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Going Forward in Reverse

IMG_0301Cue “something, something, whale noises.” Totally metal.

Things have been happy and healthy around here. And by happy I mean incredibly busy with school, volunteering, and the revelation that I will be moving in December. Where, you ask? Not sure yet. Ask Uncle Sam. He may know, but he’s not telling me yet.

Fair enough, and so it goes. Although the chart toppers were Honolulu, Washington D.C., and Virginia Beach, let’s face it: Wyoming or Oklahoma are the most likely outcomes with my track record. But you know what? I’d like to think there would be immunity from North Dakota… but nothing is written.

Man, I’m all over these quotes today.

Fotor148918534056038_99a3fbca-5c10-4251-a571-024ac835c2b5Anyway, staying positive over here. In fact, there has been too many episodes of “My Island Life” and “House Hunters” about Hawaii and Washington, D.C. going on in this house. It’s always fun to dream, but as the last 10 years of military moving experiences dictate, one must be aware of the gravity of 100 people duking it out Celebrity Death Match style for one placement at Honolulu… or any place not Kansas.

As for healthy, I’m back in the gym! I do lead a fairly healthy lifestyle, but there’s always room for improvement. I got a really cute exercise and food planner from Fox & Moon and am loving the organization of everything. It’s so calming to me to know my plan and stick to it. Takes out the guess work.

I’ve been updating my Instagram quite a bit these days. I know the feed shows up below, but most fashion and lifestyle pics will be displayed there.

I returned from Central Florida this past Sunday. My grandmother passed away recently and I flew over there for her memorial service. During the service, I played the piano and my sister sang. FullSizeRender-8I was very proud that she was able to do such a great job: my job was easy. I can concentrate on music and not have to look at anyone, much less talk or sing. It was a beautiful celebration of life ceremony and I’m so happy I could give a little music back to Grandma. I also got some great time with my extended family, including an early birthday celebration at the Chart House in Melbourne. Dolphin watching was beautiful, as was the sunset, casting orange and pink hues across the Indian River.

Funny thing is, each time I visit Florida with Larry, we have some amazing wildlife experiences. On his first trip to Cocoa Beach, we witnessed about sixty Green Sea Turtles hatching and crawling to shore. This trip, we saw manatees. He must think Florida is this idyllic place, chock full of unique flora & fauna. I guess it really is. Nothing like a few years—all right, a decade—in the Central Time Zone to help you realize your good fortune.

Continue reading “Going Forward in Reverse”

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Florida Party!

SUNSKI. I am outside right now, under a clear sky and scads of sunshine. Although things have been difficult at work; with the dark cloud of two months of temporary duty in Alabama followed by a deployment thereafter, I am trying to take time to relax and work on this here tan. Eight months away from a spouse with base exercises before you leave (further separating your time together) needs doing peaceful things to help you manage it. Did I mention there’s a bustling bird feeder six feet from where I am sitting?

Anyway, as mentioned, I will be heading to my old haunt of Montgomery, Alabama in June and July. I spent June, July, and August there in 2008 to receive my commission in the Air Force. It’s where I had my first experience (albeit contrived) with military life, including meeting Larry. It seems like the worst time of the year to go, weather-wise, & I’ve been chosen to go pay a visit during the hot summer months twice. However, a silver lining is on the horizon, as Devin is also assigned to attend this class for these two months, so I will have my best friend in tow, whom I haven’t seen since November of last year. Following my two months of 5k’s, 10k’s, and constant working out, I am shipping out to Guam for six months. Luckily, those 5k’s and 10k’s will exorcise the flab (see that pun there?) and be awesome for beach times overseas. Too bad Larry won’t be around to appreciate it. Lame.

