the siding on….

 

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Which was a nightmare of non squared corners and uneven ground.

 

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Yeah, there was a lot of that.

His answer? Plant a shrub in front of it.

 

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He was still using his 1950’s power tools and probably wishing for a larger wheelbarrow.

 

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Siding around the window resulted in some very colorful language.

 

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As did turning the 3rd corner where things didn’t exactly line up.

Unfortunately that’s as far as he got before the weather turned….

And now I have to stare at this split personality horror show until spring.

 

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In other news, our neighbor and her daughter fed our deer while we were gone.

 

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She sent me this picture while we were in Williamsburg, and wanted me to know the child took her responsibility seriously.

And for that she was rewarded.

 

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Flowers for mom and a thank you deer for her daughter.

 

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That little guy cost me a fortune but he was hand made and too damned cute to resist. Look at those feet!

 

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It snowed right after we got back.

 

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But the white stuff sure does make a nice contrast for the sunrise.

 

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We were happy to see our resident buck was still around.

 

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He’s an impressive fellow….

 

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And clearly his women agree.

 

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He’s got quite a little harem going.

 

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With 4 fawns that we know of.

Funny thing is….. as much as I love to travel, it’s sights like these that always make me glad to be home again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 12…. otherwise known as Christmas.

 

So we got up bright and early to make the almost 5 hour drive down to North Carolina.

 

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                                                         Required Christmas selfie.

 

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And as we were walking down the sidewalk of our resort it struck me…..

 

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I might not be the only one who cursed my husband’s choice of the behemoth rental car.

It was an uneventful trip.

 

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But we saw lots of cotton.

 

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Really, a whole lot of cotton.

 

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And absolutely nothing else. Nothing for miles and miles… except cotton… and I was starting to sweat the steadily dropping level of gasoline.

Behemoths be thirsty.

I also took issue with Apple maps when the GPS put us in the middle of a National Forest and told us to turn around.

 

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WTF?

When the rental beast was pretty much running on fumes, we finally found a service station to fill it…. and us, since we skipped breakfast. The only choice was Subway, where I ordered a rotisserie chicken wrap and managed to leak half of the sauce on my blouse resulting in a large greasy stain.

My first words upon arrival in N.C. weren’t “Merry Christmas!”  but….. “Let me raid your closet.”

 

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My second words were “What you would like to drink?”  as I unpacked my carton of holiday cheer.

Destiny chose a bottle to match her sweater, because coordination is everything.

 

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We gave them our gifts…. and Gracie liked the books.

 

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Though I think she liked the pig a little bit more.

 

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We spent time with our daughter of the heart’s step children, John being home on leave from the Army.

 

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As you can see they aren’t young enough to be hers…. because like me, she married an older man. Which her mother thinks I’m responsible for and never lets me forget, but hey.

It worked for me.

 

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An old Marine Corps buddy of the husband’s came with us….  and it was a laid back country Christmas with lots of love and laughter.

A few highlights:

 

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My bartending skills were highly rated.

 

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And strange toys were questioned.

Does a llama really need to shake her booty?

But more importantly, why was this horror voted toy of the year in Australia?

Watch  the bizarre commercial that looks like a Saturday Night Live skit  and decide for yourself.

 

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Numerous pictures were taken.

 

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Some with prominently placed bows. (These may have been alcohol induced)

 

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Rick posed with his namesake shirt.

 

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Dogs with serious underbites begged for treats from a wonderful brown sugar glazed  ham dinner I completely devoured and forgot to photograph.

Sorry Martin.

Blame the carton of alcohol, not me.

 

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Animated discussions of politics took place….. (Which might also have been alcohol induced)

 

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But my husband smiled wider and laughed more than he has in a while, and that made my heart full.

 

Then before we were ready, it was time to say goodbye.

Hugs and tears….

 

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And we were back on the road.

For the longest almost 5 hour trip ever.

 

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The only bright spot?

 

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This house…

 

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That gave new meaning to the term holiday decorating.

 

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Truly an extravaganza.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tail end of the Yorktown driving tour, some fluffy butts, an elusive Christmas gift…. and late night food.

