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Hello (again), world!

I am writing this on a perfect Friday afternoon. 70° and sunny. I have a lot of good things to share with the world.

NEW TITLES. I updated twice last year; that is pathetic. However, with everything going on — you know how it is… the busier you are and the more great things you’re doing, the less you have time or thought to write it all down. Funny how that works. I did change the title of the blog to a “there’s no dress rehearsal” mentality to life. Drafting Present means your only “rough draft” is what we are doing right now, presently. There’s no final, polished result unless you live it that way. So, it changed to Drafting Present from my aviation theme, which I no longer have an active role in…

NEW BEGINNINGS. For big mentions, I have officially changed careers from a B-52H weapons systems officer to a full-time Masters student. As I write this, a B-52 is flying overhead at 1,000 ft over my house. Do I miss it? Nope. It was a good run, folks. I got to travel all over the world, and even land in some awesome places. Most notable were Guam, Alaska, and Las Vegas. If I told you about all the cool places I flew over, well, I’d probably have to kill you. Ha. No, seriously. Ha!

Overall, the military was good to me. I paid off student loans with a great career right out of college, lived in interesting places (San Antonio, TX; North Dakota…), got a husband out of it, earned Veteran’s status, and they pay you to return to school for more education. Speaking of which, I am enrolled in the Masters of Science program at Louisiana State University to gain my certification as a Counselor. I think “Life Coach” or “Life Consultant” would be looking pretty good on a business card once it’s all said and done. I am just a couple weeks into the program and they really like us to “give presentations.” The Air Force helped with that, too. Overall, the military said, “What do you want to do? You can be anything now that you’re done and we will pay for it.” So here I am. Turned in my military ID last week for a “dependent ID”. It’s a transition to deal with no longer having that sweet officer title. Now people assume I have five kids and stay at home eating candy when I am introduced as my husband’s spouse. But one day I will have a P.h.D. and won’t care anymore. Dr. and Major. Feels good.

Next weekend I am heading over to visit Devin in Pensacola, Florida. He teaches brand new Lieutenants how to survive in the aircraft. There were rumblings of a cocktail party at this place: he knows how much I love parties! And, he has a sweet bachelor pad and is just minutes from the beach. And speaking of beach, Larry is heading to Hawaii tomorrow for a business trip. For his birthday. He has all the luck. Didn’t get him a gift. Sorry not sorry.

NEW SKILLS. During my two months of “down time” between separating from the military and beginning school full time, I’ve been working on a few skills. I can bake bread like a professional, and I’m pretty good with beautiful hair creations (up do’s) now, too. I am also taking piano lessons from the best teacher ever! He is helping me with theory. I am still visiting my elderly folks at the rest home on Saturdays. Last week I learned one gentleman was in the Battle of the Bulge. You never know who you are talking to.

I have a feeling these two years will fly by. I hope I can hang on and enjoy the ride, and the impending move that is sure to follow, if not sooner. For now, I’ll drink lots of coffee, sport my white girl yoga pants, and enjoy this opportunity to focus on school. Oh, and the trip to San Francisco/Napa Valley to attend to a Counseling conference. These people have the right idea.

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Hocus Pocus! Abracadbra.

BACK TO BACK. Adventure around every corner. Adventure being a tropical storm swirled towards Guam, so I got to spend a few days in Alaska (again) to escape from its forty knot wind speed clutches. When I first saw the satellite imagery of tropical storm Vongfong, I remarked it was not very well organized and lacked a central eye for the clouds to form around, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. Being from Florida, I am somewhat of a friggin’ expert on storms and hurricanes, since I lived through twenty-three years of them. Anyway, they made us get out and what a letdown that storm was for the island. Let down meaning we get more rolling brownouts from the shitty infrastructure here than any power outages during this “deadly typhoon”. Now, don’t get me wrong, it turned into a super typhoon a few days later as it became much more formed up and gained that central eye. Some pilot who is chronically full of shit (standard) tried to tell me it was super deadly and destructive because it wasn’t compact and its eye was off-center to the north, asymmetric and shit. Yeah, right. So I spent a couple nights in Alaska. Sadly enough, they hardly let us go anywhere out, so the highlight was catching the “good parts” of Magic Mike on TV. So. lame. as is driving to bars forty minutes away in blizzards.

