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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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Personal Halloway

Realized my bra and my toenail polish matched today. So that’s something I have going for me.

JOBS JOBS JOBS. Apparently my back is pretty jacked up. This means I haven’t flown since February. This means I get anywhere from two to four hours of sleep each night. This means I’m moving squadrons. This means I’m getting a new job (or two) less than five months before I separate from Active Duty in December. I mean, sure, there are reasons not to keep a brokeass has-been weapons officer around your squadron, I get the numbers issue. It is a lot better to fill that spot I’m hogging with someone capable. But… less than five months? Close to a month of that time I will be out-processing or on leave. I’m going to be a squadron executive officer (secretary) again. When I was an exec previously, I liked making the bosses look good. I liked my bosses. Best bosses I ever had. So that makes a difference. We shall see how things go in the next couple weeks. To train the guy taking over my job (new lieutenant), my shop chief lobbied for me to have two weeks of on-the-job training. I had to fight to get one damn day. This poor guy is not set up for success, and neither is the 94 people whose security clearances and training he has to manage. It’s okay though, because I get two days to learn my new jobs… yes, job with an -s… including executive officer… which is usually two weeks or longer of changeover. I feel like no one has my back right now.

Larry’s gone for a while on his duty overseas. I think it’s perfectly normal to make up songs and sing them to your dog. Or carry on entire conversations with his responses in a Scooby Doo-like voice, debating politics, fashion, and the pro’s and con’s of ingesting questionable culinary choices from the very back of the fridge. I’m okay guys, really! See… I go out and do things with friends. At casinos. Classy.

MUSIC TUNES NOTES. All my gentlemen pals at the Louisiana  War Veteran’s Home are doing really well. I go visit with them each Saturday and play piano. It’s pretty neat how different homes like different genres. The assisted living facility in Minot, North Dakota requested mostly Lutheran hymns. This also goes for the center I was playing for in town here (I’ve since haven’t returned after begging for months to be placed on their entertainment schedule). The War Vets home likes country music, like Hank Williams and Slim Whitman jams (Slim’s my jam, I’m a big collector)… but they also appreciate honky tonky show tunes. Very interesting. Anyway, I get over there once a week or more if I have the time. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing than doling out weekly hugs to handsome elderly vets. ♥

SHAME. Oh man, I’m thirty now, by the way. I like it. The first thing that happened to me when I got up after turning thirty was drive down the highway & get propositioned for freeway exit sex with obscene gestures. Shame on you, Missouri drivers. SHAME. Speaking of which, I can play Rains of Castamere on the piano. Don’t all you brides-to-be be blowin’ up my phone for me to play at your receptions. Well, if I ever answered my phone.

ANSISTERY. Lastly, I did a fancy DNA spit cup test at Ancestry.com to find out my ethnicity. Oh before all you freedom fighters get all crazy, the military already has my DNA on file. So it’s a non-issue. Anyway! I got this eyeopening look at what makes me, ME… from a ’round the world standpoint. I was always told I was “Half Italian (speak it third best), German, and Irish.” Well, I am just as much Irish as I am Middle Eastern! How cool is that? I even have DNA from PAPUA NEW GUINEA! So baller I can’t even handle it! Anyway here are the actual results:


Larry got 100% European. Figures.

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Sunshine and Elven Archers

DEF-CON. This weekend is Dallas ComicCon 2014. I am finishing up my Tauriel costume; made six arrows from scratch and they turned out pretty awesome for my quiver. I finished the last few stitches on my dress last night, and my leather corset arrives Wednesday (fingers crossed). I hemmed Larry’s Teutonic knight tunic (tunic-tonic knight perhaps?) and took in the sides to make it less fatty boombah. He is going to be dying in the heat on our four-block walk from the Adolphus Hotel to the convention center. I told him chain mail was going to be heavy and hot all day at the con, but a first-time cosplayer always sets their comfort aside for badassery. Seasoned cosplayers like myself know better and learn to combine to two rather quickly. I get to wear a comfy dress all day with leggings. Leggings, people!

