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”


Road Trip Souvenirs

TINY DOGS. In biggest news, after a three-week road trip, I brought back a tiny Dachshund puppy for a souvenir. Of course, she is more than just a souvenir. She is now a distinguished, important member of our family and household. Anyway, we adopted her from the same breeder as Otto… and four of my mom’s Dachshunds. Say no to puppy mills! She has disapproving eyebrows and a tiny bark.

Speaking of road trip, I packed up the PT Cruiser and headed to Pensacola to visit my friend, Devin. I stayed there a week, then headed to my parents’ place near Asheville, North Carolina. Devin’s condo is half way through to their house, which is pretty convenient. We plan to come back right before Christmas, but this time we are renting a condo down the street from my family. You know what? There was the cabin next door to them for sale and they didn’t let us know. Could have had a sweet mountain cabin. My cousin Marjorie also just moved to Asheville, so it was great to see her. She is pursuing her masters in Social Work.

MSCP. As for my masters, I am signed up for four more classes starting next Tuesday. The first class I took for summer was only a month long… which left me with a sweet two-month break. Also got most of May off. I know it’s starting to be time for me to go back to school when I consider putting on a bra and washing my hair an accomplishment for the day. Anyway, learning about Statistics, Ethics, Counseling Theories, and some other class I forgot. Then, next semester I start my thesis! I AM AN ADULT.

SOCIALLY WILLING. My Rotary Club has named me the social media manager. And by named me, I mean “Hey, you guys need to be on social media to attract new members. I got you a Twitter and Instagram. Oh, and your website looks 2001.” So, follow us. Better yet, join your local Rotary Community Service Club. Meet people, share experiences, yada yada. I’ve never been a huge fan of social media. I have an Instagram (I just got it two years ago), and I deleted Facebook in 2012. I think we have a huge problem with oversharing every detail… as I sit and type on my 15-years strong (well, hasn’t had significant gains) blog. It’s a way to connect, I get it, and it’s fun. But wow, it is time consuming! Oh, and here is a photo of me speaking to three Rotary clubs about the benefits of sending 10th graders to RYLA camp in the summer. I went a million years ago. It’s a confidence booster. Just look at those briefing hands.

MEDALING KIDS. Lastly, the Air Force ball is next month. I’m no longer active duty, but Larry is. As an officer, he feels it’s his duty to attend these sorts of things to network, and I totally agree. So, I found a dress… it was the last one and in my size. It fits perfectly, and my medals will look awesome on them. No bling needed; it’s built-in with years of service. & for fuck’s sake, ladies: no sateen, rhinestone-embellished prom dresses. Tacky as hay-ell. I’m ready to move away from the South. & where are the people my age? So odd. It’s like a black hole around here.

Went to Starbuck’s yesterday. Tried to contain the excitement that in a month I will have sugar-free PSL in my life again.


Take a Napa & Go to Napa.

PEN&INK. You know, writing is always in the back of my mind. Updating. How could it not be? I’ve been doing it seventeen years. Most of my life. I like to write to explain things. I like to write to understand things. I like to write to have a chronicle of life. “What did I do in 2004? What did I feel? What did I learn?” and I can pull up a digital index of everything. Things I’ve forgotten. Things I maybe wanted to forget, and had… but my digital brain doesn’t forget.

So I am updating when I can, when I want to. So many good things are happening all at once; or maybe my outlook has changed on how I approach everything that happens. I think it’s the latter. I guess most people can recreate the years with a Facebook page, or a Twitter feed. That’s fine, but very limited… you physically can’t type more than 140 characters at a time on Twitter: fragmented thoughts. And who has ultimate control over a Facebook or Twitter? I am proud to own my writings in my own online space and archives.

Pfft, let’s be real. Haven’t updated lately because of Witcher 3 & a replay of Dragon Age: Inquisition. It happens.

Geralt, you magnificent bastard.

MSCP & SANFRAN. Get this: I’m six months into my Masters of Science in Counseling Psychology. When did that happen? I also went to San Francisco last month to attend the Couples Conference, a professional conference for those practicing counseling or psychology. It was also a thinly-veiled excuse to get over to the West Coast and tour Napa Valley. Which we did. Highlights of the trip include a really lovely wine-tasting and tour at ZD Wines, and lunch at Auberge du Soleil. We stayed at the historic Ledson Hotel while in Napa, right in the heart of downtown Sonoma. We spent a few days in San Francisco while I attended the conference, and also hoofed it around the city. FitBit says 20,000+ steps and 90+ floors climbed & I believe it. Good thing I wore a fancy jacket to dinner at Gary Danko so you couldn’t see my armpit sweat stains after a 45-minute hike.

The counseling conference was pretty stellar. Many different workshops and speakers were offered… and because it was San Francisco, it ranged from “Crystals & Auras” to actual Neuroscience. Most of the attendees were older and looked like this. That’s from Meet the Fockers for the uninitiated. They were even selling those kinds of clothes there. I thought I was smart and looked smart in my Hillary-esque pant suit, but I kinda stuck out. Anyway, Esther Perel regulated on modern relationships and not expecting your partner to fulfill every role in your life. Preach. Anyway, it was enlightening to see a West Coast Party. Bet the East Coast Party would include information on Freud, prescribing Dyziplen, and how to embrace being miserable. I jest. I think.

