• Allie and Ryan

    Allie & Ryan

  • Allie and Ryan 2

    Allie & Ryan

  • Allie and Ryan 3

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 4

    Allie & Ryan

  • Ryan and Allie 5

    Allie & Ryan

Thursday, November 20, 2014

239th USMC Birthday Ball

Pardon the weird quality, it is a picture of a picture after all.

This past weekend we attended the 239th USMC Birthday Ball for SOI in Wilmington, NC. Even though Ryan is still in student status we decided to go to the SOI Ball rather than the ball his old unit was having (and the fact that one was on Saturday and one was Sunday had nothing to do with that decision!). Last year, Ryan was deployed during the ball season so we were pretty excited to go this year. I love seeing my husband in his dress blues and I love having an excuse to dress up. This year I wore my bridesmaid's dress from my best friend's wedding this past May... military spouses are definitely some of the few people in this world that wear them again!
We decided to make a weekend of it and get a hotel in Wilmington so we didn't have an hour drive home that night. We get to the hotel, grab some hot drinks since it got cold literally overnight, and then Ryan realized he hadn't gotten a hair cut! So he went off to do that while I got ready.
Naturally the day of the ball I had a huge breakout on my face, I cut my leg badly in the shower for the first time in months, and for good measure I wacked myself in the neck with a hot curling iron as I was doing my own hair. Geeze. Top that off with still feeling off from my gall bladder I barely ate all day. At least from far away you can't tell that I felt like a walking hot mess.
Obligatory mirror selfie
We took a cab to the Convention Center (all $4 it cost us) since it was chilly and got there with time to mingle. We got our Professional pictures taken early on since I knew Ryan has zero patience for such things and once we got going it would never happen. This year's picture (seen at the top of this post) is probably hands down our best one to date! We were both pretty stoked. I know it was good because my non social media using husband switched his facebook profile picture for the first time since 2011.... seriously.
Another new thing, we had to all get stamps inside our wrists if we were over 21 and wanted to drink, that was diferent for sure, but we were definitely buying us some overpriced alcohol so we obliged. It was nice to meet Ryan's other fellow students I had heard so much about. For the first time since we went to a ball in DC years ago I was pretty thrown by all the "brass" in the room. So many officers and higher ranking enlisted, it was a tad bit intimidating truth be told!

The itty bitty PFC that was the youngest Marine this year must have really felt it. She was born in 1996, the same year as my baby brother who is still in high school! Oy! Ryan and I bet on the year they'd be born, I sadly lost.

We had a decent view of the ceremony and the video, which dorky me absolutely loves every single year. This year got me teary (not a first) because the battles they mentioned in the video I know my Poppy fought in during WW2. Seeing some of the footage, especially talk of the bloodiest battles of the war at Peilalu and Guadalcanal, and knowing my Poppy was there was hard to wrap my brain around.
Our guest speaker
Our guest speaker was very good (they usually are!) and I am ashamed to say I forgot his name. I will have to edit this when I get home. My favorite part of his speech was that he ended with the following poem:
"The wonderful love of a beautiful maid,
The love of a staunch, true man,
The love of a baby, unafraid,
Have existed since time began.
But the greatest of loves,
The quintessence of loves,
Even greater than that of a mother,
Is the tender, passionate, infinite love,
of one drunken Marine for another."

Now even though my stomach stinks I nibbled on some delicious food, the highlight being this chocolate cake. It was hands down some of the best chocolate cake I have had in my life. Seriously. I wanted to take what I could not finish home with me to eat later. If it could have fit in my purse I probably would have!
Proof I am getting old. I cannot take a selfie to save my life. Or a ussie? Whatever you want to call it! I cut myself out when I try to do it and when you turn it around the quality is pretty awful...

Thankfully one of my husband's fellow students was nice enough to take a picture for us... that one thankfully came out nice too! The large red carpet they had leading to the dance floor was a nice touch if you ask me.
We danced and hung out for awhile, had a few drinks, before everyone decided they wanted to go out. Any of you who know me know I am not a big partier by any means... but I did my best. We went back to our hotel to change because, well, really it was too cold for most of us! We started at City Limits, a country western bar that I was more than happy to stay in, especially since our cover fee was waived, but we were in the minority. Instead we ended up at Sputnik, another nightclub. Definitely not my typical scene, give me a quiet pub with trivia any day, but I made it a good three or four hours before I begged my husband to have us leave! Aside from a drunken pizza detour (for the Marines sadly, not me) we eventually collapsed into bed way past my bedtime.

