Tag Archives: everyday-hero

Mom Day Gifts, As Seen On TV Edition

I haven’t done a shopping guide in a while. Y’all really do not need my help, for one, and there are only so many wineglasses one can own, for another. But there is a niche that is not quite ignored, but usually given a pass. That’s the “As Seen On TV!” stuff that you roll your eyes at until you are in Walgreens and see the display and wonder if the Sham WOW™ really works.

It does, just so you know. Don’t judge me.

Anyway, I figured some people are at wit’s end trying to get a nice gift for pocket money, or maybe just a gift for the mom who has pretty much everything. So I have gone and searched for y’all, and for my kids. Just in case they manage to read the blog. If they don’t, then I will remind them this weekend while there is still time.

One of the handiest gifts I ever received was Aqua Globe. My German neighbor gave me one when I lived in Germany and it was a handy way to water potted plants.

aqua-globes-watering-bulb

I think those were the only potted plants to survive Aggie’s German reign of terror. And the bulbs look very pretty, to boot.

Some things that women never tend to think about getting for themselves are foot pampering tools. I am partial to the Amope foot file. Ok, it sounds odd for me to say this would make a nice gift, but trust me: women often forget to take care of their feet. Throw in some nice body cream and a foot soak and BAM!! You are done. And if you really feel like sealing the deal, give her a foot massage to go with it. And peel a few grapes while you’re at it.

If all else fails, treat her to a nice picnic by a lake or a fountain and make sure to tell her thank you for putting up with everything. You don’t have to break the bank to make moms feel appreciated. The thought does count, even if it’s as simple as a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou 😉

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Humming Along Again

This past Sunday, I got the urge to commit some floracide, so Hubby and I headed to the local home improvement and garden store to get some grass seed and some plants willing to sacrifice themselves to the Sith way of gardening. I am partial to calla lilies and petunias for containers but the lilies tend to be pricey, so I was going to settle for marigolds instead. And taking a turn towards them, Hubby discovered a damsel in distress.

hummingbird

Poor wee thing was on the floor by the marigolds, looking exhausted after battling the early morning storm, most likely. First order of business was to gather her up and cradle her to get her warm. So while I chose my sacrificial flora over in the clearance section, he walked around warming her up and rousing the curiosity of customers. Once my victims were chosen and paid for, we then journeyed over to the pet store to get a hummingbird feeder. We needed to replace the one that broke during a previous storm, and also needed snake food. Two birds with one stone (Bada BING!!). After the clerks oohed and ahhed over the hummingbird, we went home and set up some nectar and then ensconced her in the master bathroom with it.

This is where I left the house to go get some stuff at the antique store. This is also when hilarity ensued.

Hubby (via text): The hummingbird is gone.

Me (via panic): *calls home* What?? Define “gone”!!

Hubby: Well, we can’t find her in the bathroom.

Me: Oh, thank goodness. She’s probably hiding in the floral swag over the window.

Hubby: Wait….no, she was behind the toothbrush holder.

Me: I’m on my way home, so don’t lose her again!

Once home, I joined the rescue party going on around my shower stall, where the bird was sipping on her new-found manna from heaven. She was showing signs of recovery as she flitted about, so we left Hubby to catch her so he could release her outside. As he brought her out we noticed her recovery was complete, listening to her annoyed chirps while cradled gently in his hand. Once outside on the patio, he opened his hand slowly to let her get adjusted. She tried out her wings, and flitted around him before taking off over the trees.

It was a wonderful Sunday, and one spent catering to one of the least of us. I hope she is out and about enjoying the day, telling her friends where to find some awesome nectar, and that we puny humans aren’t as bad as they think 😀


Anchors to Compasses

As some of y’all know, Eldest is serving in the US Navy. One of the things I had to get used to was dealing with the fact that she is an adult and I have no control over her wants for a tattoo. I admit it is…. difficult to untie the apron strings, and I have managed to do so. For the most part. Oh, like *I* am the only parent who has ever gone through this???

Yeah, I thought so.

Anyway, blogger friend XBradTC has a post about a Russian nuclear sub catching fire. The first thought to pop into my head was Red October. And then my friend Mark commented about reminding him of the movie Hostile Waters. And that brought to mind a survey done by USAA long ago about the best submarine movies of all time. I have told y’all how my mind wanders from one thought to another on skewed lines. This isn’t news. And I began to recall my favorites.

the-hunt-for-red-october

Das Boot is by far my favorite. I fell in love with Jurgen Prochnow watching his portrayal of Capt. Willenbrock (not his name in the movie but the real life character on which it’s based) dealing with the immense claustrophobic conditions and the grittiness contained in that sardine can. He broke my heart in Beverly Hills Cop II but I soon forgave him. The movie gave us a slice of that unforgiving life served raw and rotted. And the look on his face as he dies in the air attack has never been equaled.