SUMMER 2014 STYLE. I cleaned out my closet, set aside a box for donation, and a junk pile — I unearthed some Urban Outfitters tank tops circa 2006. I moved the rest of my sweaters into the spare closet in preparation of my eighteen plus months of summer. Feels good, man. Shreveport’s summer started about two weeks ago, with highs in the mid-eighties. Doing maths, I leave for Guam when it starts to get cool in the early fall timeframe, which is another six months of constant summer. When I return, it’ll be the same time of year as it is now in Louisiana, with another seven or more months of heat. Minot coats and sweaters, be ye banished!

& speaking all about summer, here are a few things to get you going for the season.

  • After searching years for a perfect “beachy” scent, I have come across Bobbi Brown‘s aptly titled Beach, in which she offers a body scrub, lotion, perfume, and body oil. It has hints of sunscreen, sand, and basically it’s summer in a bottle. The only thing missing is sand in your sheets.

 

  • To complement your base tan, Clairins self-tanning gel smells a lot like chemicals, but it’s non-streaky and lasts about five days. I also found MAC‘s “Mineralize” line of shimmery bronzers extra lovely for face and body. Thank goodness matte skin is out the door, giving way to healthy, radiant, and dare I say, shiny skin.

 

  • For lips, my sister is a Mary Kay consultant. I told her to send me “orange lipstick”, and she mailed me Mary Kay lipstick in Sunny Citrus. It’s the most amazing orange. If you’re not into lipstick, try Burt’s Bees tinted lip shimmer in Cherry. Both are super reasonably priced. If you need a MK consultant, leave a comment and I’ll get you in touch with the best!

 

  • Tommy Bahama just released a new swimsuit line today called “Map Floral”. It features nautical maps behind tropical flowers. The top is unique to TB because it’s a new style: it’s an underwire cup with straps like a bra, but it ties in the back to cast off any bra-like characteristics. For gals with more on top, it seems like a welcoming change than the usual (and painful) tie top that puts all the weight on the small area knot behind your neck… or swimsuit tops that look embarrassingly like a bra.

 

  • Lastly, blue sunglasses & vegan sandals by Tom’s.
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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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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.

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Soundtracking on Radar

FIGMO. Yes, Uncle Sam is officially moving me back to Louisiana. I leave the first week of November. We’ve an offer on our house, so if all goes as planned, I should be hitting the road with mini dog for the 1,500 mile drive. In other news, a few weeks ago I got to drop eighteen MK82 inert weapons. Those are 500 pounds each. You can see in the photo that they say “empty,” good for killin’ desert lizards in Utah. We had twenty-seven to drop, but lightning was in our way. Or maybe we were in the way of the lightning. Whatever, here’s a silly photo of me and the mildly (mildly meaning super) handsome pilot while I am pre-flighting them.

WHITE HOT. My favorite look from this fall’s runway is Carolina Herrera’s white silk keyhole gown. I have been into white dresses lately… and by lately I mean the past two years. In a sea of black gowns at any black tie event, a white dress really makes an impressive statement. Unfortunately, this beautiful gown is out of my pauper price range at $4,290. You should totally get it, though. Then let me borrow it and stretch it all out. Rarely does a dress inspire a special mention on my blog!

FILM FANTASTIQUE. And, because I haven’t done a list in a while, and I am a product of the 1990’s, here are the top 5 Best Soundtracks ever. See, I remember a time when movies were released with extremely bangin’ soundtracks to purchase on cassette or compact disc. It seems to me, by sheer coincidence, the best movies of the era also had the best soundtracks. More specifically, 1995.

5. Beavis and Butthead Do America/Tank Girl (1995)
These two are a toss up at No. five, because they’re pretty similar (released the same year), and it’s like choosing between children… or ice cream. Let’s face it, the stand out tracks are L7’s Shove from Tank Girl and Ratfinks, Suicide Tanks, And Cannibal Girls of White Zombie. Being that White Zombie has a special coven in my heart for the best metal band ever concocted, it just wasn’t enough to beat out the amazing rock ladies featured on the album: Lady Joan Jett, Hole, Veruca Salt, and L7. Battle of the sexes, perhaps? Now, I get it, why shouldn’t all these kickass ladies don’t take the No. spot? No other soundtrack has this much amazing estrogen! Yes, but Beavis & Butthead does have Gwen Stefani working against Tank Girl’s Gavin Rossdale, and the third most underrated band of the 1990s: The Butthole Surfers. Combine that with Rancid’s I Wanna Riot and you have quite a force to be reckoned with. So, DRAW!