BA BC. This past few weekend I’ve been scuba diving with my new gear. FYI, I purchased an Aqua Lung setup, with the new travel Zuma BC & mikron regulator. It weighs four pounds, so it’s good for packing for trips (and for me & Larry’s upcoming Caribbean cruise). It has integrated weights, and I added ten (although I needed eleven with my rental gear before, which was also heavier). Definitely not enough weight. Luckily, I was only about fifty feet down (bad visibility anyway) before shooting to the surface. The chicks out here only need like, seven pounds. Guess I’m full of hot air, it’s official. Or that thing about being an airhead. One of those. Need 13 lbs. Lucky 13. But the awesome thing is, one dive was an hour long and I still had 1200psi left in my tank. The next was an hour, with 1600psi left. Lastly, a shallow dive (39 feet) left me with 1400psi after 88 minutes. Comatose diver FTW… and snorkeler. You can’t see my lobster-like sunburn in this photo, mostly because I found it after coming home from a couple days in a row of roasting. Skin cancer pain train. Anyway, saw the sea turtle, lion fish, barracuda, star fish, and clown fish in an anemone.

KABOOM. I dropped twenty-seven M117s (750 lbs. bombs) last week, shacking target practice. This Friday is my check ride. My crew is full of very senior people, including my “nav”, who has over nine-thousand hours in the B-52. In case you’re confused, that’s 375 days in a B-52. That’s 54 weeks; over a year. So, he’s pretty good at what he does. Pretty nifty.

“Wednesday, do you think that maybe someday you might want to get married and have kids?”
“No.”
“But what if you met the right man, who worshiped and adored you? Who’d do anything for you? Who’d be your devoted slave? Then what would you do?”
“I’d pity him.”

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Welcome to Paradise

BACK TO BACK.

After three times as many flights as first thought, I have arrived in Guam. I happened to be trapped on a crew with one of the more aggravating and boorish navigators to babysit in the squadron, so it was over thirty hours of fun (with an overnight stay in Alaska). We sit two feet from each other. And rarely leave the seat. I am a generous god. However, the same aforementioned moron threw my computer bag on the ground too hard out of the aircraft when we were unloading bags and broke the screen. $815 bucks and three weeks later, I have my computer back. & I bought an iPad Mini. Don’t judge.

We had a 7.1 magnitude earthquake off the coast of the island, 25 miles away. I was just chillin’ on the couch watching Louis C.K., relating more than usual, and feeling quite foul… & the house started shaking. I darted over the couch and into an interior closet. Dope. Earlier that day I had been in the control tower by the runway, 15 stories up. Thank god my shift was over just a couple hours prior. Heard it swayed pretty good, pants-shittingly awesome. There was no damage here: one of my tiki torches fell over. No tsunami threat either because Guam is surrounded by a big coral reef that acts as a wave breaker. Sucks for surfing. And if you lose your footing you end up with a sexy as hell black bruise on your butt, like me. Get some.

I got totally fried at the beach last Saturday, then went out to a beach-front bar with a bunch of bubbas. It reminds me of Coconuts in Cocoa Beach. Got shit haused on gin and tonics and was totally the “woo! Girl” at the bar. The live band was really good and had a really cute drummer, so as I left I gave him a big ol kiss on the cheek. The burns here turn into a super great tan. Guam is good, man. Hafa adai. I’ve also flown a few times. But mostly pulling duties up in the control tower.