90 LUFTBALLONS. Last weekend was my Granny’s ninetieth birthday celebration. Nonagenarian. She’s embarking on the wonderful journey of her tenth decade. Tenth, people. She is still as sharp as ever, completing the newspaper crossword each day, in pen. She can do the Cryptoquip (which I’ve never been able to do, which is ironic, given my career field). She works out regularly and attends the Lutheran church on Sundays. So the key to a long life is family and a healthful mind, body, and spirit. And paella. Let’s not forget that.

For her party, we surprised her with an eighteen-passenger limo bus. We were unable to secure a classy limousine because it was prom weekend (of course), but this party bus had a TV, bumping stereo system, leather seats, party lights, and built-in bar and ice chest. We all BYOB’d and set off to dine at the world-class rated “Christini’s” Italian restaurant in Orlando. I made an awesome playlist for the bus, including electroswing remixes of Louis Armstrong, Lawrence Welk, and of course, more Xavier Cugat than you can shake a maraca at. The restaurant was amazon, and we were all seated at a long table, tended to by a half-dozen extremely handsome Italian waiters. The accordion player came around, and I requested all of my Gramma’s favorite songs, including “The Anniversary Waltz”, “The Third Man Theme”, and “La Dolce Vita” (which stumped the player like it did last year. Fellini, people. Fellini… only the most memorable movie to date about Rome besides “Roman Holiday”). It was amazing to see all of my family together, including all my aunts and uncles. What was not amazing was arriving at the hotel in Daytona Beach at 1130pm, then checking out at 4am to catch a plane home to Louisiana.

While I was visiting beautiful Cocoa Beach, Florida, I stayed with my Aunt Vonni and Uncle Steve. She has a beautiful resort-style swimming pool and lounge area; somehow coffee by the pool in your ‘jams each morning brings a special sort of zen to your life. She is extremely zen, and we have that in common. My family can be hectic, so it’s nice to have someone “get it” & help you unwind on your vacation. That’s what Florida’s all about. Relaxation and the beach. And Rum Runner’s at Coconuts Bar on the Beach. Can’t forget that, too. I really love the Florida lifestyle and wish I could move back to the beach, or a houseboat on the water. Because I have the military to thank for helping me move out of Florida to begin my life, I have enough personal success to move back of my own decision. My cousin Marjorie, whose husband left her one day out of the blue with no warning months ago, is looking to sell her house in Tallahassee and move to Tampa. I would give anything to be stationed at McDill Air Force Base — to be one hour from Orlando and two from Cocoa Beach! Just gotta convince Larry…

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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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Holidays & New Years 2012

HOLIDAY PARTY. — For Christmas festivities, my squadron threw a party at a “classy” hotel here in Minot. The drinks were cheap (they gave us each a drink ticket with the cost of the meal – $25 a piece. Not a bargain for a buffet…) and the food was eh. I’m not keen on buffets, anyhow — the food tends to be cheaper and you’re paying for “quantity, not quality.” Anyone who used to work in catering is well aware of that. Should have bagged the DJ and gave us all an extra drink ticket. Just saying. Anyway, it was a nice enough evening, with lots of fun times and bah-humbug-ly enough, the Cha-Cha Slide. Nothing says “Buon Natale” like the Cha-Cha Slide… I just danced kind of in the line, after a slew of cocktails, not knowing how to do said dance. Typical.

HOLIDAY FAMILY. — After packing our bags, Larry and I flew to the Appalachian Mountains to visit my parents for Christmas. We had to pack a very special carry on bag, our little dachshund puppy, Otto. It’s his first time riding “first class” (i.e., not cargo) in an airplane. With Delta charging $125 for him to be our carry on item, I almost threw a fit in the airport. I am extremely anxious about flying in the first place, with the TSA thuggery going on these days… I am always extremely uncomfortable flying.

“So. You are telling me it’s $125 to have this carry on.”
“Yes.”
“But not this carry on [hold up purse]. I’m a little confused about your policy of carry ons.”
“Yes. Ma’am, we don’t have to let you on the airplane at all if we don’t want to.”