4. Singles (1992)
Fun Fact: This album could legally drink this year, and the film celebrates its own official 21st birthday next week. This is a collection that personifies everything, and everyone, the early 1990s had to offer… if this personification includes an extremely soul-crushing drug user with major highs and lows. The album grabs your cassette player’s attention with Alice in Chains Would?, followed by a visit by buddy Mother Love Bone Chris Cornell asking if you have any extra smack in the way of Seasons, an amazing acoustic treasure. Throw in a smattering of our friend from Tank Girl’s soundtrack, Paul Westerberg, and his pop flavored, flannel-clad contributions, and don’t forget to invite the Screaming Trees to the party, who follow closely behind The Spin Doctors (in my humble opinion) as the 1990s most underrated band. The compilation closes with another early decade darling, The Smashing Pumpkins with Drown. Oof da, right in the nostalgia.

3. Party Monster (2003)
All right, branching out with a soundtrack released in the 2000s! …with music from the 80s and 90s. Okay, it’s not every day that you get a well-researched “period piece” come alive about the late 1980s/early 1990s NYC club kid scene. I love this film start to finish, and the soundtrack is even better. Nothing conveys the feeling of sheer batshit insanity of the Michael Alig club scene like a mix of DJ Keoki, Tomcraft, RuPaul, and Nina Hagen. Standout track? Get Happy by Happy Thought Hall. To expand on the soundtrack, it would’ve been nice to see International Twinkie Song by the Fabulous Pop Tarts. That would have been, well, fabulous. Gotta move on, I’m late for my Sanskrit class.

2. Hackers (1995)
I do realize this soundtrack is basically a love letter to The Prodigy, but nobody brought Big Beat to the mainstream like The Prodigy. Add some more underground artists to the mix, like Underworld and Plastico, and you have a stellar outcome. And don’t forget the ladies: Elastica makes an appearance as well with Connection. Punny enough, for a movie about computers, there’s two tracks named after connections, including Stereo MC’s Connected. How is it that no matter who you are, you know that song? Anyway, the standout track, excluding contributions from The Prodigy (because that’s unfair), is Halcyon & On & On, an Orbital remix, clocking in for your extended listening pleasure at 9:26. The album is great for tuning out and one of those you’d listen to start to finish without skipping around too much. In fact, the album was so fantastic, they came out with Hackers 2 with more music from the movie. This would only take you two days to download on your 28k modem…

1. Empire Records (1995)
How can any “best of” sound track compilation list leave out Empire Records? It’s a movie about good music and the downfall (and uncanny simultaneous uprising!) of the independent music store. For heaven’s sake, this film included GWAR (Saddam A Go-Go); it deserves top five in any list of anything, ever! Best of all (like Tank Girl), the ladies were not forgotten in this mix: The Martinis’ Free is a great sing-along, Sonic Youth, the Cranberries and Sybil Vane make an appearance, and the standout track is the Innocence Mission’s Bright As Yellow; all fronted by a female backed by brooding guitars. What is it about the amount of awesome women in alternative bands of the mid-90s? Where did they all go with the onslaught of crappy, hyper masculine nu-metal in 1997? Anyway, from staples like Toad the Wet Sprocket and the Gin Blossoms to oddballs thrown in like Money by The Flying Lizards make this an easy list killer at No. ONE.

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Spooky Sci-fi

SAY AGAIN? The other day while loading my things onto the aircraft, I arrived at a stunningly horrific realization: I forgot my lunch back in the fridge in the office. I immediately let the pilot in command know about the situation. He called back to flight desk and informed them to send a runner to pick up the lunch and bring it out to the flight line and to my aircraft. This is an extremely solemn issue, honest!

So, a few minutes later, I get a call over the common frequency for all the jets flying that day.

“Aircraft XX, need location and description of lunch container (we aren’t supposed to say “box”. Something about it having a sexual connotation. Stupid fighter jocks, it’s all their fault).”

I responded quickly.

“Bomber Common, this is Aircraft XX. It’s in A-Flight’s freezer. It’s a gray lunch box with Dicks on it, so to speak.”