So, five or so months to go. Overall, I’ve honestly never seen so many people act so ridiculously. From heinously inappropriate, sexist sing along songs (that were supposed to be taken out of Air Force functions), to blatant disregard for someone’s personal things… let’s just say I am NOT okay with waking up at 0500 on a Saturday to clean up my trashed yard because a mob decided to take everything off my porch and set it up in my front yard and party… when I wasn’t even home. (If I didn’t do this, the Commander would have been called and chewed out, and we would have been restricted in some fashion). I guess beer cans stuffed in my window sills & trash littered across the lawn is okay with these people because their wives usually clean up after them like babies. & I’ve never seen so many men who are angry drunks. I can’t grasp the concept of angry drunk. One guy even pisses the bed when he drinks. So instead of cutting out drinking, he actually bought a plastic bed liner. This shit’s eyebrow-raising. I didn’t have to deal with a lot of it on my last deployment with my previous squadron. Just saying. It’s a three-ring circus.

Que Syrah Syrah. Despite my personal pissed off vendetta against a few of the fratboy members, this weekend is Guam’s Wine Fest 2014. The entire squadron is headed out for a good time. I’m happy to report the ladies will be dressing to impress; it seems tough to get BUFF CHICKS to give it the ol’ freshman try. I helped one lady pick out a smart-looking party dress. Hopefully she will wear it, though! Better (underwater) photos coming soon, and stay tuned for SCUBA!

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Ready, Steady, Go!

GUAM. In a couple weeks (or less, or more… I can’t put exact dates here) I will be flying a B-52H to Andersen AFB, Guam to begin my second deployment, but my third trip to the beautiful Pacific island. It’ll be a couple months longer than the last, but nothing I can’t handle. My crew is pretty solid, and what I’d like to refer to as the “Chill Crew”. We are all laid back and let things roll, like water off a duck’s feathers. I will be working on my Sniper Pod qualification, so I can drop LGBs using the onboard sensor. Unfortunately, we have the house with the most black mold in it. Toxic, poisonous air. No big deal, right? I had to drop $100 on an air purifier last time, so here we go again. I may even get Civil Engineering to come out and do an air quality test. You don’t want to mess around with black mold. I’m more worried about this than any other aspect of my deployment. Not flying fifteen hours literally across the world. Not leaving home for six months. Not having my hair color stylist on the island with me and being at the mercy of non-English speaking stylists. Nope. I’m concerned about my health and the toxic black mold. Last deployment I was sick from it, but my boss said he would not hear any more about it. But I digress.

In addition to flying and learning the Sniper sensor, I am looking forward to zenning out with many SCUBA trips and snorkeling. I have all my own dive gear, and I hope to build my dive log book so I may think about becoming an instructor if Larry gets sent to a seaside locale for our next move. That would be after I separate from the Air Force in a year or so. I really do need an active job, a desk job may pay the bills, but there’s more to life than paying bills. Priorities, right?

GOTG. Earlier in the week, I went with a friend to see “Guardians of the Galaxy”. What a fun film. I really enjoyed it and, as usual, was laughing the loudest and silliest of anyone in the theater. Standard. Although I am not usually a fan of CG animation, I found the effects in the film to be phenomenal. Plus, the acting was legit and the script was fun. Now, when they were talking about orbs and stones, I couldn’t help but think of my favorite sci-fi villain, Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg. If I was a dude, I’d cosplay the shit out of that. EVERY CONVENTION.Well, I suppose I could as a lady…

Today I went to lunch with fellow B-52 aviatrix Wrecker, who will also be my roommate for the impending deployment. We hit up Carrabba’s for their most excellent lunch specials (1/2 panini and soup anyone?) upon my frantic pointing and suggestion in the truck. Anyway, some amazing person paid for our lunches, anonymously. This hasn’t happened to me before, and I got all embarrassed. I don’t like people making a fuss over me. But I am so thankful for their kindness and thoughtfulness. So hot right now.

MUSIQUE! MUSIQUE! MUSIQUE!. Whilst I was volunteering at the War Veteran’s Home last weekend, one of the gentlemen said, “It’s kind of a.. let down when you leave each week. It’s kind of sad, you know?” and, taken aback, I asked, “Don’t you have a radio or CDs you like to listen to in the mean time?” His response? “No.” I asked why his son hadn’t brought a radio for him, but he didn’t seem to want to talk much about his son. So this week on Amazon, I bought two $20 CD/FM boomboxes, and I am in the process of making a six to eight CD collection of songs to build him a collection. “Two Boomboxes,” you ask? There is also a gentleman who is getting throat surgery, and loves to sing. So I’m giving him the gift of music, even when he can’t make his own anymore. I’m also including a booklet with the lyrics so he can sing along, as he rehabilitates from surgery. At least this might help them not to forget about me while I am deployed.