Someone stole the VIP sign from another table after we managed to snag one... we aren't that cool, I promise!
All in all, another succesful Marine Corps birthday in my book! Happy birthday Marines!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Time Spent

Exhibit D (for Dup)
Lately I have been working a lot, our normal library Reference staff of four is now down to two temporarily. Because of this my schedule is all over the place (especially nights and weekends, sigh) to fill in the gaps... hello working every other weekend again. I had not missed you these past few months! Ryan is in school for his B-Billet so he tends to also have a weird schedule too, so our weird schedules coinciding has been a rarity. When they finally do line up we are usually too tired to do much of anything, especially with me still getting over being as sick as I was. We usually are like this (see Exhibit D).
But this past weekend, even though I had work, we both knew we HAD to get out of the house and do something. Even better, get out of J-ville. So we did. We went to one of my favorite nearby little towns, Swansboro, for dinner. Ryan looked up a few places and we decided on an Irish Pub that was rumored to have some delicious sandwiches. They did not disappoint. Our timing was interesting because we wandered into town during their Swansboro by Candlelight night, so most streets were closed to cars and it was packed as the small town lit their Christmas tree. Luminaries lined the streets and the historic district was gorgeous. We managed to find a place to park, find the pub AND get a table. Talk about a lucky break! It was packed too.
They had one of my favorite ciders and even though I need to watch my alcohol intake with my gallbladder I could not resist having one! I also had a yummy turkey and avocado sandwich with some pasta salad. Ryan naturally had a reuben which I was drooling over (and risked a bite of!) and we had a really nice time. I used to love going to Irish Pubs when we lived in DC and there are a depressing lack of them around here. I usually just love the atmosphere they have. This pub even had a "wall of regulars" where they each have a numbered cup that they come in and use! We thought it was just a display but then number 26 came in, said excuse me, grabbed his cup from over our heads and went to the bar! We were both instantly jealous and wanted to be regulars with our own numbered cups. Some day my friends, some day.
I also had Granny Smith Caramel Apple Pie for dessert that made my tastebuds dance for joy.

After we ate I grabbed a hot chocolate to go and we strolled through the town looking at the Christmas lights and window displays. Yes, it was a little early, but it was a really nice much needed night out for the two of us. We came home and sleepily watched some Big Bang Theory reruns before I went to bed since I had work the next day. Hopefully our schedules will match a little more often in the coming weeks and we can do some more of this "spending time together" notion! ;)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Moving Forward

As you may remember I posted a few weeks ago about how I've been under the weather lately... and that may be putting it lightly. I missed almost a week of work, could barely eat, and was terribly nauseous. After a trip to Urgent Care, the ER on base (which was horrible for other reasons) and finally my own doctor we may have some progress. My doctor asked about my family history with gallbladder issues and I told her it was extensive. My mom, grandfather and I believe at least two of my aunts had theirs all removed. She scheduled me for an ultrasound that day to see if I had gallstones and fortunately I did not have any.
Just to be sure all was well the doctor sent me for a HIDA scan, basically a nuclear medicine test that checks the function of your gallbladder. The first part of the test I just had to lie there for maybe an hour while they took images of my gallbladder. Then they injected me with something that stimulates the gallbladder to empty it and mark its progress. Some people have zero reactions during this part of the test (which is usually six to eight minutes) and some people get nausea or pain, it just depends on how your body reacts to the dye. Either reaction can mean you're fine (or  not) so I was just hoping for no reaction.
Thirty seconds into the dye insertion I felt as sick as I did the first night at work when it all started. I got overheated, horribly nauseous and felt dizzy. Then my stomach felt like it was caving in on itself in pain. The techs had to talk me through breathing normally as tears streamed down my face... and by down my face I mean back into my hair and ears since I was lying down. It was absolute misery. Then, it stopped. It was a long eight minutes though. Afterwards I went and got something to eat from the hospital cafeteria and then went to work being told my doctor would call in the next forty eight hours with the results.
She called me less than six hours later.
I saw it was her and I knew I probably failed the test. Usually when you get a same day call your results are not optimal. Sure enough my gallbladder is barely functioning. You are supposed to have your gallbladder empty at a rate of 35% or higher. Mine was at a measly 8%.
So... we may finally have an answer. I got some bloodwork done this week to rule out any other possiblities, which it did, and now we are waiting for TriCare to process referrals to the gastroenterologist on my PCM's staff and for a surgeon. My doctor said some surgeons won't remove gallbladders without stones present, but with mine functioning at such a low level and the quality of life I've had the past month or so now she cannot see any reason why it wouldn't come out. In the mean time I have four medicines, two of which I take daily and two as needed, and I am eating a very bland diet. No fried foods, now high fibery things, no red meat, no raw vegetables...  basically a lot of the things I normally love are a big NO.
But at least it is an answer and hopefully a solution in the near future. Fingers crossed and thanks for sticking with me guys. I haven't blogged much since becomming sick but I am hoping to get back into things again.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day