In not-too-distant second place it’s Gray Lady Down.

Two words: Charlton Heston.

Sure, you have Stacy Keach and Keith Carradine and even Christopher Reeve. But none of them come close to Heston. NONE!! As captain of the “Gray Lady” he balances hope against certain death masterfully. And Carradine’s act of ultimate sacrifice makes me cry every single time.

I think the first submarine movie I ever watched was my third place contender, The Enemy Below. It was dubbed in Spanish, and let me tell you, the guy who dubbed Robert Mitchum’s voice didn’t even come close to doing him justice. Technically, the submarine was not the protagonist in this movie. But the cat-and-mouse plot between Capt. Murrell and Capt. Von Stolberg brings you to the edge of your seat, and you can’t help but admire the German’s brilliance.

Tied for third place is the film that got me thinking about all of this in the first place. The Hunt for Red October had everything you could want in a movie: mystery, subterfuge, action, drama, humor, frivolity, major eye candy (don’t judge me), and even a touch of romance. Oh, not the “chick flick” type of romance, but rather romance in the simplicity of Capt. Borodin’s wishes to live in Montana. Respect for each other is definitely earned by all of the characters as the leadership of the Russian sub lies to its crew in its fight for survival on both sides of the ocean.

Last but not least, I have to say the “guilty pleasure” addition to my list is Down Periscope.  Though the entire scenario requires a complete and thorough suspension of disbelief, it’s still manages to instill good lessons in raising morale and dealing with the worst hand ever dealt. Kelsey Grammer’s portrayal of Commander Dodge is beyond hilarious, from deadpan to outrage to outrageous. Forcing the XO to walk the plank was hilarious. Christening the Stingray as the U.S.S. Rustoleum was genius.

Well, now I am feeling nostalgic. I may dig up my VHS copy of Red October from the bins upstairs. Yes, I still have VHS, and that cassette is rather special, since it’s red instead of the conventional black. Besides, one can never have too much of Sean Connery 😉


Aggie’s Unconventional Guide to Valentine’s Day

Let me be clear: I can’t stand Valentine’s Day.

stabbed heart

I love the romance and the idea and history behind the holiday, don’t get me wrong. But the commercialism makes me all stabby while pukey. I have written posts in the past to help y’all with gift ideas for your beloved. Some have been obvious (my go-to Lolita glass of the week) and some have been a bit….. odd (Zen perfume made from roses grown outside our atmosphere). So here is my list for no-fail gifts this Valentine’s Day.

#5– Electric drill

Honestly, most women would like to own one just so they could put up their own wall decor and also have a handy tool for those times when you need to be….persuasive.

#4– Santoku knife

Who doesn’t want a knife??

#3– Ear plugs

For those times when you finally run out of patience with questions, be it from kids, or coworkers.

#2– Car wash pass

Show her you love her enough to worry about her manicure, or at least worry what the neighbor’s think of her vehicular trash can.

#1– Personal vacation

Sending your beloved somewhere on his or her own is a great way to show them that you love them. Why? Because your beloved needs time away from you before that electric drill becomes necessary. News at 11.

So there you go. A list of awesome gifts for your sweetheart. I have three santoku knives, several pairs of ear plugs, and I am angling for the drill next. Also, I am not responsible for any reaction you may get from your beloved if you choose to heed my advice. As usual, my advice is unsolicited and should always fall on deaf ears, especially those ears with ear plugs. But should you feel the need to give a safer, more conventional gift, roses are always a wonderful idea.

So the florist tells me 😉


Life is Like a Cup of Coffee

Yesterday I was doing some grocery shopping. Kids were complaining of a decided lack of sustenance in the pantry, mainly junkfood. I was complaining of a decided laziness in their bones that prevented them from actually cooking what was available. But I was running very low on coffee and creamer and decided my needs outweighed my crankiness, so off I went to Walmart. Why there? because I didn’t feel like putting on make-up, ok??