DADJOKE. Unleashed a real groaner on the flight the other day…

Pilot: I see a minivan taxiing this way. Wait, what am I saying? A minivan doesn’t taxi.
Me: But does a Cab Taxi? Or does a taxi cab?

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Awards n’ Schlock

MASTERS OF EVERYTHING. So, Larry received his Masters and I requalified in the Beretta M9. There happened to be photos of both events. I look super tough in my flak jacket without plates and super cool Air Force issued flight suit pajamas. Sweaty. Once again, Larry, Harry Potter lookin’ em eff. I think I would die happy today if someone photoshopped a lightsaber instead of a diploma. But a serious, badass intricate one from the Old Republic that you had to risk your life and prove you weren’t crap. Like venturing into hella dangerous hidden crystal caves on Dantooine and fight Kinraths n’ shit and BUILD yourself your OWN lightsaber that responded to your personal traits and skills, not the crappy gold and purple lightsaber someone just machined at some crap Toydarian junkyard and gave to you. But, I digress.

LADIES! I am so pleased to see such a fantastic array of nominees for this year’s Emmy awards. Larry and I have made a real effort to plug back into high-quality television, via DVDs, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. We don’t subscribe to cable, but we use the internet to keep our monthly entertainment overhead low. Plus, signing contracts in the 2010s is so retro. For reference, here are the nominated shows we are up to speed with:

Boardwalk Empire
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
Orange is the New Black
Saturday Night Live

The first nominees are Outstanding Lead Actress in the Drama category — I have been an avid Downton Abbey fan since its inception, and Michelle Dockery is a master in portraying a hard, difficult woman of high breeding, yet you can connect with her soft heart that’s hidden under all the layers of ice. I really can relate, and I appreciate her ability to do so in a believable way. Additionally, Robin Wright as an equally icy Claire in House of Cards is so beautiful and talented (and her wardrobe is to die for)… and it’s so refreshing to see women in their forties and beyond recognized with relevant dramatic roles on television (well, Netflix). Claire and Francis are the ultimate power couple, and I am a fan of a high-speed, functioning, realistic child-free couple. I don’t mean “We can’t have a child”, but child-free by choice. This is so refreshing.

For Outstanding Actress in the Comedy category — I will have to cater to Taylor Schilling’s amazing performance in Orange Is the New Black. The nomination is for a comedy, but the show skates mostly in the drama category. Taylor’s role is certainly more drama than funny lady, evidenced by the first episode of season 2. Let’s hope those deciding the outcome of awards can recognize her talent to dance along the line of drama and comedy, giving her character depth not seen in the other ladies’ performances. One episode you feel so terrible for her character, the next you are screaming at the television for her character’s blatant idiocy. For supporting, I haven’t seen enough of these shows to make a judgment call, but Red is quite a strong force to be reckoned with, and the viewer is left wanting to know all about this mysterious russkie. I also appreciate half the guest actresses nominations are from Orange, and I really, really appreciate Laverne Cox being the first transgender actress nominated. Did you know she has a twin brother who plays her male counterpart, pre-operation role? Holler! And lastly, Natasha Lyonne’s character makes me want to be best friends with her. I love her hair.

For supporting actresses, Downton Abbey has a competition between the Dowager Countess and Anna Bates (two more strong female characters… awesome!). However, my vote goes to Game of Thrones for Cersei Lannister. Her rollercoaster antics and legendary manipulation seem effortless. Additionally, I feel that Game of Thrones also deserves to scoop up the Guest Actress in a Drama with Lady Olenna’s performance definitely winning out over Kate Mara’s very short-lived portrayal of Zoe Barnes in House of Cards (and the fact that I find that character infuriating, disappointing, and ridiculous on the whole).

