Sprechen Sie Awesome?

My lovely friend Rell and I have recently reconnected (what’s better than reconnecting with a dear friend? Seriously, nothing!) and out of the goodness of her amazing heart, she decided to send me an awesome German care pack!

Yes, Germany.  One of the fun and wacky aspects of good ole military life is living abroad, and right now Rell and her family live on an Army base in Germany.   Her kids are having an amazing time learning the language and traveling so much, she and her husband have also really liked the experience.  Hearing about the plans for jaunts they have in store, and seeing the pics of how they’ve spent their time there so far: I’m uber jealous.  She’s having the real fun, but there’s still some rollover awesome that affects those she knows.  Having a friend who is stationed abroad comes with fringe benefits – this care pack being a major one.

my friend rell. this pretty lady sent ME a care pack!

when i saw this had arrived, i was downright giddy

You see, I got new doctors here in Western New York.  And the process of doing so was a DOOZY.  It was pretty rough, actually.  All the red tape and paperwork, all the hassle, it was a logistical nightmare.  Then, once I finally got on board with a new doc to manage my porphyria – he did what all new docs on a case loooooove to do: change up all my meds and make my body freak out.  So yeah, there was a period of time that was pretty craptastic.  It was right around this time that my pal Rell and I reconnected, and knowing that I was feeling the stress and dealing with some stuff – she decided to send me a sweet box of pick-me-ups.

When a box from Europe comes for you, and you know there are treats inside: it’s a super exciting time!

And this box of treats did NOT disappoint, neither now.

all mah goodies

Why is it that the German flavor of gummy bears taste so amazing?  They’re ridiculous.  My actual theory is because of the food coloring.  In Europe they’re way more progressive and awesome, and actually aware that food dyes are basically poison – and thus, the foods and candies of European countries usually do not include Red40 or Blue Lake Whatever… they include this crazy stuff, natural flavoring and coloring.  (So weird!).  But seriously, I think it’s the lack of dyes and the clever use of real flavors that enhances the quality.

She also packed in this tea that I certainly can’t get enough of.  I’m actually drinking a nice warm mug right now, but after a looooong day of work I look haggard and am not using a snapshot from this minute.  (Instead I’m using one from yesterday in which I also look really weird and not so cute, but it’s sadly better than now).

the worst ever pic of me, drinking the best ever tea

this tea is to die for

Rell also has beautiful penmanship and the handwritten note she included is so lovely!  I wish I could do cursive that well.  She packed in all kind of thoughtful lovely items, even a blankie for JJ – just… what a SWEET friend she is!  Thank you so much Sherrill, you’re the best.   Here are some more bragging pics of my sweet care pack:

she even included a blanket for jj!

jayjers all snuggled in his soft lil doggie blankie

side one

the b-side

Have you ever gotten an awesome box of goodies?

If you were to get a care pack from Germany, what would you want in it?

And now… what American goodies should I make durn sure to include in a care pack I send over to her?

As always: thanks for reading!!  

XOXO, HHR

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Fun Times With Family and Friends

In the month or so that I took a blogging break, things were downright nutty around here.  I mentioned that we had some family come in town, and now I’ll elaborate.  In yesterday’s post I talked about my weekend trip to Jax for a surprise party – so I figured with all the family and friend fun times, I could just mash up the visits together and make one big photo dump post to catch everyone up on what’s been going on.

One on hand, I totally realize this is kinda cheap and corny (to throw it all into one post).  But on the other, I’m trying my best to achieve a balance that’s tough to strike, between wanting to cover events that are fun and important to me, without boring the pants off everyone reading.  I know that the minutia of my personal life isn’t nearly as fascinating to y’all as I find it – and with respect to that, I’m trying to not drown you in lame-o posts about very ordinary things.  I do realize, however, that for people who know me in person and hang out with me, there’s a certain expectation of making it into the blog when we hang out.  Or least a nervous reluctance that you probably will end up on here at some point.

So.  With all that meta debate established, I’m cool with going ahead and mentioning a little bit about several different events and then slamming y’all with a photo dump.  Cool? Good.