 

The driving tour of the Yorktown, Virginia battlefield was a strange one and meandered all over the place.

 

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Through the woods.

 

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And past open fields with miles of split rail fencing.

Seriously, it went on forever.

 

 

 

There were creeks and swamps.

 

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And every now and then, a sign.

 

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We saw plenty of fluffy white butts.

 

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And they roamed at will.

 

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We even made friends with a few.

 

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This little beauty had no fear and sidled right up next to my window.

 

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Up our way that would be dangerous.

But this was protected land and they knew it.

 

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Near the end of the tour we saw something a bit odd.

 

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A buck with a funky horn.

 

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And while I can’t say I’ve ever had to tote a rack around  (on my head anyway)  this did look a little strange.

 

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So this was December 23rd and the husband had spent the last 48 hours trying to talk me into driving down to North Carolina for Christmas Day. When we’re on a trip for the holidays? We usually let it pass without much fanfare. No exchange of gifts, maybe just a special meal. But since our daughter of the heart came to visit with us those few days… he was bound and determined we would celebrate with her this time.

While I normally would have agreed, she had a slew of family members staying the night in a one bathroom house and I didn’t want to stress her anymore than necessary. We checked a few hotels in the area but all of them were full. Husband wanted to go for the day…. but it was a 4+ hour ride down and a 4+ hour ride back. Almost 9 hours on the road is not my idea of a fun Christmas… but he wore me down. Which meant we had to spend the rest of that day (and night) shopping for gifts because I wouldn’t go empty handed.

And leave it to me to decide on the one gift that was utterly unfindable on the 23rd of December. And believe me we tried.

Yup.

I had to give her this.

 

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Because she loves wine…. but can no longer drink it because it gives her headaches.

I was going to give her the gift of wine back! Or die trying.

Which we nearly did.

We tried every single freakin’ store for 150 miles. Large malls and small gift shops. Specialty stores and wine outlets. Big chains and obscure holes in the hall. We walked, we searched, we cursed.  (Okay, maybe that was just me.)  We shopped until we almost dropped. Everyone had heard of it… very few carried it. And if they did carry it? They were sold out by the time we got there.

Do you know how aggravating it is to look for something for 7 hours straight and then be told by a laughing salesclerk, “Oh, we just sold the last one 10 minutes ago. You should have been quicker.”  That woman is lucky she still has her tongue…. because if I could have reached the butcher knife on the other side of the counter? She’d be laughing with a bloody stump right now.

And if that isn’t bad enough?

I didn’t find the perfect gift, but I did find this:

 

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No.

No

Noooo!

This is wrong on so many levels … I can’t even. What twisted soul thought, “How can I take a perfectly good candy and ruin it beyond all measure? I know… I’ll add Kale!”

All over the world children are weeping. I hope you’re satisfied Archie.

At 9:30 that night the husband was screaming Uncle…. and grumbling about food. We were both too exhausted to care at that point and stopped at the first place on the way back to the resort. An Outback Steakhouse.

I’m not a lover of chain restaurants and hadn’t been to one of these in 20 years.

 

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But $5 Boozy Cherry Limeades sounded pretty good….

And for that price? I had 3.

 

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Their Blue Cheese Wedge salad left a lot to be desired…. and the husband’s French Onion soup was only fair.

 

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But his filet was blood rare and he made short work of it.

 

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My grilled filet and shrimp skewer combo was filling…. and I’ll leave it at that.

There’s a reason we’re not chain restaurant fans, and if we don’t go back for another 20 years?

I’m okay with that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can I get an oohrah?

 

As most of you know, my husband is a Marine. (And as I learned many moons ago, once a Marine always a Marine…. hence the is, even though he retired from the Corps years ago)

Being a Marine means being inundated with Marine Corps stuff. Newsletters, fliers, reunion notices, junk mail and catalogs… like this:

 

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Sgt. Grit appears in our mailbox on a regular basis because I made the mistake of ordering something for the husband from them online. I usually chuck it, but was bored the other day and started flipping through it.

 

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OOHRAH!!

The beloved Marine Corps grunt that I’ve never managed to perform to my husband’s satisfaction. This may have something to do with the fact that I sound more like Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman than Chesty Puller…..