WHO, WHAT? The strangest thing to me a couple days ago while catching up with my neighbor. She mentioned I was “outdoorsy”. I can honestly say that’s never been used to describe me. At all. But I supposed living here in Louisiana, it could be true. I bought a new beach cruiser bike and ride every day, and walk my dog every day, too. I do every 5K that I can, and for some weird reason, I’m trying to incorporate more fitness into my life. I hate team sports with a passion, but running, cycling, swimming, yoga, are things that suit me. The “leave me alone” workouts.

EYEROLL. When I am searching for recipes online, I cringe whenever I see “kid-approved eats”. Since when do kids get to decide what they eat and don’t eat? There’s no such thing as “kid-approved eats”. Kids need to eat whatever their parents want to eat. You’re five. You don’t do anything for anybody or pay rent or pay for groceries or further current society in any way, shape, or form. STFU and eat.

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Las Vegas or Bust!

VEGAS. Because a person in our squadron got sick, I was given two days notice I’d be attending a war exercise in Las Vegas. Because I don’t want to get my ass kicked by Public Affairs, here is what Red Flag is, from their press release:

“Red Flag-Nellis is conducted on the Nevada Test and Training Range and involves U.S. and allied forces from all brances of service. Each Red Flag exercise normally involves a variety of interdiction, attack, air superiority, defense suppression, airlift, air refueling and reconnaissance aircraft. Within a typical 12-month period, more than 1,200 aircraft fly 20,000 plus sorties while training more than 26,750 personnel. Since combat is no place to train aircrews, Red Flag provides a peacetime “battlefield” within which our combat air forces can train. Inside this battlefield, aircrews train to fight together, survive together and win together.  Red Flag-Nellis is held four times annually.”

We were there with many different countries this time, including Denmark, Belgium, Germany, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

A little background about Saudi Arabia: “Saudi Arabia imposes a strict interpretation of Islamic law, forbidding women to work or travel without the authorisation of their male guardians. It is also the only country in the world that bans women from driving, and a woman cannot obtain an identification card without the consent of her guardian. ‘Women in Saudi must obtain permission from a male guardian to perform ‘certain surgeries’ and to ‘leave the university campus during study hours.'”[source] You should have seen the shade the Saudi Arabian Air Force was throwing my way when they saw me driving around in our awesome gilded (okay, beige-ish gold colored) government-issued mini-van (which I dubbed “Goldmine”). Or the constipated looks I received when I was doing something as dubious and insolent as walking around the base. Or attending briefings. If Saudi women aren’t allowed to drive cars, does that mean they can’t fly bombers, too (if they had them, of course)? I wonder if their minds get changed just a little bit, like a seed of doubt is planted, when they see how competent, badass, and capable our female aviators are? Like maybe the cake is a lie?

So, yeah, I went to Las Vegas for two weeks. This was my third participation in a Red Flag exercise, more than anyone else in my squadron. Overall, I found the exercise to be run less efficiently than Red Flag Alaska. Perhaps it’s the leadership, maybe not. I did get some time off to explore Vegas, and I encouraged everyone to step outside their comfort zone and do fun things they usually wouldn’t do; do something other than drink. I did see the Cirque du Soleil show “Zarkana”, which was pretty amazing. When two handsome acrobats were flying over the audience, a guy friend next to me said “Man, wish I could do that.” I simply replied, “Me too.” Heh. Wrecker, a fellow female Radar Navigator, was a pal to go shopping and see the sights with me. We even visited two (!) Bettie Page clothing stores while we were there, and bought fancy cocktail dresses to attend the Zarkana show in style. We even got a fantastic seat at the Hyde Bar at the Bellagio, right in front of the windows overlooking the fountains. I even got a very handsome ensemble from Agent Provocateur for a souvenir, since there was a store there at Caesar’s Palace.

Today, Larry and I are going to see Bossier Parish Community College’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, everyone’s favorite musical. Besides The Sound of Music, of course.

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Crabs & Crawfish

That’s the face of contentment that only coffee can bring.