Great customer service, Delta. And with that, you won’t receive a dime from me ever again! Anyway, Otto slept the entire time and was the best dog ever. But we were already well aware of that fact. The highlights of the trip were taking my parents out for a fine dinner at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Asheville (where Larry and I had our wedding), my nine-year old niece, Hannah, reading a 1992 David Letterman’s Top Ten Lists in his authentic style (“…and the number one Top Ten Demands of the Founding Fathers that Didn’t Make It Into the Constitution is… ‘The Pursuit of Life, Liberty, and leggy supermodels.”), and the same niece exclaiming a piece of cake she was eating was “as dry as Gandhi’s sandal,” and later, that the Christmas toffee candy “tasted like regret.”



WHAT ARE YA DOIN’ NEW YEARS? — To ring in the New Year, I decided to throw a dinner party for eight. I invited three couples from my squadron that I wanted to get to know a little better, and that would actually appreciate something nice for a celebration. I made a five-course sit down meal, with full service and presentation. For reference, the menu was:


Appetizer
Coconut Shrimp with Mango Dipping Sauce
Salad
Gorgonzola, Candied Walnut, & Pears on Butter Lettuce with a Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing

Soup
Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Curry with Toasted Sunflower Seed Garnish

Entree
Alaskan Sockeye Salmon and Wild Rice in a Puff Pastry and French Green Beans

Dessert
Tiramisu

Right after dessert, it was time to bust out the Champagne and celebrate 2013. Also, I didn’t know that my guests were going to rent tuxedos! They surprised us all and arrived looking like movie stars. It was pretty awesome and thoughtful.

CAMIE. — Larry and I adopted a three-year old German Pinscher named Camie. She comes to us from a breeder — she’s had some puppies, and lives most of her life in a crate. She is a very sweet dog, but very nervous. Hopefully our home will offer some stability and she will settle down. Otto, since visiting his three cousins in the Appalachians, is a big dog now. He barks at “intruders” and plays with Camie non-stop. Now, if only we can get them to sleep through the night without getting up and begging for our bed. If only. Camie needs training, as she wasn’t given any at her old home. It’s harder to train an older dog than a puppy, in my opinion. Well, we have our work cut out for us!

CROPPED. — Lastly, here is a before and after photo of my new pixie cut, as if you couldn’t see it up in all the photos above. Feels good, man. Real good.

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Radio Days

First off, I now have photos of my brand new baby niece, Kathleen Olivia. She was born on Saturday afternoon! She has a big sister, and now I have a small gaggle of beautiful nieces.

 

I talked to my mother to ask about an antique radio on which I had my heart set. A few months ago, she found out the exact one was in Edward Cullen’s room in Twilight and wanted to sell it. I objected loudly, of course, and didn’t mention it for a while. Well, she has decided I may have it for my apartment in Minot. It means a lot to me because she owned a 1930s themed restaurant when I was in high school that I worked in for a year or so. I, of course, made the music CDs and we all wore 1930s aprons my grandmother made. There were a lot of good times (and good food) in that restaurant.

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A Slight Chance of Baby Showers

This past Memorial Day weekend, I had a four-day pass to return home. Good thing, because my only sister, Brittany, scheduled to have a baby shower on Saturday afternoon. This is her second child, and I was unable to visit for the last soirée of this type. I hadn’t returned home since I joined the military, June of 2008.

After damn near missing my connecting flight out of Houston (sprinting an entire length of an airport, in a skirt, without stopping), I arrived in Orlando, Fla. Friday was a lazy day, and was also Brittany and her husband Eric’s first wedding anniversary. Nothing says romance like having your entire family over for dinner! She was such a good sport about it all and even shared her wedding cake topper. Besides the fondant, the cake was surprisingly delicious the second time around! I think the fondant acted as a sort of insulating seal for the buttercream.

