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Dr. PowerPoint

“What is a week-end?” HAPPY LEAP DAY! Which means it’s an election year. Phooey. And spring break is in less than two weeks. What’s spring break? I haven’t had one of those in nine years. Spring break. Ha. Working people don’t care about your fabled “spring break.”

Further down the line, for the break between spring and summer semesters, we’re jetting to San Francisco. I’m attending a Professional’s Couples Conference for career development; gotta get an endorsement letter from the University. The fabulous Esther Perel will be joining a panel and lecturing. Something about her accent makes her that much more credible about relationships and intimacy. She’s pretty baller; check out her TED Talks if you haven’t already. She takes a realistic, mature approach to intimacy and love; no “soul mate” idealism. Just how people can strengthen themselves and their partner.

After the weekend conference, we plan to drive (more like bike or stumble) through Napa Valley, stopping at wineries along the way. Amie (whose in-laws own a winery in Napa) is going to hook me up with suggestions. Anyway, that’s what I have to look forward to after my first semester as a master’s student. Seems good enough to me.

Class is going well, I’m making fine grades and I have the lock down on presentations and public speaking. Thanks, Air Force! I was talking to one of my classmates about PowerPoint (I have gathered Millenials don’t know how to use Powerpoint. Just smartphones.), and how my dad has a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership. aka. Powerpoint. She asked, “so, does that make him Dr. Powerpoint?” YES. Yes it does.

Rad Dates. On Saturday, Larry and I went to the Shreveport Symphony to see three tenors sing Broadway’s Best. On the particularly smooth, jazzy numbers, we kept saying how it sounded like “Family Guy”. Seth MacFarlane insists that each episode of “Family Guy” is recorded with a full orchestra. It was pretty great, especially the lovely tenors and their charisma. Chutzpuh. Zazz.

For Valentine’s Day, I baked cookies and played a “love themed” music collection for my war vets.

Larry sneakily bought me one of my favorite albums on vinyl, Cugi’s Cocktails (1963). It is just about the most supreme cocktail party music. I mean, it even has it in the title. How could you go wrong? Each track is the name of a popular cocktail of the time. I always seem to play it when I am getting ready to go out. Somehow it makes my hair bigger and my winged eyeliner on point. Like the photo up there. That was from Valentine’s Day. So is this goofy photo of Otto being absolutely nuts.

Well, I’m off to, as I always say, “disappoint my piano teacher.” Until next time…

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This & That.

4DAPUNX. There’s something oddly ironic about walking your dog in Suburbia sporting a Rancid …And Out Come the Wolves t-shirt. Yeah get some. Starting a riot, but not outlandishly enough for the police to be called. Since like, five of them actually live in my neighborhood.

España. Larry and I went to see the Shreveport Symphony this weekend, with special guest Jason Vieaux; he plays classical guitar.

The program consisted of the following:

LUIGI BOCCHERINI:    Symphony in D minor (“La Casa del Diavolo”)
JOAQUÍN RODRIGO:    Concierto de Aranjuez
SILVESTRE REVUELTAS:    Suite from Redes
MANUEL DE FALLA:  Three-Cornered Hat Suite No. 1, Ritual Fire Dance

He has long hair and looks every bit the tortured musician. And by tortured I mean a semi-famous and extremely talented wearer of scarves. I saw the guy who sold me my piano’s dad at the event; I think he was trying to figure out where he knew me from. A few hours later, Larry realized he had food poisoning from an ill-fated office meal outing at Fuddrucker’s. Does anyone eat at Fuddrucker’s? If you do, why do/would you eat at Fuddrucker’s? Obviously, Larry wanted to lose a few pounds by sitting on the toilet with a trash can in his lap, brought to you by Carl’s Jr Fuddrucker’s. Gets that extra weight loss edge.

So the Tauriel costume is going along nicely. Too bad the Air Force will probably send me out of town the weekend of Dallas ComicCon. FML. I won’t be able to attend any conventions in the summer because I’ll be out of town on Air Force training, and deploying in the fall, so no cons there.

Lastly, guess who made the international news. Good ol’ B-52, H model. Even made InfoWars, and you know it’s not news nor conspiracy fodder until Mister Alex Jones gets a hold of it:


Go BUFFs!

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Been Busy!

