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It’s Thursday.

GALA. I am getting pretty pumped for this 1940’s fundraising gala next weekend. It’s all for a good cause to support the local Shreveport Symphony. There’s going to be live entertainment from the ladies of the New Orleans WWII museum and era music. I talked to the event coordinator yesterday and she wants to put together a slideshow tribute to those who have served in the military, and/or their family members. I also sent her some links on YouTube to the fabulous Parov Stelar in case she hadn’t heard of him; the music is great for “retro parties” when you don’t always want all period music. Even as a huge collector of vintage music, I get weary of back to back Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey at “theme parties”. Plus, as I stress to people who ask me about how to obtain that perfect party atmosphere, I share that you and your guests are really only going to hear the bass and beat, and just snippets of the brass or vocals every now and then. So, the Parov Stelar does the trick, for sure.

Larry’s wearing his Air Force blue service dress, and I’m wearing 1940’s styling: dress, shoes, makeup, hair, back-seam stockings. It should be a blast and we get to meet new people who also love & support the arts in our community. I still have to dig out the shoes (I wore ’em for prom! The linked photos are out of the archives to show you. An ancient blog has its perks; any photo you can think of is stored somewhere on my server. Nice.

SKILLS. A big goal of mine since having a little more time on my hands has been to work on my updo game. In the past few months, I’ve taught myself how to French Braid, work with foam hair “rats” to create serious volume, finagle a sock bun, and tweak/clean up styles I’ve previously rocked. I’ve been taking some photos to share; I apologize that the quality isn’t top notch. Anyway, here are my styles: I am pretty proud of my handiwork! Which do you like best?

The new season of House of Cards premiers on Netflix this weekend. We already watch Vikings, so I’m glad that’s back again. Lagertha is my life inspiration.

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Prom & Graduation Take Two.

29. So, I had one of those birthdays last weekend. My friend Amie was in town with her husband from Whiteman Air Force Base. We went to the Margaritaville casino’s seafood and steak place, called “Jimmy’s”. I like it for their scallops, and not just that the decor looks like how my bedroom is set up. Anyway, it was nice to see her and catch up with everyone. She says she is “twenty nine, on my third touch and go”. Clever girl.

MASTADON DEGREE. Today was Larry’s master’s graduation from Norwich University in Vermont. He has spent the last week there, doing a residency course. I was unable to obtain leave but luckily, the graduation was streaming online. Yesterday he was able to see Condoleezza Rice speak. He said she handled the protesters “with class”. I always have to muffle giggles when I attend or watch higher academic graduations. Doctorate garb (excuse me, Doctoral Regalia) is looking like Harry Potter motherfuckers. “Why are you grinning so stupidly?” “Totally Harry Potter. I live for this shit.” Love love love the Italian Renaissance looking berets, too. Hardcore academics.

I will obtain a Doctorate one day just so I can wear the outfit for Halloweens, carrying a wand. Just look at this guy. He just got his diploma from Hogwarts. I feel like when Larry’s not here, I get overwhelmed with stuff to do. He doesn’t do much housework or anything like that, but he keeps me on a schedule of sorts, accountability if you will. Otto has though, ensuring he gets his daily walks.

STELLAR STELAR. A “new” Parov Stelar album is due out in August 19th… I am pretty excited about the track Clap Your Hands. However, I have most of the songs anyway, I wonder why they chose to release it again on one album. Very odd in the age of iTunes and selective song purchasing. Anyway, it’s Electroswing at its finest… & the album is aptly named. Go on now, buy that song. I just got around to listening to Pink Martini’s 2013 release (shame shame on me). Some tracks are fascinating, but I sure took a shining to “Heliotrope Bouquet”, but it’s only a minute long. Damn. It’s another trip around the world with Pink Martini, but it’s no “Hang on Little Tomato.” I want to hear Timothy Nishimoto’s crispy, clear voice singing in Spanish, thanks.

