Back in the USA

N7 SLIPPERS. Why, yes, I am back in the states! I arrived back in town close to midnight on April fourth. I helped unload the pallets of luggage (hundreds of bags) before heading home at 0130 with my fabulous husband. Being that I was half a day ahead of Minot on time schedule, I didn’t end up sleeping much anyhow. I did get a couple of winks on the flight back, armed with combat slippers. I harassed the Master Sergeant next to me about not having said combat items on his person. Yes, I wear a low ponytail, take off all my makeup, and don cushiony slippers instead of flight boots. Toward the end of the flight, I hogged the bathroom to reapply makeup and look like a million bucks. Standard. Over there is a photo of me in my new N7 Mass Effect Hoodie. It’s pretty much my most favorite ever. Kind of like the Mass Effect franchise itself.

BUNNY RANCH. — I suppose the first event was a nice, quiet Easter the weekend of my return. In addition to the thrill of spotting a few bunnies on our evening walks, I made a home-made breakfast of Eggs Benedict, home fries, fruit and mimosas. We walked down the street to the Lutheran church for services; they shared the Easter message and featured their pipe organ to play uplifting and inspiring hymns. Here are some photos of us in our Sunday best, fighting off the dastardly squirrels that attack our bird feeders incessantly. Anyone have a BB gun? Want a squirrel pelt hat?

As for the rest of the week, I just tottered around the house, marveling at how much dust builds up and how dirty your home gets after four months vacated. After arranging the house to my liking, I invited my friend Stephanie from Portland to fly in and visit for the weekend. You know me: if I’m not overly busy, I’m not living! So with the Military Ball on the upcoming Saturday evening, I decided to entertain Steph and Devin on Friday night with a nice dinner. If you remember, Steph was my only bridesmaid in my wedding, besides my sister as maid of honor. She means a lot to me… and she has been going through some tough stuff lately, so it only seemed natural to have her come out for a fabulous North Dakota weekend. Here is a photo of the dining room set up for said dinner.

METAL CHURCH. — Since Saturday cleared up to be the most beautiful day on record, Steph and I ventured down the street to the Gol Stave Church Museum. It’s pretty much Minot’s claim to fame… if it had one. I suppose death-dealing bombers and a replica Scandinavian church = Minot, North Dakota. Anyway, we took our artfag cameras to capture what is considered to be the most metal church in existence. It has dragons on the roofs along side crosses. How could you argue with that! The park also features a 25-foot red horse painted in Scandinavian style, and a small home or two that has grass growing on the roof. Too quaint! The gift shop was closed, but Steph had lots of photos to remember her visit to Minot.

INT’L BALL. — Later on Saturday, we had Minot Air Force Base’s 24th Annual International Military Ball (international meaning Canada, too). Luckily, she brought a gown and Devin just happened to be sans date. Not for long, though! The ball featured a fabulous bagpipes and drum band, but I had to tell the DJ to pick it up, because the songs he was playing were dull. “Tommy Dorsey had so many upbeat hits. Let’s play one of them…” I don’t think “I’ll Never Smile Again” gets the party started. Speaking of getting the party started, the Air Force group that played after featured a repertoire of five songs. Five. Hits included such gems as “Crazy In Love” by Beyonce and some Black Eyed Peas song. Fine once, but then just a few minutes in, they started repeating. A live band. Repeating songs not twenty minutes into their set. Oh God. But overall it was a good time, and we had good people at our table! Plus, it was so nice to finally have Larry around. I told him at the cocktail hour I kept forgetting he was there because it’d been so long since we went to an official function together… precisely a year and four months, if you must know actualities. It was like a pleasant surprise to turn around and see him (being handsome) every time! Actually having a date that isn’t deployed or in training is amazing; I think I can speak for us both. I’ve had some people ask why I didn’t wear my mess dress. If you can’t determine why from this photo, then let’s just say that I wanted to just be a spouse for one evening. The official reason is that this even wasn’t a mandatory military function, so it was my choice if I did. Oh! & I have to take credit for Steph’s hair. ♥

INT’L BALL. — Lastly, Larry and I watched a short documentary called Food Matters. It’s about vitamins and organic food and how your body is its own natural healer. Now, I’m not some food nut, but those who know me are aware I don’t eat red meat or pork for health reasons, and for unsanitary slaughterhouse conditions. I’ve done some research on alternatively healthy living, but we’ve decided to read up a little more on it. I bought organic strawberries the other day, and the cashier and bag boy were raving about how colorful and bright they looked. And they tasted like real strawberries! So much fruit is so bland now; my grandma remarked a few years ago about how good bananas were when she was a little girl. Now they are sadly bland. My mom had a huge garden when I was growing up and we kept chickens for their eggs. I’ve found a spouse in my squadron that raises hens and knows the scoop on local produce and meat. Hopefully I’ll see and feel some positive changes from eating well! Yenta says, “What, no seconds on lentil soup? You don’t like my cooking? I bet you’d rather me just drop dead and not cook for you anymore. Maybe then you’d miss that lentil soup.”

I return to work this Friday to start my new job as Squadron Executive Officer. It’s basically just a secretary job for the commander… But it’s something new and different!

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