MINOT PRIDE. This past Saturday was a semi-impromptu gathering for Minot’s LBGT community at Sweet and Flour Bakery downtown. I say impromptu because the organizer, a co-worker of mine, thought it up just a week earlier when we saw him at 10 North Main. In just a week’s time, the word spread and there was well over one hundred attendees packed into a tiny pastry shop! Now, if you remember waaaay back to a year ago, about this time, said Sweet and Flour of Minot had a pre-opening gala until midnight. Luckily for me, it was my birthday and I headed over there to try a bakery selection in lieu of a birthday cake. It was so terrible, I didn’t have a desire to go back. Until now — because of the good reason! Anyway, the cupcake was still dry and sawdust-like, but the pastries were pretty legit. There were guests from all styles and walks of life, including straight couples from work, straight singles from work, pseudo-crossdressing teenage boys, an older man in drag, hot scenester lesbians, and of course, everything in-between. It was a really nice time and Larry was a very good sport about it all. We wanted to support our friend from work, and I think he was thrilled with the success & popularity of his get together!

TOO MANY TWINKIES. The Saturday last week that I volunteered to help out with the Wounded Warrior 5K Race, I wasn’t able to visit and play the piano for the elderly folks at Trinity Homes like I usually do that day. I figured nobody would really notice too much, anyway.

Totally wrong.

“How come you didn’t come by last weekend?”
“I missed that beautiful piano playing.”
“You weren’t here last week; I thought you might be doing an exercise On-Base.”

This week, Trinity Homes was short their usual volunteers, so I hit a double dose of piano-and-help-out action on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday morning, I helped out with the “Hope Floats Minot 5K”, which is for a park to be rebuilt due to our flood of 2011, and was able to go help out with my elderly entourage. Anyway, the Trinity Homes church service there was surprisingly legit — the pastor reminded me of the one back home, at the where church I’d go with my Gramma. The dude plays organ and sings. He’s like a one man church service. Dem skillz.

Here is a picture of me and Rachel, on a BUFF training mission. The ladies have it! She was the Radar Navigator, and I was kicking it old school as Navigator. Since I upgraded, I rarely get to sit in the Navigator seat (and do flight timing control). Usually the brand new navigators I fly with are more comfortable in the navigator seat, because that’s what they’re used to.

MUSTY PAGES. Holy crap, Mitch Clem’s My Stupid Life and Nothing Nice to Say comics. Blast from the past. It makes me kinda sad, though; nostalgic I suppose, but not a place I’d like to revisit readily. That compartment of my brain has a lot of nerd knowledge packed into it (like a friggin’ space bag), but has been set to mothballs. Like I tell people I meet in the military, I had an entire life before I joined the Air Force. I wasn’t one of those “live with your parents, move out to college to live in a dorm and do ROTC or the academy, then move into the dorms at flight school, then move into an apartment near base (or on base). I moved thirteen times total in college. I couch surfed when I didn’t have anywhere to stay between moves. I worked some pretty neat jobs while putting myself through college. Like I said, an entire life. It’s like a new chapter is being written, and the previous ones have been closed and printed. This comic illustrates it nicely.

TUROK, TRASH HUNTER. So in the evenings, when Larry and I take Otto for his walk, I bring a plastic bag along to go trash hunting. And trash hunting is just a more brutal way to say “pick up garbage”. The census is in: people who smoke Marlboros (or any cigarettes, really), eat Taco John’s, and drink beer or Arizona Iced Tea are the biggest litterbugs. Oh yeah, Monster drinks, too. Keep it classy, Minotians. Combine all of those and you might get a super righteous kidney stone.

JUST PALS AROUND. Yesterday, Otto went a new pal’s house. A new lieutenant in my squadron just moved here, with his small beagle and miniature dachshund (she is 8 lbs.! If you remember, I had a miniature dachshund that was 7.5 lbs.). Anyway, they are moving into their lovely new home, complete with a big, grassy fenced backyard. Otto immediately started playing with the beagle, as the mini each just barked. I guess I’d be scared of someone twice my size, too! Yes, it’s a “play date” for dogs — we people who don’t have kids have play dates, too. Toddler not required.

FASHION. And here is your obligatory fashion photo. Usually I post outfit ideas, but I wanted to show off my new shoes I got on Ebay. I saw them in Guam while deployed, but the store’s clientele is mostly tiny Japanese people, who don’t stock anything over a women’s 9 for their tiny feet. Because of the short toe box of these shoes, I needed a 9.5, when I am regularly an 8.5. Chanel and Louboutin, get your toe box/sizing under control, for real! So thanks, Ebay, for not selling me a fake pair of Chanel shoes, and at an amazingly low price. The dress is by Stop Staring! and is universally flattering on everyone. Sneaky stripes… This is from my birthday dinner with Larry last weekend.