SENIORS PROM. Yesterday I helped out with the local Veteran’s Affairs Retirement Center’s “Senior Prom”. Get it, seniors? I suited up, Betty Draper style and helped out. The airman that was running it said that no one dances, they didn’t last year (because of all the wheel chairs). I took that as a challenge, grabbed another volunteer, and swing danced a little bit. While I was dancing, an older gentleman asked if I wanted to Jitterbug. He stood up on wobbly legs, but was actually a very good dancer once he got going! I was very impressed. After we crowned a prom queen and king, I stuck around to talk with them for a bit, and the queen said she liked jazz music. I brought my piano music with me, and she showed me where the piano was. This place has a really nice Yamaha upright (brand new), and rumored to have a Steinway, too. I played for about an hour and attracted a very exuberant crowd. One lady even asked, “Do you play at Pilgrim Manor?” (the place I volunteer on the weekends). Ha, a groupie! Just kiddin’. I promised to come back Saturday afternoon. & so I will.

“You are a fascinating woman.” I received that very stunning compliment today.

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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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Culture Crowding

MAD BEATS. — I’ve been listening to a lot of 1990s electroclash/big beat lately. Chris left a hard drive with all his music here, and among it I found Aphex Twins’ Selected Ambient Works 85-92. Sometimes you just need to shut it all off and think about nothing. Big beat aids in that endeavor. Oddly enough, it also helps you to create and think of ideas if the mood should strike.

SO WHAT. — The Air Force Navigators/Observer’s Association called me yesterday to ask if I wanted to be their keynote speaker at their annual convention in Savannah this year. My boss says I can go, but I wonder if the Association thought about importing a female instructor from the Navigator Training Program to speak. Now, I get that I am their youngest member, and I am their first and only female member, so they would like to see what I have to say. The old heads are quite intrigued by my membership. It’s still a man’s military, but we ladies get to play once in a while.

Is that too politically incorrect to say to retired Colonels? It’s true. My friend Crystal is moving to teach at the Navigator Training School in a couple weeks; I was going to ask her if she’d be interested in the opportunity. Her farewell dinner was this weekend; Larry and I braved subzero temperatures to join the festivities. A big North Dakota outing… to the local steakhouse. I had a salad and potato and three too many cocktails. Standard.

すし. — I tried my first attempt at crafting sushi last night. Nailed it, first try. People, it’s not super tough! Just Google “How to make sushi” and there are tons of video resources. I made $40 worth of restaurant sushi for about $13. Bargain basement here, people. Mm, bargain sushi. Get some. Anyway, I threw together a shiitake mushroom fish stock soup to serve with it; that was amazing. Since I went all out last night on sushi, I’m going to grind some wheat berries and make almond butter pancakes for dinner. Whatever.

hax0rz. — I find it extremely disappointing that the student at Dawson College in Montreal, Canada, reported a bug in their servers’ security system so they could fix it, and instead was arrested. I tried to find the news sources about it, but it seems they’ve been scrubbed. Hmm. uberhax. Speaking of which, check out the weather hack from this past weekend. Oh wait, that’s some for real shit.

CLIPPING. — Today I got my hair cut n’ colored with Mr. Ladner. I mean, what? I don’t color my hair or anything…(well, not like I used to). Once again, feels good, man. Here’s an ink sketch I did this weekend. It’s based on the last scene in Hackers.

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Food Matters

INTROSPECTION. — I am always thinking of good things to write; writing things I won’t say, in my head. Things in the world are crazy right now, and sometimes you feel helpless about it, you know? Especially because if I want to keep track of all my thoughts and make sense of things, they cannot be published online. It’s difficult to not receive that extra leg up or insight about the busyness going through your mind, dozens of times per day through the sanity of the online community. Not sure if sanity and online community has ever been used in the same sentence to date, but I’m all for shaking things up. But enough boring crap: onward…

Being out of an artistic community or circle makes it extremely difficult to stay connected and motivated. If anyone would like to send an “inspiration care package”, I’d love to exchange one with you. Comment and we’ll make it happen.

BAA. — I’ve been watching a few good food documentaries lately. One was called Forks Over Knives and the other, Veganomics. I liked the latter best; it addresses the innumerable health benefits of a plant-based diet with scientific facts. I eat chicken or fish very rarely, about once in a couple weeks. Otherwise, I’m considered pescetarian. Recently, I’ve picked up a couple good cookbooks for plant-based eating.