First up, my cousins Justin and Nicole came up here from Florida.  I hadn’t seen them in over a year, and having them come up to New York (and Canada) for a while was awesome.  They’ve grown up so very much, and realizing just how different they’ve become in 15 months makes me sad to be as far away from them as I am.  I knew both of them in vitro, and have seen their growing up firsthand, until I moved to Hawaii.  We had a great time and made sure to squeeze in as much as we could – like going boating on the lake, doing arts and crafts, cooking out, etc. etc.  In addition to having them up here, my sister Anna and her boyfriend Jared drove over to come visit with them as well.  They live north of Albany, so it’s not too much of a hike.  Having everyone all in Fredonia was both awesome and crazy.  It was a lot of moving parts to keep track of, that’s for sure!

All in all, we had a great time – and I was super sad to see everyone go.

Like less than a week later, my Dad and Step-Mom (Anna) came up here to see us!  They took a big trip up from Florida and we were their first stop.  Neither Duggs or I had seen them since they came out to visit us in Hawaii (remember that post?), so hanging out with Viper and Anna was long, long overdue.  We had an awesome time.  Lots of hanging out, some rambling, we went shooting, hung out with other family members that live in the area, went out to eat, and who knows what else.  Oh yeah, Dad took me to a doctor’s appointment and got to meet one of my new docs up here.  We dedicated a lot of their trip to just spending quality time together, not necessarily focused on an event or an activity.  And that was good, it was just great to hang out all together.

So that covers the two big events of us hosting folks up here.

As y’all already know, last weekend I flew down to Florida to go hang out and get crazy with my old college pals.  I went to UNF in Jacksonville, FL from 2001-2005.  After graduating, I stayed in town for several years (like four?) where I worked and lived and kept partying with my college friends in some weird pattern of extended adolescence.  It was very rad, and I loved the years I spent in Jax.  The beaches are great, the community is great, I loved riding my beach cruiser everywhere and getting to surf after work.  It was just an awesome place to live, and I miss it often.  Well, I miss the friends most of all – but Jax too.  It’s a very rad town!   I didn’t get a ton of pics (partying + mob mentality + not having a flash = lame, blurry, too dark photos), but a couple of the ones that are okay I threw into the photo dump here.

As much fun as I had reuniting with my pals, and wishing one of my dearest dudes, Cory Lee, a happy birthday – man, there is NO place like home.  And at this point in time, I’m confident to say that Western New York sure does feel like home.  I’m glad to be back and I’m happy to be here.  I was just going through some pics from this summer- snap shots from runs I’ve been on, photos of the dogs being silly, and I can easily say that I love my now-life.

Thanks to everyone who hung out this summer and contributed to some super fun times!  Hawaii was amazing, but it was lonely – so seeing loved ones again is a very very nice thing.  It’s wonderful and fills my cold little heart with a whole mess of happiness.

As always, thanks for reading my blog!!  XOXO, HHR

Without further ado… THE PICS:

Guest Post from a Veteran: Please Have Fun On Memorial Day

To all of happyhippierose’s readers, Happy Memorial Day!

My wonderful wife Rose has asked me, as a veteran, to write this guest post, and I am both honored and humbled to do so.

our wedding day, april 17 2010

Together, with teachers and missionaries, Blacks from Charleston established a “May Day,” in 1865.  Memorial Day was established following the Civil War in 1866 to honor the fallen soldiers.  It was then known as Decoration Day.  Later on, in the twentieth century, the honor of this day was extended to American veterans of all wars.

Today, I write from my own experience and opinion.  Over the last six years, I have had the luxury of a wonderful support system not limited to, but comprised of family, friends, and my loving wife!

may 12, 2009: leaving for afghan – saying goodbye

afghan homecoming ’09

Having served as a Marine infantryman in Iraq, and twice in Afghanistan, my fellow Marines and I have endured the worst of the worst.  Terrible conditions, and unthinkable losses have been our experience.  The funny thing is that we have all been more than happy to do so.  As service members it is the reason why we decided to sign on the dotted line.  I now understand why “old people” watch their war movies, and silently reminisce.  It has been, overall, a completely life changing and (no matter how much we have all griped at times) positive experience.

echo 2-2, cax 2008

2nd platoon, echo company in iraq: 2008

In the days leading up to this holiday, it has been my observation, that some of my fellow Marines harbor feelings of anger and bitterness towards people who they feel might not fully grasp the meaning of the holiday.  With posts like “*$%& all the people who think it’s just another day off of work,” and “*$%& your bbq’s,” that I have seen on Facebook, I find it disheartening.

