So, last weekend was The Dogwood FESTIVAL at the HUGE and awesome Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta. My Marine especially loves this park, so when we got here he began holding giant FIELD MEETS where the kids/high schoolers/poolees who are waiting to go to boot camp from all over Georgia are bused in to partake in a fun fitness competition amongst the various cities/recruiting stations. The prize is a trophy of sorts and bragging rights.
Some parents and significant others attend to watch these kids work together to CARRY LOGS above their heads, do a formation run (and sing cadence aka military marching chants), and all kinds of calisthenics. They even get to eat MRE's (the meal ready-to-eat that real Marines eat on deployment). The finale is a big tug-of-war and all the recruiters and my significant other leave there hoarse from shouting so much encouragement. It's a big feeling of "esprit de corps" and since there are so many passers-by, it's fun to see all the attention the event draws. After parking, I can hear them long before I see them!
On recruiting duty, the active-duty recruiting families are spread out and don't see one another much, so it's nice that we communicate through our closed facebook page and some of us were able to attend this event and socialize.
Last time I joined in by jogging behind the formation, but this time I had to be dressed up since my art class was later in the day. I wish I had pics of the side French braid I did and the dress that garnered so many compliments that day. My mom (super shopper) had flagged the dress for my Florida visit and I approved and bought it there. It's coral with a boatneck, giant white polka dots, and a "mullet" hemline (high in front and low in back). It's quite unique from a handmade fleamarket place, it flows and had a transparent yellow panel in the back. Strangers kept complimenting me as I walked through the park.
A gluten free note- as soon as I walked into the festival, I was pleased to see a LARA bar booth offering gluten free samples of nut bars and the like. Fun!
|car covered in pollen. photo from accuweather.com|
POLLEN- the pollen here in Georgia is a major spring phenomena. I have never seen anything like it. A yellow blanket covers cars, sidewalks, pets, everything. The pollen count spiked over 4000 lately and there are big greenish yellow clouds of it floating around. At the Dogwood festival, I saw people wearing white surgical masks, and I knew exactly why. It reminded me of once when the fire season was so bad in Southern California, that ash was falling from the brown sky, a burning smell filled the air (even though we were far from the fires), and they handed out masks at my work.
The pollen was so bad that my boyfriend was sneezing and suffering from post-nasal drip for the first time ever! So we stayed inside the mall to shop after a lovely brunch (The Cheesecake Factory kale and quinoa salad! gluten free goodness!). We only SHOP once per season, but when we do, we go big. The boyfriend found 7 pair of shorts at Macy's. He has the perfect body, so everything fits like it was sewn for him, but being a redhead/ginger means that many colors wash out his complexion. We enjoy trying things on and giving each other the yay or nay. We appreciate each other's honest opinion. I took part as well, finding many dresses at Dillard's, and a couple my boyfriend liked at New York & Co. where I haven't shopped in years. I also bought Easter clothes to add to the books I'm sending my 1 year old niece at Baby Gap.
|Two dresses, two skirts and a top. Watercolor print, sheer polka dot (center blouse), and pleated skirt a la Taylor Swift.|
|Maxi dress (flourescent), lace backed hippie top, and flowery print dress with boat neck and 3 layers of ruffles on each 3/4 length sleeve. It looks very "Duchess Kate" to me. I have avoided flowers since high school, so it's new for me.|
|Yellow polka dot denim shorts, ruffly top, jean jacket, canvas khaki shoes, etc. for my baby niece.|
Monday, I went to my boyfriend's office (recruiting headquarters) to WELCOME the incoming WIVES. Every other month, a handful of new families are stationed here for the strenuous and infamous recruiting duty. It's nothing like living on a military base (which many have gotten used to over many years), the recruiters work 70+ hour weeks, and the families can feel isolated. There is a slide on the powerpoint presentation for "family readiness" that lists my duties as a "commander's significant other". There is also a handbook for Officers' other halves. The welcoming is one way I choose to fulfill that role.
These USMC families have just undergone a stressful move, have heard nightmare stories about the work stress on this duty and the high divorce rate during it. Experienced military wives as well as newbies have a very full 'cup'. They need to talk and destress about their pcs (move) and adjusting to their new surroundings before they can take anything else in. Once they feel heard, and emptied their cup a bit, then there is room in their cup to fill it with info on what to expect and how to utilize resources and support on such a difficult independent duty. Luckily, all of these families happened to choose Georgia because they have family here and they got their choice!
Tuesday, I did chores and 60 minutes on the elliptical trainer at the gym. Still working out 4-5x per week, in an attempt to look great in a bikini this summer.
Wednesday, I joined the hiking group for a 5 mile hike at Sweetwater Creek. There is an old Grist mill there and some of the trails go along the river. It was impressive that a new mom joined us this week, carrying her infant in a front baby carrier for five miles.
|This is from another day last year at Sweetwater Creek. That's the mill ruins.|
|Wednesday's hike. Sunny, breezy, great hike!|
Also, Wednesday, I got an email notifying me that I am in the running to work as an "extra" (in the background) on a hiking movie being filmed on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. Mostly I do these gigs for fun, but this is one I was really excited about, so I'm hoping it all works out!
|Where's Waldo? Vampire Diaries- I made the cut!|
Thursday, the first episode I was in of Vampire Diaries aired. Here I am as a "traveler" with special powers (kind of like a bodysnatcher). It's cool that I made the cut and am somewhat visible!
Friday, today it's rainy and my boyfriend has to work late as the guest of honor at a local high school "mess night" (high school rapport is very important in recruiting). Here is more info on "dining in" or "mess night" as a Marine Corps tradition. Realizing he was going to be out late, he called and surprised me with a lunch date invitation. He is really doing so much better with time management and showing me that our relationship is a priority rather than just lip service.
|Lilly Pulitzer dress similiar to mine. photo from ebay|
Tomorrow we have a birthday party to attend where the dress attire is Black and White semi-formal. It's my first party where the guests have a color requirement. I'm wearing a hand-me-down white Lilly Pullitzer dress my mom gave me from when she worked at the mall and got great deals. I'm hoping my tan isn't fading after the rainy days. I plan to wear it with gold shoes to dress it up.
Easter- being a military family. we are far from family during many holidays. Our Easter tradition has pretty much been to color eggs, hide them from each other, and then have a picnic. We have a huge yard here with lots of plants and hiding places. Last year my Marine never found some and I'd forgotten which hiding spots were still unfound. Glad it didn't happen indoors (stinky eggs in a few days)!
Hoppy Easter, everybunny!