I know as a Military Spouse Blogger this is one of the big days people blog about... but I don't think I can say any more this year than I have in previous years. Thank you to my husband for being willing to do what you do. Thank you to my grandparents, uncles, inlaws, friends... all of you amazing men and women who do this often thankless job because your heart motivated you to do so. I cannot tell you how many times my husband has gotten flustered by someone thanking him for his service, but I know it touches him deeply when someone does.

So thank you to all the Veterans who have served this great nation.

Thank you.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Happy 239th Birthday Marines!

239 years and man, you still look damn good for your age!

Our Birthday Ball will be this weekend and I am pretty excited... not gonna lie. I have my bridesmaids dress from my best friends wedding I can wear, proof that you can actually wear them again! (Especially when you pick them out yourself.. thanks for that Sammy!) It will be with my husband's new assignment so I won't know anyone (hello SOI instructors, we will be your official n00bs for the evening) but I am really looking forward to Ryan and I having a nice night out together.

Happy Birthday Marine Corps! You will see another update next week from me I am sure. Don't forget to watch the Commandant's Birthday Message if you're not attending. I usually wait until the ball to watch it so I will just link it above for those interested.

Also, if you need some Marine Corps Birthday Ball Dos and Don'ts it is by far the most popular entry I have ever written on this blog. I update it yearly, so even though it is from 2011 it is still relevant for any google stalkers out there! Welcome!

Sunday, November 9, 2014


Once again another theatrical journey has come to a close. I am back to having free evenings and weekends (you know, when I am not working) and wondering what to do with all the extra brain space that used to be reserved for copious amounts of lines. Dracula was a fun show and different from the other shows I've done here in Eastern North Carolina. Firstly, we had a very large cast, 14 people plus a larger than usual crew... that nearly doubles some of our previous shows! I was also pretty sick for a good week or two leading up to the show, which was panic inducing for sure. Plus Ryan doing his school for his B-Billet... let's just say it has been a crazy few weeks.
Up on the ladder during tech, one of my favorite places to be during tech... hanging lights!
But we made it. This fantastic cast, some I've worked with before, some brand new, all came together for a wonderful production. There were fake fangs, blood, hissing, crucifixes (crucifi?), stakings and everything else you'd expect you'd need for a production of Dracula. I was Professor Sarah Van Helsing... yes Van Helsing is usually a male (Abraham) but we went in a different direction! I got to do stage combat again for the first time in years including slaps, punches and a pretty painful looking head smack that got a collective OOOH one night from an audience!
The full cast

Van Helsing in costume... honestly it was all mine minus the scarf!
The above picture was taken during our tech rehearsal since I loved how I managed to do my make up, but my mom mentioned you could tell I had been sick. How did she oh so delicately put it? Oh yes, I had a scrawny neck! Most of the weight has come back by now but at this point I was down a good ten pounds and living off of saltines and ice pops.

My best friend Donna and I
Below are some stills from the production captured by the campus photographer I believe. I borrowed them from a friend's facebook page.

Confronting Vampire Mina
Renfield was about as crazy as her hair!
Post fight, after I butted heads with a vampire.
We made it through four shows unscathed. My husband came twice, my parents once and a former coworker of mine even showed, which was awesome since not many people I invited could make it. It was Halloween weekend, I  know, but it is always extra motivating when you know someone in the audience. After our last show we took up five massive tables at Chili's for dinner before we parted ways. There is another show in the Spring but I probably will not be auditioning. With my work schedule it has been just too difficult. :( I will always have a special place in my heart for these amazing people though.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Dup Turns Three

I'm It's a gorgeous Saturday so naturally I am stuck in the theatre all day for tech rehearsal. I'm eating soup and bread and on medications so I'm a bit less crabby today.

And the Dup Dup turns three today!

Since I'm in the theatre Ryan took her out for an adventure and emailed me the following (word for word, makes it even better!). I think it is the cutest thing I've ever seen.....

Loaded up in the jeep. (Which She did not like)

Sniff all around the park.

Master of rock climbing

But how to get down?

She did it!

Biggest stick ever!

We jumped over the creek

Time for a drink.... Or a swim instead. 