this one and many others have been passed around the interwebs this past week – some are nice, some are just negative and miss the point

I say enjoy your time off!  Live, laugh, and love with your friends and families!  Enjoy your BBQs, and drink your drinks!  I sure know that I will.  I will also ensure that I hold Rose a little tighter and kiss her a few more times during the day than usual, for I am grateful.  I am grateful to all veterans who have paid the ultimate price, those who have made that ultimate sacrifice for the precise purpose that we all have the freedom to enjoy our lives and loved ones all the more.  It is the gift that they have given us, and it would be in vain if we did not make the most of it.

smooching on memorial day ’10

afghan homecoming ’11

I hope that all of you out there have a wonderful Memorial Day holiday, and that you are near your friends and families!

….

From Rose: Special thanks to my hubs for all his service, dedication and for writing this post!

It’s with immense gratitude that I want to thank ALL service men and women, past and present for protecting all of the wonderful freedoms we know here in the USA.  Thank you!!  And to all the service families out there too – I know y’all do a lot on your ends, give up a lot, go through a lot too, so thanks to you all too.   To my cousin Chad and his fam, my Great Uncle John, my Aunt Edith, and all my dear friends in the military community: it is with so much love that I say Happy Memorial Day and thank for fun days like today!

Duggs does have a blog of his own, too.  He just hasn’t updated in a long, long time… go check it out and heckle him into posting more often (he’s a great writer, huh?).

I Am Rose’s Keeper is his blog.

As always, thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

Fancy Photos From the Road: Camp Curtis

More photos, I know! I’ve finally uploaded the nice pics from our good camera onto the computer and put together some posts from our trip around New York last week.

I already wrote about the lovely time we had visiting my sister and her boyfriend Jared in Pottersville, NY at their rustic and luxurious lake house on Valentine Pond, Camp Curtis (check out that post, here!)… but I owe y’all the rest of the photos from that leg of the trip.

And since my sister had so much fun messing with the camera, we took a TON of pics while we were there.  With so many animals, such pretty scenery and so much going on, how could you not just snap away all day?

So here’s a whole mess of photos from the few days we were there.  Thanks for looking!

And as always (and I really do mean this), thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

Moto Friendship Bracelet Making How-To

Dommie, one of my most bestest friendests and I looooove to make friendship bracelets.  It’s a rad craft that I’ve mentioned here a time or two before.  Back in ’09, Dommie and I invented these cute moto bracelets, we posted pics and then all of our forum pals wanted to know how we did them.  The how-to portion isn’t incredible, but it’s enough to get the idea.

I copy and pasted both of my own posts from 2009.  The original content was all mine, so why not re-use?  Go green.  I had to re-vamp the formatting and I used new links, otherwise the content is unchanged (hence the weird punctuation and grammar).

It’s easy-peasy to Google bracelet making instructions, there are even a few links in the second post.  While Dommie and I were missing our deployed boys, we made ourselves “moto bracelets” – some were desert colored, others patriotic (we’re all about the YRN: Yellow Ribbon Nation!) to wear while they were in Afghan.

If you make any of your own, share some pics, will ya?

Moto Wrists (post one):

so dominique and i have gotten a BIT carried away with the friendship bracelets …. we look like 12 year old girls who have been at summer camp for WEEKS.

but, its so awesome! we can’t stop… the ankles are next. what’s rad is we’ve learned and figured out all kinds of wacky stitches and ways to mess around with them. we’re getting pretty good at this.

dommie:

rosie (me):

what started as one deployment bracelet has turned into my MOTO WRIST. i got some USA patriotic action, some yellow ribbon stuff, desert digi, 550cord in woodland camo, and some random regular camo-ish in there too. dommie is trying to catch up on her moto wrist… we’ll see how far she gets.