I zoomed back to the airport Saturday morning to pick up a beau, Larry, who flew in from Air Force Intelligence school in West Texas. I pulled some strings and found him round trip non-stop flights. Lucky. As I was flying in, I couldn’t help but think about how someone should create another luxury airline, much like those of yesteryear… With the linen table cloths and real silverware. A gal can dream, can’t she? Even about flying down to Rio?

Saturday afternoon, the baby shower kicked off with quite a few of our closest friends and family coming to visit. Some I hadn’t seen since my sister’s wedding last Memorial Day weekend. It’s very strange to split time with your family and friends to make sure you see everyone. Time is so short. Long story short, Brittany had quite a haul! Even her daughter, Hannah, scooped up a few gifts. Big sister gifts are very important, you know.

Sunday was “be a tourist day”, & I jetted over to Cocoa Beach with Larry. After visiting a high school friend of mine, Katie, we went to Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, bought a few tacky beach towels, and Larry posed next to a shark tank. It’s really the only shark you want to be friends with around there. At the beach, the surf was fun & the ghost crabs were out n’ about. The sun decided to peek out for the last few minutes of our stay.

That evening, Larry took my sister, Eric, Hannah, and my parents to dine at the very chic Chart House restaurant in Melbourne, just south and on the river. Larry & I were frequenters of the Chart House in San Antonio when we lived there; Now we have two locations under our belts. Last December, I organized my Navigator class’ Aviator’s Night at the San Antonio Chart House, on top of the 780′ tower in the revolving restaurant.

In other good news, my Trashy Diva dresses came in the mail over the weekend. Fit like a glove, although I can’t gain an ounce! My mother is taking up numerous sewing projects this summer, including a dress for me: a Vogue pattern from 1947. I couldn’t be more thrilled!

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My Sister’s Wedding.

So I went to my sister’s wedding on May 24th at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Larry and I were in the wedding party (me being maid of honor). Larry was friends with the groom in high school, if you all forgot.

The wedding was a great success. The turnout was amazing: not bad for a destination wedding. Everyone wanted to tour the Biltmore and see the beautiful Appalachian mountains. Larry and I arrived in Tennessee around midnight; we stayed in the Carnegie Hotel. It was a fabulous Art Deco-rated hotel with beautiful woodwork. I liked the bathroom because it was done in tiny white tiles and was outfitted with both a bathtub iand/i a shower stall. The next day, we drove to my parent’s house to see the family and my mother’s new basement. She decorated it like a cocktail lounge, complete with lots of leather chairs, a heated granite-top bar, 100″ screen TV, fire-y pizza oven, and fridges and wine cooler abounding. It was gorgeous… I kept asking, “You get to live here?” Larry liked their dachshund puppy, Streudel.

That evening we had the rehearsal dinner at a restaurant in Asheville. The menu included crab cakes, lamb chops and lots of martinis. I gave my maid of honor speech and made my sister tear up. I guess it was effective 🙂 I started it off with, “I brief majors and colonels on a daily basis, but I’m no good at speeches… But let’s give this a try…” I sat next to my mom, Hannah, and across from me was Eric’s mother and grandmother. Old people section. After, we headed over to Bonefish Grill for more partying. Very good time!

That night, I slept about four hours. I was a zombie! The hairstylist did my hair first, so no chance for a nap. The dresses were beautiful and looked great on everyone. I’ll leave the narration to the photos:



When the garter was pulled, Eric held these up instead! I hung them on their honeymoon suite door handle later… My uncle is displaying them here.


My cousin, my mom’s best friend’s daughter, and me.


My cousin Marjorie and her husband, Neil, who got married last October.


Might post more when the professional photographer’s photos come back.

My check ride is next week and Nav school is kicking my butt Napoleon. But, the good news is after the check ride next Thursday, I’ll have Friday, Sat, Sun, and Monday off… for my birthday.

Oh, yeah, I have signed up with Twitter (I didn’t even know what Twitter was 20 minutes ago). Username: MsPrecocious. See ya!