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Fair Weathered

IT MIGHT AS WELL BE SP… — As a friend of mine has researched, there have been 172 days with snow on the ground in Minot. & being that, in the winter at ol’ N48’24″°, the sun usually rises around 0830 and sets around 1630, we get a grand total of eight hours of sunlight in the peak of winter. In fact, we received another couple of inches of snow this morning. Seasonal Affective Disorder knows no bounds in its cozy home of North Dakota.

Rent-a-RN — With my squadron out of country with me a few stragglers left behind, there has been a shortage of radar navigators for use in training missions. Since my upgrade to an experienced Radar Navigator, I have had two flights: one with an inexperienced navigator who was having a terrible day with their timing, and the next I sat in the instructor seat and watched two inexperienced navigators to make sure they didn’t eject themselves out of the aircraft or fly us into a mountain. When did I become the babysitter/rent-a-radar? Whatever, it sure beats being almost-experienced and people treating you like a n00b. Feels good, man.

Oh, and get this: the other day I had a flight and the next day I was flying the exact same flight in the simulator. Yeah, right. Because of sequestration, some of the new guys aren’t getting the flights and hours they need. So I asked a few of them if they’d like to have the simulator time I was scheduled for. They were already scheduled for a bunch of shit work, like duty officer (man a desk) or vault guard (stand around). So, out of the goodness of my heart, I swapped the vault guard duty so the n00b could get some training. As I was letting him borrow my flight operations check lists, he said, “Well, I actually don’t really need this simulator. I did one a few days ago and have all my requirements.” I gave him the nicest butt-chewing possible and this happened:

WCMD. — This week I got to drop two by CBU-103s, or Wind Corrected Munitions Dispensers (containing a bunch of tiny bombs inside it). Hardly anyone in our squadron has had the opportunity. No big deal, right? I even got a video of it, but can’t post it here. Sorry, ladies and gents. Just had to brag about it, though. Watch an extremely similar YouTube video from the Military Channel here. Yeah, get some. Ladies bringing the cluster bomb hurt… Twice. I told all the aircrew that it looked like “a glitter bomb went off.”

Way Down Upon the Swanee River — I had an epiphany the other day. I was thinking that I haven’t done much in the way of community service in Minot; no real “giving back”. I was kicking around the idea of volunteering at the animal shelter, helping the pets that might have run away like Cammie did a few months ago. Then I was thinking about how when I lived with my Grandma for a short time in college, how much she enjoyed hearing me play piano.

Yes! That was it! I first called The Parker, an elderly home community downtown and asked if they had any use for a piano player in the evenings, but preferably weekends (50 hours a week jobs and evening activities don’t necessarily mix). They hesitantly replied evenings. Phooey.

Next, I called Trinity Health, a local hospital with a Special Elderly Care/Alzheimer’s Annex literally across the street from my home. They informed me they have numerous upright pianos, and even a baby grand piano in the main (gigantic) foyer. So, for the past three weekends, I’ve been starting out in the Alzheimer’s wing for an hour at 1000, then moving to a lunch area at 1100, then the main foyer before bingo at 1300. I’ve already met a few repeat listeners (fans?), including Will, Walter, Myrtle, and Mr. Alan Boat. This past week, unbeknownst to me, $3 Bingo was moved to earlier and I wouldn’t have my usual grand piano crowd before the games begun. I wheeled ol’ Walter down there with me and just sat playing. Within fifteen minutes, the audience had grown right behind me to seven or eight. “I heard a piano tinkling and I’m glad I found you!”

I play everything from Gershwin to Sinatra to musicals. It’s super fun and it sure beats practicing at home.I may have the events coordinator put me on the community center schedule since a few have been sad they missed me play or didn’t know I was going to do a program. If you’re in the Minot area, come out to Trinity Place Saturdays! I know volunteers are always needed to help score Bingo cards, get members to events and just sit and chat. I saw the bubba who I gave the aforementioned simulator to this week there helping out. Good first impression, mate!

Two Countries Strong — Last weekend was the International Military Ball in Minot. The Canadians come down with their kilts and drums and bagpipes and play some music. A very glamorous older lady walked up to me, pulled me aside, and complimented my gold silk deco-style gown. Little did I know, it was the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan. No big deal…

Anyway, the food was awful but it was nice to see everyone in their best. I will pick up the professional photo this week from the photographer. By the way, on the photographer’s table, front and center was a print of Me, Larry, Devin, and Stephanie from last year’s event. I told the lady working the table I wanted to look just like HER (and pointed to me). I’m not sure she got the joke. My hair looks like Agyness Deyn now instead of Angelina Jolie. Trade ya faces.