The How-To (post two):

okay… so lotsa ppl keep asking “how” we (me and dommie) make the camo friendship bracelets. here’s a super detailed how-to thread just on this.

we just make regular kind of friendship bracelets… i found some sites to show you how to tie if you don’t already know. we get the string from crafts stores, and its a REALLY cheap hobby!

links:

http://www.how-to-make-jewelry.com/how-to-make-friendship-bracelets.html

http://friendship-bracelets.net/

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Friendship-Bracelet

i used REALLY simple knots/stitches. i use variations of flat or twisting chinese stair cases (the stitch where you make a “4” and tie it around the other strings in your bracelet):

step one: choose a string you want to show. make a “four” on top of the remaining strings (these will get tied in the middle):

feed the end through the loop:

pull it TIGHT. holding tight the strings in the middle:

the only string that will be visible for that stitch is the one you made the four with. if you make the four in the same direction (point to the right for example) the subsequent knots will twist. if you alternate directions (right, tie. left, tie. etc.) the subsequent knots will be flat.

you can also do a double version of this stitch:

the green and the brownish strings on the side will BOTH show on this stitch.

the green is the first “four” on top. then make a four with the brown going under and feeding into the green’s loop:

pull tight and you have a double chinese staircase.

to twist, keep the same SIDE on top (the top string will alternate bw the two you are using, ex: one with green on top, one with brown on top – the result will look like green and brown stripes, one stripe is each stitch, the middle is twisty and harder to see) … to make it flat, use the same STRING on top each time (it will switch sides with every stitch, green on top every time – green will be on the outside of the finished stitch, brown in the middle, its flat so the middle is easy to see).

….

an idea i made up that i am in love with is braiding the string before i make a bracelet. instead of using just individual strings, i make braids and then use them as if a braid was one string.

to make desert digi i made several braids first.

1. tan, tan, brown
2. tan, tan, black
3. tan, tan, creamy beige

bc of the way a braid looks, just little specs of the black, brown and cream show, and the majority of the bracelet looks tan. it seriously looks EXACTLY like desert digi.

i’m pointing to the finished desert digi:

next to that is my red,white, blue and yellow.

for my red, white and blue… i also made a blue and white braid first, 2 blue, 1 white – so the white would be small specs like stars in the flag. then i used solid red and solid white for the stripes of the flag. the yellow is just a single string wrapped around after each “flag.”

for the woodland camo i made four braids first:

1. black, black, cream
2. brown, brown, green
3. green, green, cream
4. black, brown, cream

then i did a mix of flat and double chinese staircase stitches, mixing up the two visible strings all randomly.

finished:

my pic quality is kinda crappy bc its just my webcam that i’m using, but IRL the “camo” effect is pretty awesome.

As always, thanks for reading, and happy crafting!  xoxo, hhr

PS, they original posts were on good ole msos – the mil spouse craziness that i totes owe my life to!  (i should so blog about that someday).

New Wrist Candy

Being at retreat earlier this month totally got me into a bracelet making mode and now I just can’t stop!  At women’s retreat I brought a big bag of embroidery floss with me and a bunch of us had fun tying new bracelets, yay!

Now, every night before bed I find myself working a little on one, it’s so relaxing.  And with all the crazy weather we’ve been having, I keep telling myself it’ll be a fun hobby to have on deck for when the power goes out again.

our backyard getting crazy in the high winds

the first hail i've seen in hawaii - it woke me up at five in the morning last week, pelting the house with a ton of fury!

Speaking of retreat, I am so aware that I’ve been a slacker in writing some more post-retreat blog posts.  I’m working on it – life these days is busy!  We’ve had terrible weather, work has been busy, I haven’t been feeling great, and we’re moving soon – lots and lots of excuses, I know, but legit all the same.

So back to bracelet talk – 

A few weeks ago I finally took off my usual friendship bracelets and went bare.  It had been a good long while since I’d made any new ones and the ones I’ve been rocking were old and well on their way to yucky.

Within like ten days, I’ve totally made myself a whole new arm of stringed fun!  Check it out:

my recent wrist

Isn’t that thick oranges and yellows number on the end awesome?  It took forevs but I’m so glad I went for it.  It’s 12 strings across, and since it’s the kind that goes string by string tying the knots, it was time-consuming!  I love it though, it’s super rad (despite that obvious one mess up in the middle, grr).

a fun, albeit time consuming, new bracelet to make!