Last weekend, Larry and I received free dinner buffet coupons to a brand new resort casino here in town, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. It’s a sprawling high-rise hotel on the river with a tropical theme, smoking, and gambling. Over Christmas, my family went to eat at their swanky restaurant. Well, they also sent us each $10 in free gambling money, so we enjoyed their crab legs, green-lipped mussels, and complimentary wine until we could crab no more, then gambled our free $10 and left. Thanks for the amazing evening out, Jimmy Buffet! It indeed changed both attitude and latitude. Even though we still remained in North 32. Sure as hell beats North 48. Where Larry is right now, for two weeks. He had to go back to Minot to inspect the base. Oh how we move up in the world, then return to where we were. Luckily, only temporarily to remind him how utter crap the winters are in Minot.

SECAF. I went to go hear the Secretary of the Air Force speak this week on base. Before the speaking event, my Director of Operations in my squadron uttered those seven awful, awful words that nobody in the Air Force (or military) wants to hear: “Hey, what are you doin’ right now?” Of course, I had scheduled some furniture to be delivered between two and three p.m., and the SECAF’s speech may have run over into that time frame, and then I was going to get my hair colored (girl dem roots!) so maybe I could have sneaked out early if… Yes, all that ran through my mind because on the spot taskers have such a grand, spectral range, from vacuuming the building & taking out the trash, to pain in the (t)ass-kers like planning a change of command ceremony (I’ve done that twice. The food was good). Of course, being that a major was about to give me a tasker, my scheduled is clear. Anyone of lesser esteem and I would have said no way man. “I’m not working on much right now, what is it, sir?” “I need you to ask a question to the Madame Secretary today, if there is a lull in questioning.” As with most celebrities, dignitaries or the like, when they “open the floor for questions”, you’d better have them rapid fire. And it’s SO phony, too; we had an 18-year old airman (or airlady if you will) ask about information really only privy to Colonels and commanders. Super phony. Anyway, the approved question I was given to ask was poorly composed and redundant. Luckily there wasn’t enough time for my question. I didn’t want to embarrass the Second Bomb Wing, either. I was really just doing everyone a favor. Yep.

I suppose when people who are lofty and far above us all do these speaking engagements, you pay a little more attention when you hear the news or leadership talking about the Madame Secretary. Your ears perk up just a little bit and you care a little more. That whole “name with a face” type thing. She was here at the base because of that ridiculous scandal with the missile officers and their cheating. I can’t say I feel bad for missileers; they never deploy and they have a strict, predictable schedule. They sit around in climate controlled comfort and get all the time in the world to crank out a Master’s degree. Plus, their commitment is only like, three years, as opposed to aviator’s six or nine-year commitment. Stop whining. Free masters in an air-conditioned bunker with showers and you get to look cool by wearing OUR flight suits, even though you don’t fly. Flight. Suit. Pssh.

CRAWFISH. Went out with my neighbors last night. They ordered twenty-five pounds of crawfish and I learned how to crack them for tail meat. This included eating some of the yellow goopy stuff, which I think was brain matter. That’s so metal. I ate crawfish brains. Know what else is pretty metal? Dropping 4,000 lbs of dumb bombs and a fancy CBU last week from a few miles above the earth. Desert lizards don’t stand a chance against my steel.

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Here Goes: 2014

HOLLY JOLLY. My holidays were mostly relaxing and low-key, and to say that I hosted makes this pretty unbelievable. This year, my sister spent Christmas with her in-laws in Detroit. I hosted anyone who could make it to my new home in Louisiana. My parents, Larry’s father, & his charming new wife made it out to spend a few days in Cajun Christmas fashion. It was the first Christmas without little rugrats running around, which was an odd, but not wholly unwelcome change. There are pro’s and con’s to each, of course. Something about having children around makes the holidays a little more magical, but with adults, the evenings are made magical with a bottle of good brandy or a cup of egg nog. I fashioned the most amazing cocktail ever for Christmas: it was egg nog (in a more festive response to creme de cacao), peppermint Schnapps, Sprite & vodka. DO WANT every year.