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Around the World in 80 Words or Less

AUTUMN. — I am enjoying the fall weather here in Minot immensely! It has been warm, with clear skies and buckets of songbirds at the feeders in my backyard. Yes, I sound like I am ninety years old. Just a few minutes ago, a Chickadee who looking for a house shingle to secure his stash of seed was less than a foot from me while I was washing dishes. It felt like Disney’s Snow White, only this lazy bastard didn’t help me clean my house or fold my underwear.

To the right — that’s a photo of me about to attend the Air Force Ball in my knock-off Angelina Jolie Golden Globes dress. When did I go to a Ball? Let me explain…

Since it’s been a long time since my last update, I am forced to use the warp blog drive. List format, Engage!

  • Larry & I returned from two weeks in Europe
  • I picked up the flu in Rome as a souvenir
  • A new secretary starting working in my office – she’s awesome!
  • Attended the 65th Air Force Birthday Ball (I was on the committee)
  • Adopted a dachshund puppy on Friday
  • Threw my annual October Cocktail Party last night. Great success!
  • Lost twelve pounds since returning from Europe. Tiger blood.

OTTO PALINDROME PUPPY. — Firstly, here is a photo of the new puppy. His name is Otto (von Misbarck) and we received him from a breeder in Tennessee. It’s the same breeder my mom has received two dachshunds from, so he is related to her dogs. Christmas will be super cute! Additionally, we are expecting to hear if we will stake a claim to a German Pinscher puppy being born tomorrow. The breeder doesn’t know if there will be two females, so hopefully we can have one of them. Fall dog loves the leaves!

THE MED. — Since I have literally hundreds of photos from Europe, I will update two European stops per blog entry. Larry and I also took a lot of photos on the cruise itself; I’ll throw a few of those in as well sometime.



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On Second Thought

EP EVENING. Boy, the blog entries are at a screeching halt lately! I’ve been quite busy at work and at home; so sorry this creative outlet has fallen to the wayside. But boring apologies aside, I’ve been doing well with my job as the… you know what? I’m not going to talk about work because there are more interesting things to discuss.

Last night, a group of thirteen of us invaded 10 North Main for a fabulous evening out. Larry set everything up and played humble host as we were seated in a private back party room. No, not party room like the one you “reserved” at the McDonald’s for your birthday party… well perhaps there are some similarities… but anyway, the room was pretty rad – it had a turntable set up with one hundred or so vinyl records to choose from. I found a Dean Martin album and put that on, and they also had Herb Alpert albums, too! I played DJ (literally) until dessert, when another vinyl vixen stepped in with Kool & the Gang. Ladies’ night, anyone?

WINE-OH. — On the subject of ladies’ night, I was invited to a Squadron Spouses’ club wine party on base at one of the spouse’s houses (rhymes). A lot of the spouses are pretty reserved, but I brought a nice stiff red wine, a Layer Cake Shiraz, and didn’t wait for the crowd to start. It’s a wine party, let’s get the wine & party started, am I right? I was actually the only person to get dropped off and picked back up so I could enjoy a nice time. Thanks, Larry!

I met some new ladies and saw not-so-new ones that I’ve been in a group study with (Not new; like, a whole month old, haha). I had a fun time, and left around nine. Larry and I attempted to scrounge up some dinner, but every nicer restaurant in town had either closed or stop serving food. I had a supper of a bourbon cocktail and half an ice cream sundae. CLASSY SHIT. Speaking of which, here are the “prom photos” from the International Military Ball a few weeks ago. Steph and I both look like we don’t want to pose with our dates. Have to say the dates have significantly improved since my last prom rodeo, however.

RULES OF THE RUNWAY. — Spring has sprung and that means shopping for a few things for spring (and summer – cruise!) Because I have the most difficult time finding clothes that fit, with my freakishly long waist and ridiculous boobs, I’ve found it’s best to avoid shirt or dress descriptions bearing these adjectives: cowl-neck, draped, babydoll, slub, ruffle-front, boxy, shift, blouson, sheer, built-in bra, oversized, cropped, strappy, backless, empire waist. I did find a couple things, and I’ll try to be better about fashion posts. I receive most of my visit hits from google searches for the fashion-rabid, so Brace Yourself: More hairstyle and makeup pictures are coming. For now, here is an outfit that I’ve put together for springing into… spring. Clever.