The new threads look so great with my other newest piece of arm candy, the L.O.V.E. metal bracelet everyone at retreat was gifted:

this makes me so happy!

the versatile blogger award

The Versatile Blogger Award!! 

The rules for the Versatile Blogger Award are:
1) Thank the person who nominated me and link back to them in my post
2) Share 7 things about me
3) Pass the award on to 15 more bloggers
4) Contact the bloggers I have chosen to let them know that they have been selected

1) Thank you, EyeLaugh!  I was nominated by EyeLaugh, and I totally recommend you check out their burgeoning web comics.

2) Seven Things About ME, happyhippierose:

  1. I was raised in Florida, but born in Boston.  My parents were married there too, they lived there a few years.  Hence why I love the BoSox!
  2. I am a Christian, and I am a lefty lefty liberal – it’s possible to be both, I promise! I love being a tree-hugging, crunchy, radical who follows Christ.  My motivation is love, it’s all about loving others.
  3. JJ, my pooch, is like a little BFF to me and we do everything together
  4. Before I got married I had no idea it would be as awesome as it is, I love being married, I love being wife and mostly I love my husband.  He’s the best.
  5. I’m dreadfully homesick.  I miss my family so much, I can’t wait for the next time we’re all together; my extended fam is all real close – cousins, aunts and uncles, I miss all of them so much.
  6. If I met genie and got three wishes… after ending all the world’s real problems I would totally wish for a really amazing singing voice.  I always have wished that I could really sing, like Mariah sing… but honestly, I’d take a good enough voice for karaoke at this point.  I’m the worst.
  7. I have three tattoos and I want so many more, I just can’t choose any places to put them.

3) Fifteen Bloggers:

  1. erin writes – i’m subscribed to erin, she’s a funny mom trying to write a novel
  2. roadkills-r-us – i learn so much from miles, he’s a pastor, father, friend and more
  3. deconstructing saigon – my friend christina is witty, clever, sweet and rad
  4. the hash slinger – beautiful photos, food, faith and fun
  5. cult fit – fitness motivation, nutrition, humor and just lots of awesome
  6. nourish.nature.love. – carly’s fitness, juicing, military wife life, yoga blog with pretty pics
  7. smile across the finish – about running, super inspirational
  8. sink or swim – reb d. is all over the world!
  9. die, food dye! – rebecca is saving lives with her work against harmful dyes
  10. heroblues – my friend sydney’s blog about yoga, fitness and food
  11. wtfrain – rain’s random rants about all kinds of stuff; explicit!
  12. bear runner – get motivated to train and crank out the miles
  13. the skip-raid – the funniest blog i’ve ever read, my fav for years
  14. twirling girl – a new find for me, victoria’s blog on faith is just amazing
  15. through the tunnel – esther blogs about PPD from the vantage point of surviving it
Congrats everyone!  If I went and linked you here, and gave you the award on your blog – I really do love what you do, it really is my way of saying Rock On!
…..
My Thoughts on The Versatile Blogger Award:

I’ve been “awarded” the Versatile Blogger Award, and I’ve been honestly torn on whether I wanted to play along with this, or not.  This “award” isn’t decided by a blog critiquing entity, a committee, or a professional organization – another blogger who enjoys my lil’ page here gave it to me.

I think this “award” is more about networking amongst blogs, and getting my link out there than it is some literary achievement that validates my good writings here. The world of super blogging really intimidates me – all the fancy custom logos and graphics, these big communities where everyone knows everyone.  I like reading other blogs, but I like reading them for content, not as just a means to get them to read my blog.

I feel like a lot of people do that, ya know?  They cruise around blogs, leaving comments just for the sake of getting others to click their link.

“Oh hay, I totally agree with what you said you should click to my blog now you would like it.”  

I feel like I see stuff like that so often.  I hate that… it feels like when someone in a conversation isn’t listening to you, but merely waiting for their turn to speak.

I want to have two-sided, genuine conversations. 

But the blog that awarded this to me, EyeLaugh, I like.  The his and her comedy duo are very nice, and we’ve been reading each others blogs for a little while now.  I know that like all of us, they likely care about increasing readership and fostering a community… but it feels more genuine than whoring.

So it is for them, and for the sake of experimenting that I’m going to do this.  So, we’ll see how it goes!

as always, thanks for reading!  xoxo, hhr