Oddly enough, we didn’t really take any photos. Who wants to take photos of a bunch of us old heads huddled around the fire, anyway? Bah. I did receive my Grandmother’s pearl ring, which I wore for my wedding, and my sister wore for hers. It was given to her by my Grandfather in 1949-ish. I’ll have to find out the exact date. It really is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry in my family.

For New Year’s, I was planning on hosting a cocktail party, but as the family cleared out to return home, I asked Larry if he wanted to:

  • Host a party
  • Host a few neighbors
  • Have a quiet New Year’s in

So, I made a nice French dinner and chocolate soufflés for dessert, and we watched Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to ring in 2014.

HOBBIT. I saw “The Hobbit” take two. Although she’s not a canon character, I am going to craft a Tauriel costume for Dallas ComicCon. What a badass. Larry’s working on a Teutonic Knight costume. I’ll bring him over to the dark side yet. Need to drop twenty for my elvish costume. Elves are supposed to be the epitome of grace and athleticism. How fortunate this coincides with my Air Force Physical Fitness test that I’m due for in March. I’d more motivated by looking fabulous in costume than passing the damn thing. Oh well, Mazlo’s Hierarchy, amirite?

FRIENDSHIPS, MAN. The odd thing about being female in today’s military is, well, among lots of things, the glass ceiling you find yourself looking up into when it comes to making friendships. Now, we all know the military is generally, mostly male, as it is to be expected. However, no matter how modern we claim to be as a military machine and the U.S. Government as an employer, if you are close friends with someone of the male persuasion, it is guaranteed to get tongues wagging. I am no stranger to having males as best friends, in fact, I’ve always had males as my select few best friends. My no-nonsense attitude and “one and you’re done” mentality seems to emblazon my friendships with males (“one and you’re done” refers to anyone who double-crosses me, even once, is cut from my life).

I’ve always been too busy in life for drama or similar foolishness; the precious time I have off from work is spent with those I care most about. So, in the military, I’ve noticed, people still adhere to the scapegoat mentality; they want someone to judge and shred to pieces. I’ve seen it on multiple occasions, and I’ve been a victim to it on multiple occasions. No matter how “modern” we claim to be as a military or a society, this fact will, so it seems, always remain, and usually the woman is the topic of conversations. People just can’t handle it. I have a home to run; I have wine glasses to polish, cocktail parties to host, Elven Cosplay to craft, & lots of Game of Thrones episodes to catch up on. Moreover, I hardly have time of all of this and a military job, much less time to go husband or boyfriend-stealing. Ain’t nobody got time (or patience) for that. By the way, thanks to the lovely Ms. Stephy Dee for the badass silver belt she sent me for Christmas. With friends like these…!

FRIGID. Yeah yeah, everyone’s talking. Talkin’ bout people… or the extreme weather that’s moving across the U.S. I am practically Bad Luck Brian here.

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Later, Minot

SOLD. So, I sold my house and the money’s in the bank! Larry, Otto, and I are living with a friend from work on the military base. Five minute work commute = more sleep.

KATZ. I am making good progress on bringing all my scattered blogs together here. It’s an extremely time-consuming process, and I’m pretty sure I left out quite a few for editing. Most of them are public, but a few have remained locked. If you’d like the passcode, I’ll give it to those who always had access to it – you know who you are! Also, I am publishing my poetry in with the blogs under the “poetry” tag. I’ve completed about 250 entries by hand… only 70 more to go. I’ll also be publishing my dream journal in with the entries under the “dreams” tag.

MEGA MECHANIC. The other day I changed the oil on a B-52 H model while teetering on the top of a really tall ladder. Then the pilot and I refueled that bitch. No big deal, right? Additionally, our base had a super big deal inspection… and we passed with flying colors. Odd that the news outlets claim to be “non-biased” and “fair and balanced”, but I haven’t heard a front page story about how much our base rocked our inspection. They only report the few occasions that people make mistakes or do a crap job. Thanks a lot, jerk news media. All of you. Way to support the troops. Anyway, here are two photos from it; the first is me finishing up my bomb bay inspection. The second is any aircrew who did exceptionally well at.. eh, pretty much everything that was important. I’m front and center there with my lightbulb hair. Rock.