HEALTHY BODY. — To follow up on the progress we’ve made since we watched the film Food Matters, Larry and I have cut out the following from our diet: high fructose corn syrup, most refined white sugar, vegetable oils (including corn oil & soybean oil), anything with the word “hydrogenated”, or any artificial sweeteners. I’ve been challenging myself to make healthy, delicious meals – and it’s really not that tough. You just have to trash the stuff in your house that’s bad and never look back. We’ve been eating a lot of soups with fresh ingredients. This morning I made awesome pancakes with whole wheat flour, honey, and coconut oil (instead of vegetable oil). Bon appetit & c’est magnifique! It seems like I have more energy and feel good about what foods I am putting into my body. Now, if I can just get into a workout routine… C’mon, weather!

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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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One Year Anniversary

Last night, Larry and I went out to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. We tried a restaurant we hadn’t before, and it had received decent reviews. Of course, the dining selections here in the diverse town of Minot, North Dakota are a smattering of Pizza Huts and McDonald’s offerings.

I wore a blue dress from Bettie Page, with a vintage 1940’s brooch I purchased aboard the Queen Mary 2. I carried a vintage 1940’s clutch that belonged to my mother-in-law when she was a kid. For my hair, I hate Bump-its and refuse to use them; instead, I sectioned a part of my hair and made a sort of victory roll on the crown, and laid the rest of the hair on top for height. I snapped a picture of the back below.

The restaurant was actually in a hotel (eep!) but it was pretty average! It even had a woman playing live guitar who was quite talented. For the fare, it had your typical pasta with cream sauce smothering everything, with the faux krab seafood… However, Larry said it was the best steak he’s had in town!

After, we wandered to 10 North Main for a cocktail and dessert. Upon our arrival at 9:15pm, the hostess told us there weren’t any tables because they had stopped serving food for the evening. At 9 o’clock. Nine. Nine at night. … So we grabbed a spot at the empty bar and continued to take in all that the bustling Minot Saturday nightlife had to offer. I wanted something sweet, and since dessert was out, I ordered a dreaded Chocolatini. I even apologized to the bartender for ordering something so terrible. But hey, it’s dessert in a glass! It’s thinking outside the box!

From across the restaurant, I spied a familiar face from work, two actually. They are my supervisors at work from at the top of the chain, one of them like an “assistant commander.” I introduced them to Larry and we chatted for a few minutes, and they were so kind as to buy our drinks and even strong armed the kitchen into making us a sundae! Unbeknownst to us, the bartender had also put in an order for a sundae. That’s a lot of sundaes. It was a very nice evening, but still small in a way after spending many weekends in Dallas and Austin, Texas, where many of our anniversaries have been spent.

I know I hardly talk about reads here, but I am in the midst of some very light, delightful reading of the Maisie Dobbs series. Amie recommended them to me, and I’m hooked. It takes place starting in the early 1900’s and continues through the depression. Being the klutz that I am, I spilled furniture polish all over my borrowed copy and luckily the local booksellers had an exact replacement. I’m not saying anything… Don’t you want to lend me a book now?

I added a list of blogs I read to the left. If you have linked me, I’ll be happy to link you back. Any good blogs I should know about? I’m in the market for some! Any suggestions are very welcome!

Lastly, I am headed to Alaska on Thursday. Larry’s leaving for his deployment training in Washington, D.C. Sunday morning. I think he’ll be back before he heads out for his actual deployment, just for a couple days. Let me tell you, I am getting very excited about Guam. I even bought a new swimsuit!

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Austin Lyric Opera.

Went to Austin this weekend to see Puccini’s La Bohème at the Austin Lyric Opera. It was opening night of the 2010 season and, as mentioned earlier, I had purchased VIP tickets for me & Larry’s anniversary. We drove up to Austin on Friday after work and took the scenic back roads. Here in Texas, they are called “Farm to Market Roads”. Yeehaw. On the way, we saw not one… not two… but three miniature horse farms! Mini bundles of cuteness with winter coats! Anyway, we arrived at the hotel (@ the Omni for $84/night… thanks Orbitz!), checked in and had a beer or two at the bar. We went out for sushi and Larry is slowly warming up to the idea of sashimi. He likes the shrimp and salmon… but noms teriyaki beef much quicker.



Delicious Bento box!