  • Forks Over Knives: The Cookbook – Also a pushy, yet informative, vegan documentary of the same name featuring your usual roll of slaughterhouse footage. Can’t stomach it? Then don’t eat it.

 

  • Vegan With A Vengeance – Marketed as a punk title, it claims it was born in a “post-punk kitchen.” Whatever that means. Is she not punk anymore? Is she just over punk in general? I would hope any kitchen would be “post-punk”. Nobody likes unwashed kitchen towels and fleas in their gluten-free pudding. But hey, you know they have a good supply of bleach, whether for cleaning, hair, or clothing.

 

 

  • Williams-Sonoma Vegetarian – It’s unmistakable: I’m keeping it classy up in this bitch. When I need some plant-based crumpets or sawdust-textured biscotti, I know what to reach for.

 

… and now, for no real reason, a photo of my dogs and Larry looking like a greasy hipster who is both a user and abuser of the above cookbooks.

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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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Baby, It’s 8F° Outside

HOLIDAYS. — So, it’s that time of year… when the world falls in love. Or something like that! Happy Christmas to everyone, and Happy Hanukkah to my Chosen friends. Wish I was Chosen. Rats.

BALDY. — Tuesday I am getting a pixie cut. Good bye super long hair. Here is probably the last photo I will take with my long hair. & even then, it’s in a bouffant.

READER’S DIGEST EDITION. — This evening, Larry and I attended Minot State University’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. I’ve seen it performed in numerous cities, including Orlando, San Antonio, Cocoa Beach, and now? Minot, North Dakota. San Antonio’s was pretty top notch. Anyway, scanning the program, I noticed they didn’t put Handel’s The Messiah: Abridged. They left out about half the program! That’s about ten or twelve songs… including everything after the “Hallelujah” chorus… Whoops. Figured no one would notice, right? It’s a little bit of an insult to say it’s The Messiah; it should have been advertised as “Selections from Handel’s Messiah”. Standards?

The alto singer had a pleasant Zoe Deschanel voice, but not opera trained (if she had a Christmas album, I would buy it), and the other soprano must’ve been an instructor at the college or something. Her voice was classically trained and she looked as if she enjoyed singing and the notes were easy to hit. A true professional. Unfortunately, the two lead violins didn’t tune to each other, so one was slightly sharp. Yikes.

Given the few hiccups, it was an enjoyable version of The Messiah: Abridged. The performance, from what I gather, was mostly volunteer singers and musicians. So good on them. Wish I would have known; I would have owned the alto section, next to the tenor with a scene beard and glasses who looked super thrilled to be singing – no sarcasm there! He was bobbing his head and completely rocking out to everything he was singing. Love that!



“You can’t even Handel the unabridged version.”
I donated a painting to my squadron’s fundraiser auction. It hauled in $315, about the same as the last one I donated a year ago. The piece up for bid was B-24J nose art on an aircraft that was assigned to my squadron in 1942. There was an entire story of its “last flight”, as well as photos of the crew that flew it. “Little Joe Toddy, All Ass and No Body”. Who knows, maybe I can make a career out of this sort of thing when I get out of the Air Force in a couple years?

This Friday is my squadron’s Christmas party. For some asinine reason, we forked out money for a DJ. Who hires a DJ anymore in the age of Pandora and iPods? And to top it off, we asked and they will only be playing Christmas music every third or fourth song. Hello — let me bring my iPod with my awesome lounge Christmas remixes! People raved about it at the Air Force Ball; let the magic happen again, please. Don’t fight it. & since we’re talking about not fighting it, hope the drinks are cheap.

I am hosting a dinner party for eight this New Year’s. Any suggestions for menu? I’m going to be working with my mom at Christmas to come up with a menu. I’m thinking molten chocolate cakes for dessert, at least. It’s kind of a tradition. My mom owned a restaurant and is practically Martha Stewart. Her advice never goes unheeded.

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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.