BLAZIN’. Tomorrow I leave for my trip to Louisiana. And by trip, I mean move. My car is packed solid (as usual) as I will make my 1,600 mile trip in three days, with Otto dog as my co-pilot. He really makes a terrible navigator, though. Yesterday, in front of the whole squadron, my commander said a nice farewell, gave me a “Tundra Survival Certificate” (it’s the extreme weather you’ve seen for your time at Minot… 81 knot winds….) and a tail flash (a miniature B-52H tail with your squadron on it and your name and all that). I went to bolt off the stage, and he said “Well, aren’t you going to say anything?” In the words of the great Hellboy… “Aw, crap.”

So I blurted out this speech about how I love you all, Bro Namath, and I left my certificate for a week parking in the Commander’s parking spot to the mega awkward dude in the squadron that drives one of those advertisement-wrapped McDonald’s cars. So, hopefully he will use it wisely to embarrass leadership. And by wisely, I mean during a high visibility inspection. Highlarious. I’ll see you in my rear view tomorrow morning, Minot and North Dakota. & this is me vs. Larry in our packing styles:

… & see you all when I find a place to live in Shreveport! It’s no Beverly Hills, but Dallas is just two point five hours away for fun and adventure (and the culture, Duke, the culture!). Plus, we had our first snow here in Minot well over a week ago, with about an inch of accumulation. Gotta get out of town quickly!

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Migrating & Florida.

BRACE YOURSELF. Well, fall is in the air. You hear Canadian Geese honking for the right-of-way on their flight South, Robins are making a short stay on your lawn as they follow the Geese to warmer weather, and the walls of your home becoming more and more bare. Wait, what? Yes, folks, it’s military PCS season! PCS is permanent change of station, i.e., GTFO North Dakota. Father Air Force seems to give their people a ticket to freedom during two seasons, summer and winter. Lucky for me, I pushed for a fall, because I can’t do anything by the book. Plus, I don’t want to drive 1,800 miles in snow and ice. From living three winters in North Dakota (or NoDak, as the locals seem to have coined it), I have earned the following skills: +200 frost resistance, but -100 harmony with spouse while trapped inside eight months each year. Anyway, it looks like I’ll be migrating too, I am leaving the second weekend of November! I just have to convince some family to let me crash in on their Thanksgiving. Or, bottle of wine and Skyrim. I mean bottle of Argonian Bloodwine and Skyrim.

FLORIDA. Larry and I escaped the North and visited family in Cocoa Beach, Florida for a week. We basically baked on the beach most of the time, which gave us a lobster-like glow. Well, not really, but it was fantastic to see so much sunshine again. Larry also couldn’t believe that the only pair of casual shoes he needed to bring was one pair of flip-flops. No, really.

I arranged lunch with only two of my friends from high school/college/whatever because they are the only people with whom I really remain in touch. And a good idea it was; it was a great time to meet up with Stephy and her gentleman friend, Jon. I was a little wary that Jon and Larry wouldn’t have much to talk about and just kind of stare at each other… Larry looks like the ultimate square in his teal polo shirt (complete with sailfish logo) and shorts, and Jon with his long beard, septum piercing, and copious amounts of tattoos. But you know what? That shit don’t matter. They were as cackley and clucky as a brood of hens about all manner of things that really matter in life: guns and politics. Stephy is still beautiful and kind and trying to make her mark on the world, one day at a time.

My family is well, and Otto got along great with the five other dogs we were staying with (three were my aunt and uncle’s Jack Russells, two were my cousin’s labrador-sized love sponges). I also got these shoes.

BREAKIN. In more positive news, the hold music for this moving company is the funkiest I’ve ever heard. Oh man, almost makes waiting a joy as I bust out the hustle. Perspective: It sounds like WaveRace64. Oh, and here is my design for the Squadron’s Spouses cookbook. It has a special section for the B-52H’s combat oven.