 

 

And that’s Army. A big no no in this house.

(A little history below for those who care…. though my husband would tell you he’s not doing it correctly either)

 

 

The catalog has all the usual USMC geegaws and gifts…

 

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As well as those oh so subtle tee shirts young men love to wear….

 

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Thankfully my husband hates those.

He lived it, and doesn’t feel the need to advertise.

There are knives…

 

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And Ka Bar sporks.

 

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For those days at Kentucky Fried Chicken when plastic just won’t do.

 

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And now you can, for a mere $12.99

You’re welcome.

There are items for children…

 

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And good God, there are even Marine Corps gnomes.

 

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But it was the ladies section that made me choke.

Because even when I had the figure (way back when) to wear these?

No.

Just no…

 

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Epic thrift store finds.

 

I read an article the other day about the crazy things people find at thrift stores. This was right up my alley as I used to post my wackadoodle discoveries as well.

If you’ve never thrifted?

You’ve never really shopped.

I mean really…. where else can you find these treasures.

Searching for fine literature?

 

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Find it at the Thrift store.

Not being a musher, I was totally unaware sexual preference was even a factor.

Go figure.

 

When you’re in need of a box of decapitated doll heads?

 

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And let’s be honest…

Who isn’t these days?

 

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They’re at the Thrift store.

 

When you’re searching for a little extra something to compliment the dogs playing poker velvet wall hanging in your living room?

 

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You’ll find it at the Thrift store.

Shells playing poker are perfect.

 

Fido’s constant shedding driving you nuts?

 

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Thrift store to the rescue.

Beat grandma to the punch this Christmas and give her the ugly sweater.

 

Can’t find that just right gift for the dominatrix in your life?

 

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Look no more…. your local thrift store has S&M Teddy.

Her heart will melt, and then she’ll whip heart shaped cuts on your thighs.

It’s a win win.

 

And speaking of gifts…

Those hard to buy for people?

They’d love a vomit clock from the Thrift store.

 

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Yes, that was the description the person who found it gave in the article.

Vomit clock.

I’m hoping  (really, really hoping)  that it’s just heavily shellacked pebbles in a putrid pink hue.

But hey, it came from a thrift store….

Anything’s possible.

 

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Even better than rocks…

 

I’ve been known to give some interesting birthdays gifts in my time.

Some elicit laughter, some tears….

Some? Downright befuddlement.

It’s all good.

In the past few years, I’ve gifted my husband with experiences as well as tangible items.

2014 was a beer making lesson.

 

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Friends and family joined us for what I thought would be a laugh a minute celebration…

 

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Ah, look at those happy faces.

(Word of warning –  if you’re thinking about trying it? There’s a lot more to beer than drinking. And I don’t recommend any of it.)

Beer drinking? Fun!

Beer making?

 

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Not so much.

It’s a long involved process…. that I completely stopped caring about two hours in.

 

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Poor husband.

Look at him… he had his tasting glass ready and it wasn’t anywhere near finished.

Birthday experience gift rating on a scale of 1 to 10?

4.

 

Last year I nailed it with a School of Falconry class.

This was fabulous and we both enjoyed it immensely.

 

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Husband got up close and personal with a Harris Hawk and a Peregrine Falcon.

And they were both beautiful creatures.

 

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Learning to handle them can be challenging.

 

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As well as a little intimidating.

Of course, they were nothing compared to the instructor.

 

 

She was downright terrifying.

(I think the husband had flashbacks to boot camp and reverted to a quivering PFC before my eyes.)

But baggie of dead quails aside?

 

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An awesome day.

Birthday experience gift rating?

A definite 10!

 

So this year, along with the rock and other assorted presents…

I gave him a helicopter.

 

 

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Okay, calm down.

Those babies go for $425,000.

I gave him the experience of learning how to fly a helicopter.

Half an hour class instruction, half an hour flying time with 2 guests.

I’m not sure when we’ll do it, most likely after the weather warms up.

But I’m guessing it’s going to be a good one!

Assuming we don’t die in a flaming fireball of a crash…

That’s bound to reduce the rating.