Saturday was the big day of the opera. In the morning we ate a big breakfast and headed into Austin’s downtown area. There was a neat rock n’ roll store I wanted to check out but didn’t get a chance to last visit. Walking by a bar, I noticed it said “UT vs UCF @ 11am”. My university was playing the Texas Longhorns right there in Austin! If I would have known, I would’ve bought tickets to the game to see them get obliterated, 35-3. A beer and watching the second quarter was quite enough for me.




So around five we headed to the opera across town. When we arrived, valet was free because of our awesome tickets, and you walked through a Arc de Triomph. Speaking of awesome tickets, we were eight rows back from the stage, on the end so we didn’t have to crawl over anyone. Bonus: no one showed up for the three seats next to me… & we had just one flight of stairs to the intermission VIP party area. Upon being seated, the old dude in front of me was attempting to impress his homely date with his iPhone. I creepily watched him tweet “Opera is about to begin. So exciting!” The show was absolutely amazing. The sets were awesome and colorful to recreate Paris in the late 19th century.

In between each act (during intermission), we had access to a beautiful area featuring a mini Eiffel Tower that had an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, live music, and even artists doing caricatures in berets. I spied an Air Force major in his mess dress with some wings, talking to a group of older men. I couldn’t get close enough to identify the type without being obvious, so I said what the hell. I walked up, interrupted (most tactfully tackily of course!), identified myself as an aviation student, and asked about his wings. He was a medical evac doctor on C-130s and C-5s. I said thanks and walked away.



A couple minutes later, the major came over to Larry and I with one of the older gentlemen. They began to ask about us and wanted to know the usual answers to the usual small talk questions. The older man seemed so delighted, he said “I just HAVE to introduce you to my wife!” Come to find out, his wife looks like a disco ball: covered in diamonds and assorted bling. She introduced herself as Kirby, and she’s the chairman of the finance committee for the Austin Lyric Opera. Figures with all that bling: Tiffany & Co were one of the sponsors for the evening’s event (Although I doubt she’d rent or just wear any jewelry from them, she probably just cleaned the place out for the occasion). She thought we were “fabulous” and invited us to a dinner party at her home on Friday. Her husband mentioned they had a “guy make up some really nice things”. In other words, they don’t even have to COOK at their dinner party – they pay someone else to do it!

At the “second tier” dinner on an outdoor patio overlooking the Austin skyline, we sat with a very fun and nice Austin Fire Chief and his wife, who was an M.D. The whole table was a lot of fun, which made it very easy to talk and joke with everyone. I was obnoxious and had a vegetarian meal (thank God, because everyone else was having beef). The caterers identified me as “the woman with the dress.” Everyone was wearing black and I guess I did okay wearing white and gold. Lots of glittery biddies were very complimentary.

After dinner, there was dancing and dessert downstairs on stage. There was a live brass band, a French singer, and lots of champagne. Larry and I secured a small table next to the stage for easy access when a song we liked played. We danced to “La Vie En Rose” and a Sinatra tune or two before we noticed Kirby and her husband, William, emerging from the “first tier” dinner and making a beeline for our table. William pulled up some chairs and got me a drink, and wrote his address down on a piece of paper for Friday. They still want us to come out! Kirby was hilarious, strangely enough, introducing me to fancy chairspeople then dishing a little dirt on ’em after. Nice.


When “Beer Barrel Polka” came on, Larry and I hit the stage. The photographers liked the fact we were spinning a million miles an hour. Those candid photos will be up later in the week when they post them.

All in all, it was an amazing night. Quite a romantic anniversary gift, if I may say… even though the opera itself was quite a tearjerker. Speaking of tearjerkers, Larry moved to San Angelo, about 200 miles away to begin his Officer Intelligence school. The house is really quiet, boring, and less hairy. He was trying not to let me see him cry as he said goodbye today. I said, “C’mon now… see you Friday!” At least it was a wonderful last hurrah for us here in Texas.


What is this? When Larry does laundry, this is how my clothes end up.
Impeccably neat and folded.

IMG_0875

prom 2003

I just got an invitation through the mail:
“Your presence requested this evening, it’s formal
A top hat, a white tie and tails”

Nothing now could take the wind out of my sails
Because I’m invited to step out this evening
With top hat, white tie and tails

I’m puttin’ on my top hat
Tyin’ up my white tie
Brushin’ off my tails

I’m doodin’ up my shirt front
Puttin’ in the shirt studs
Polishin’ my nails

I’m steppin’ out, my dear
To breathe an atmosphere that simply reeks with class
And I trust that you’ll excuse my dust when I step on the gas

For I’ll be there
Puttin’ down my top hat

Mussin’ up my white tie
Dancin’ in my tails