Anyway, I got some general school supplies, some new anti-wrinkle cream, just random crap. Eventually I make it to the coffee aisle, whereupon I begin to make my selections: Donut House coffee and some hazelnut cappuccino for Eldest. Standing in front of the vast selection of K-cup coffee is an older couple, looking a bit dazed and confused. Having been in a similar circumstance when I first got my Keurig™, I decided to offer any help in picking out coffee. I’m not a connoisseur by any means, but I figured I knew a bit more than they did. I asked them if they needed any help, and the gentleman turned to me to thank me and asked me for advice.

That’s when I noticed his cap. He was a Marine, and had served in WWII and Korea. He was a little stooped, but when I asked him about his service he stood a little more straight as he spoke of his time in the Marines. He never spoke of the gore and the violence, though. He talked about the field, and his friends, and how even now he sometimes put coffee grinds between his gum and cheek so he wouldn’t wake his wife by using the coffeemaker. He talked about how the only fights he had were over who got the first cup of joe before patrol (first one done, was first one out on patrol). Coffee, he said, kept him sane and kept his world going. As I shook his hand to wish him well, he noticed my Aggie ring. He asked what class I was, and then proceeded to tell me of the Aggies he knew from his time in service: the Aggie who rescued cattle at the expense of a truck’s tires; the Aggie who made pigeon stew; the Aggie who sang before battle. He told me that every Aggie he knew was made from something he could never define, but that was easily recognizable. I told him I felt the same way about my Marine friends. He laughed and told me I was probably right. As I thanked him for his service, he asked me to thank my husband for his. When I asked him how he knew my husband was in the service, he pointed to my purse: Hubby’s Purple Heart, which I always carry with me, was sticking out. I laughed and thanked them both for a lovely time spent in the coffee aisle. They waved and wished me a good day.

In truth the medal could have been my dad’s or my brother’s or mine. But he is a gentleman of another era who learned that only men go into combat. His memories will soon leave us without record but that of what he chooses to leave behind. In that moment, I felt very small. I had been in the presence of greatness by virtue of history. I pray his story is told for a long time, and that children learn good things from it, like the reason those men fought over a cup of coffee.


In Memoriam

In Flanders Field

by John MaCrae

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead.
Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved and now we lie,
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw,
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us, who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow,
In Flanders Fields.

red poppies

Remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.


To Those Who Served

A profound and heartfelt thanks.

thank you vets

For my husband, and my brothers-in-law, my neighbors, and my friends.

And for my brother Draco, who never failed to call and thank all of those he knew.

We can never repay what you have sacrificed for your country.


Softly Call the Muster

To my brother Draco,

My heart grieves as it grips with your final goodbye. You were more than just a brother-in-law. You were a big brother, a buddy, and a friend. No matter what, you always knew you could come to me with anything, and often did. There were times when you made me pull my hair out in exasperation, but there were also times when you helped me in my troubles.

Just like a brother would.

I find myself listening to your voicemails, reading your texts and your messages. Hearing your voice again makes me smile, remembering the private jokes and the camaraderie we shared. This past year was not easy for you, but you made the best of it while you were here with us. We got to have you in our lives for eight months, and that in itself was a blessing from God. We still have the paracord bracelets you made, and the martini glasses you “acquired” for us, the beers you left behind, and the bottle of vodka you bought as a “thank you”. That bottle remains unopened on the shelf, waiting for the day when we can gather to celebrate you, Rottie style.

draco2

Yes the heart grieves, but it also remembers, and that will be the balm to comfort us. Rangers do lead the way, and you have never failed to do so. You lived more in your 48 years than most people do in two lifetimes. I pray you are at peace, and hope that in slipping the surly bonds that tethered you, you are now free. God bless and keep you, hermano. I am still, and know that you are with us.


The Eagle Has Landed

Today is the day my husband gets his Eagles.

colonel eagle

He has worked hard, and achieved more than most. His dedication to the U.S. Army and his department is deep, committed, and unquestioned, just as it is with his family. And his loyalty extends to all, regardless of rank or affiliation. He is a true soldier.

My heart swells with pride, knowing he has reached another milestone in his career. His peers and superiors have expressed not just their congratulations, but also the hope and desire that he continue in this path towards the next level. And that is achievement indeed.


Happy Father’s Day!!

And as usual, it’s a bit chaotic around here.

First, Minecraft™ must be played.

Second, chocolate chip muffins must be devoured.

Third, go zip-lining.

Fourth, stop praying after the zip-lining.

Fifth, enjoy the rest of the day.

vader bbq

Happy Father’s Day to all the Sith dads, and the not-so-Sith 🙂

Graphic courtesy of Tiberius.