If you know me, you get it. The Wing Commander was flying that day and heard the whole serious scenario. I would like to think he giggled. Everyone else did, including the bomb squadron commander with whom I was flying. Now, when I was a brand new navigator in the squadron, running out left lunches, pizza orders, Red Bulls, and forgotten FLIP was standard (I would always find someone new than myself to do it, of course. In the Air Force, we call that delegation). Now that I’m a crusty old Radar Navigator who cares most about when I can heat up the oven for lunch, I totally get how important it is. Especially on a 5.5 hour sortie. That oven-burned burrito tasted like success a few hours later & yes, the B-52H model has a combat oven.

GRAVITY. I’m pretty pumped about Alfonso Cuarón’s latest endeavor, Gravity, with Sandra Bullock. Can I get a hell yes for strong female leads in science fiction roles? I wrote a research paper in college on the topic, in fact, but I digress. I can’t wait to be creeped out by something other than monsters, for once. While some monsters are scary, the most realistic impressions of space are also the spookiest.

Take my favorite sci-fi flicks, for example: Sunshine, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Alien (yeah, I’m not mentioning Star Wars here because it doesn’t fit with the point I am trying to make, so nyahh). Sunshine does have a “creepy monster” element, but the most terrifying aspects of the film are psychological, hands down. 2001‘s own monster is HAL, but helplessness due to isolation in space is the creepiest element. And Alien? Yes, I know it’s about an alien. But it’s also about survivability in the black void of space, and how you have to do everything yourself if you expect to pull through. Let’s just face the facts: Space is difficult and dangerous and isolated. We humans like to venture where we are not supposed to go. We fly airplanes, space shuttles, and now underwater exploration to unfathomable (see that pun?) depths. I look forward to my next trend prediction: a defunct scientific colony in the Marianas Trench. James Cameron can go down (sts), so it seems like a legit scenario, amirite? In fact, James Cameron did his National Geographic-sponsored deepest dive in the Marianas Trench while I was on Guam. He didn’t come say “hi” to the troops though. Boo. I wanted to ask him why Kate Winslet thought there wasn’t enough room on the headboard raft for Leo. Important topics.

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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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Great Gasby Photo Shoot

THOUGHT OTD. — In response to not knowing the speed of sound, Einstein replied, “[I do not] carry such information in my mind since it is readily available in books. …The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.”

THE. BANE. — Bikini shopping. Earth to Victoria’s Secret: What if I don’t want to “add 2 cup sizes”? What if I like what I have? What if I like a more athletic look? I know your entire business is built around making women strive to look like airbrushed and photoshopped Barbie dolls, but c’mon now, “adding 2 sizes” would put me at a G cup. VERY SEXY, RIGHT VS? Nothing invokes “sexy and flirty” like a G CUP. Gee, isn’t she young and fresh with her GEE CUP. And for the record, halters HURT anyone over a B. Why yes, I’d love to put all the weight of my GEE chest in a thin piano-wire strap that cuts right on my spine in my neck area. If you do the physics, brilliant! Reminds me of that scene at the beginning of Ghost Ship where the entire on-deck party is sliced in half by the snipped metal wire. You hear that? HALVED. Wrong kid died.

BETTSY BURGERS. — In my yuppie-fied first world problems list, I ran out of Amy’s Sonoma veggie burgers today. I decided I’d finally take a stab at crafting my own (for way cheaper, might I add). I did a little online snooping, but I was a little disappointed at what I found. I didn’t want a recipe with eggs (veggie burger, duh!), texturized vegetable protein (TVP – YUCK!), soy, or bread crumbs/wheat flour as filler. Also, these “veggie burgers” were mostly nuts, seeds, and grains. Where’s the veg?

So, I made up my own using elements from my awesome vegan chili recipe. The secret to simulating meat texture is rather simple: bulgar, shiitake mushrooms, and ground walnuts. If you want a gluten-free version, drop the bulgar and substitute more quinoa. DO IT.


Makes 10 x 3″ Vegetable Burgers

1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 cup bulgar
* For a gluten-free version, substitute the bulgar with quinoa instead *

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine water, quinoa and bulgar in a saucepan with 1 3/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand.

1 small red onion
2 carrots
1 rib celery
8 oz button mushrooms

Place onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms in a food processor. Pulse until vegetables are in small chunks (about 12 pulses). Add to non-stick skillet and sauté in a tbsp water until soft and cooked.