Then back in the jeep 

But this time we left the hatch open and she liked it. 

We got home in time for dinner 

A tired Dup is a good Dup

Plus she had Halloween toys from me this morning that she already promptly shredded. It is a good life for Dups! Happy birthday Rylie girl!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Under the Weather

My poor blog has been so neglected this year. Not sure what else to do about it or if I even want to keep it going at this point.

Maybe I am just tired and grouchy from feeling sick.

Last Wednesday (as in the 15th) I got sick at work. I was closing and it was close to the end of my shift when I got really warm and dizzy. I threw up a few times at work and throughout the night. And the next day. It really stunk because, naturally, Ryan was in the field so I was home alone and feeling extra miserable and sorry for myself. I thought it was food poisoning and would go away.

Here I am a week and a half later and I still feel nauseous.

I have missed work, show rehearsals and just leaving the house.

I have been to Urgent Care, the Emergency Room at my regular Doctor. I have had to give more urine samples than I ever have before because no one believes a woman can be nauseous and not pregnant apparently. I had an ultrasound today that looked normal. I have taken drugs to stop throwing up but still am nauseous. For almost a week now all I have been able to eat are saltines and ice pops. Toast was a big breakthrough.

My show opens next week and work is (naturally) short staffed. I am tired of not eating and feeling sick to my stomach with no answers at all. One ER doctor even so kindly said to me, "Don't worry, you can survive without food for five or six weeks as long as you stay hydrated." before escorting me out of the office. I want to eat again. I want to not feel sick to my stomach. I want answers.

I want to feel better.

And now I am done feeling sorry for myself. Sorry for the pity party all.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

SDA and Oktoberfest

I have blogged before about my husband applying to do his SDA (or Secondary Duty Assignment, or B-Billet) and the roller coaster ride the whole process has been. Well as of this Monday he is officially doing his SDA! Ryan got accepted to be an instructor at SOI (School of Infantry) at Camp Geiger for the next three years. So no PCSing in our future since it is still pretty close by. There will definitely be some long, long hours for him to work. For three years. Oh boy! Anyway, since he had to check out of his current unit at Lejeune on Friday and in to the new one at Geiger I got to see the rare sight of my husband in his Alphas. Yes, the dress blues are wonderful, but the Alphas make me swoon too! He get's some genuine WW2 era swag when he wears them in my eyes, especially when he gives his cover the twenty degree tilt as pictured below.

After my husband checked in he came home and we decided to head to New Bern for the day to walk around and spend some time together since I was off from work. It was finally a little chilly so I dressed for semi-fall weather and tried a new hairstyle. Verdict is still out on how I feel about that!

I did get a little car sick on the drive there so I wasn't feeling my best when we arrived. The longer we walked around the better I felt though. Our first stop was at this giant, indoor flea market we never managed to visit before. It was pretty neat! We had fun exploring and Ryan found a pewter box with the comedy/tragedy faces on it with a matching necklace inside.. so he got it for me. (And by got it for me I mean he found it, realized he had no cash, saw I had some in my wallet, and I paid for it!) It was very sweet though.

We stopped at a few more shops after the Flea Market and Ryan was super excited to find a giant rooster in one of them. It is a long story (aside from the USC Gamecocks affiliation) but we had to get the picture to send to his best friend Josh. The man never likes to get his picture taken and complains like crazy until there is a five foot tall rooster on a table. Sigh.
As we walked around we saw signs for the Oktoberfest the Rotary Club was putting on for their fundraiser. I was feeling better so we got some tickets at the gate and decided to go in. We had some delicious brauts and sauerkraut with German potato salad and some really delicious Oktoberfest from the Carolina Brewing Company. We also paid a little extra for some Apple Streudel and German Chokolat Cake! We got to meet a lot of really nice people and have some good food and drink, so it was definitely a win. A lot of people came in ethnic outfits and there was also a full German Folk Band with dancing!

These old people were my favorite, they were loving it!
We had enough beers that when some of our new friends dragged us out to polka we were willing to give it a shot! Even though I am extremely Polish my extent of Polka knowledge is the Chicken Dance, so our polka was more like a two step with Ryan leading and an extra bounce thrown in for good measure.

As Oktoberfest wound down we found a bar nearby with an outdoor stage and live music. I was done drinking at this point so I could drive, but we did stop in and listen for a few songs. I sobered up for sure because when Ryan tried to drag me down front to dance to Sweet Home Alabama I dug in my heels! He went and rocked out though.
We definitely had a great time and I was pretty bummed I had to work the next day, I would have loved to stay out later!
The outdoor music