1/2 cup walnuts
3 tbsp flax seeds
1/2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms

1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 tbsp garlic powder
Splash of liquid aminos, if desired.

Place walnuts in food processor. Pulse until they look like very small pebbles. Put the flax seeds and shiitake mushrooms in a spice grinder (or coffee grinder) and process until fine, like dust. Add walnuts, spices, quinoa, bulgar and flax seeds to the sauté pan with the vegetables and stir thoroughly. Add the liquid aminos, if desired.

Form compact 3″ patties and lay on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip the patties and bake another 6 minutes until firm and crisp on the outside. Safe to freeze, separated by parchment paper in ziploc bags.


BONUS!… and after my long search for the perfect sprouted wheat bun for summer, my tireless search results are your gain. You have to get Alvarado St. Sprouted Wheat Burger Buns (and hot dog buns, too!). They are soft, chewy, and amazing! I freeze mine: so to thaw, I wrap the bun in a damp paper towel and zap in the microwave for 20 seconds. It yields one chewy, tasty, delightfully non-cardboardy-tasting bun.

SAYONARA, FB. — Since I dumped my Facebook account, I’ve read half of Setting the Desert on Fire: T.E Lawrence & Britain’s Secret War in Arabia, 1916-1918 in a couple days. Yeah, get some o’ that learning on. Took me almost a year to get through a flippin’ Maisie Dobbs novel; in my defense, I was pretty bogged down with work, upgrade training, & pre-deployment (errrygggnn) preparation. “The energy, Duke, the energy!”

VOODOO MEDICINE. — Lastly, I saw a natural/holistic doctor in Bismarck on Monday. I have liver hormonal regulation problems ever since boot camp (I dropped to 120 lbs/17.7 BMI and my secondary organs started to shut down due to malnutrition: aka my liver), and the crappy endocrinologist at the fancy hospital here in downtown Minot had absolutely nothing to recommend. They ran test after test, but still couldn’t ascertain what the deal was/is. They actually said, “Just deal with it.” Right now I am taking a slew of herbal supplements, juicing, and eating clean/plant-based from the research I have done for myself online and in documentaries. The naturopathic doctor in Bismarck gave me a gold star for all that I’ve been doing on my own, and also “prescribed” a milk thistle extract and chasteberry supplement. It will take three to six months to see the full effect, but hopefully my “health hiccups” will reset back to normal.

Here are some photos from a recent shoot from that photographer I was approached by at the military ball. Dramatic! & those pull-ups at the gym are total win right now. My ten year class reunion is in September. Let’s do this.

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Random Thoughts

“Why is there a lipstick ring around the Glenkinchie bottle opening?” “I have no idea…”

Due to a base exercise, I had to live on base for a few days in the lovely facilities there. So lovely, in fact, that when I was in the middle of a room furniture snatch scramble (checking in before everyone else so you can swap your crappy furniture/bedding/lamps/fridge with theirs). I noticed above the top bunk bed right over where your head would lay (I arrived first — bottom bunk claimed), there was a brown, sagging ceiling tile (water damaged). I figured I’d swap that, too. I pulled down the tile, and there was a black garbage bag filled with an unknown liquid substance resting on top. Carefully, yet expeditiously, I replaced the tile back in its supports.

Additionally, I was called into work at 2130 (9:30pm) to begin my long day with the on-base exercise. I had been awake since 0700 that morning; I ended up in bed at 1430 (2:30pm), being awake for a total of 30 hours straight. I slept from 1430 until 0700 the next morning, literally hibernating for over 16 hours. Guess I made up the sleep I lost…

A nurse at the retirement home said I looked like a Sunday School teacher, then said Maria Von Trapp. She exclaimed that I looked “so nice”. I try to wear mostly black when I go perform, and a skirt… although I did wear black skinny trousers once. What a rebel. I wore this last week, with the scarf in my hair. Guess I can see where she’s coming from.

Minot has a public address system throughout the town for flood warnings, tornado warnings, incoming nuclear blast warnings, and they test it with tones and voice every Monday at 0930. Sometimes I like to pretend it’s the end of the world and it’s just going to be me and Otto Dog.