When this masters brouhaha is all said and done, I’m probably going to round robin right into the VA or on-base mental health clinics. B-52 Radar Navigator… instant rapport. I know how the military works, I know what it can put families through, and I know how to sift the story from the chaff. I had a hard time relating to the mental health clinic I went to before my first deployment: The clinician looked no older than 24. What did she know about deployments, or what I was experiencing? She went to college, got her masters, and here she is. What experiences has she had? I was so angry and frustrated that she couldn’t possibly understand. Now I know how to help. Frame that Honorable Discharge on the wall and we good.

ROTARY. I’ve joined my local Rotary Club; I think I’m the youngest member. No shame. It’s a small club, rather than the large Shreveport one. I figure I can make more of a difference and develop closer friends in a smaller club for the time I have left here… about two years (until I finish my degree and can leave this area). Anyway, I noticed the web site needs an update (very circa 2002), and there were no social outlets besides a Facebook that isn’t updated regularly. So, naturally, I took over the social media job. I made a Twitter and Instagram, and the Facebook is connected in to receive updates. Take that, Millenials… I do know how to use Twitter! But I still don’t see the point besides news agencies to distribute news fast. Oh well. We are in the game now.

I am still disappointing my piano teacher, but it’s always great fun going to lessons. Still visiting my elderly friends each Saturday, too. I had an idea to maybe do something like “painting with a twist,” but with a patriotic eagle or something. I asked one of the residents if they would enjoy a painting workshop and she said no. Welp, there’s that. Lastly, I baked “Lavender Honey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Icing” from this hippie dippy book Larry bought. I almost followed the recipe but I got bored and improvised. My birthday is tomorrow and I’m gonna be 31. Eating this cupcake.


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…


No Excuses?

SEAGALITE.Hilarious Florida story; well perhaps more sad than hilarious… or if you are me, it’s easily both. While eating at Coconuts beach bar for the second time in so many days (it’s a bar… on the beach. Can I go every day?) enjoying a fruity frozen drink, I only ran into one person unexpectedly from my past. There was this dude who we shall deem “OG” (because I believe I blogged a bit about him in my past journals circa 2006). OG would come into Blockbuster where I worked and rent every Steven Seagal movie we had on the shelf, without fail, on a weekly basis. OG looked like Elvis, with a tasty pompadour and everything. So, naturally, I asked him for his membership number and his phone number. Ended up hanging out a couple times, but he had a past of some chemical drug use that explained his spacey, outright unintelligent and “just not getting it” personality. So long story short, I spotted him behind my sunglasses while drinking lunch with my cousin Marjorie and Larry. He was… much heavier. My goodness, much heavier, much like his hero, Mr. Seagal. Although I must say, even as a bus boy, OG had a smile on his face. At least there is that. I guess drugs will do that to you.

Additionally, my class reunion seemed, in retrospect, that only the people who were obviously successful really showed up. Which is a shame, because it takes all types. Going to see people I barely knew in high school isn’t my idea of an OMG AWESOME! time, but I went just because I didn’t have an excuse not to. And if wrangling leave (aka vacation days in military lingo) for both Larry and I with our respective Lt Colonel bosses and flying from NORTH DAKOTA isn’t an excuse, I’d like to see what everyone else had come up with. Lameb0ts.

HOBOS.The move out of the house is slow and steady. We are living in an empty house without any furniture. It took the movers way more time than anticipated to pack up all our junk… which leads me to believe we have a superfluous amount of said junk. Now, don’t get me wrong, if it were my decision, I’d be back in a 1/1 in San Antonio, Texas. That apartment was amazing. Plus, when you’re in San Antonio, you are never home anyway because there is always shit going on and places to go. Talk about easy to clean, too. We just have a lot of hobbies… I have a bass and electric guitar, a piano, art paints and the such, tons of books, and cosplay outfits/materials. Speaking of cosplay, I am hoping to attend Megacon this year in Orlando. Larry says this may be relevant to his interests if he can go as a Skyrim character. As that is ambitious, I may just make a simple Azura costume (but hideous, I hate doing all over body paint – think of my Aurra Sing cosplay), or haul ol’ TANK GIRL out of mothballs. & speaking of Mz. Tank…

TANKINK.Here is a badass Tank Girl tattoo I found online that some guy in Europe is currently getting done:


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.


2500 Miles!

THE LIVING IS EASY. Does anything say summer like Steely Dan and making vegan chili and cornbread? Okay, maybe if I was doing a pig roast in the Caribbean with a live steel drum band… but those folks do that year round. In Minot I must settle for Steely Dan, okay? Speaking of Steely Dan, my boss a million years ago when I worked at the cabinet shop unintentionally got me into Dan Band. You could tell a lot about how the day was going to go by the music blasting (or lack thereof) when I arrived for work. If it was classical, the day was going to drag, and you couldn’t ask to change the music. If it was nothing, well, you could ask, but it was a toss up if you got classical or still nothing. Miss that place sometimes!

WHY NOT? Man, screw this city’s water management ineptitude. In addition to flooding everyone’s basements (including mine) with delicious sewage in 2011, now it’s happening again, without an impending flood at all. They are claiming the toilet-paper infused water is on our end, but I find it hard to believe it would just start backing up city sewage all of the sudden. Minot, you’re a silly, stupid city and I am ready to leave you in the dust. Oh, and where’s that multimillion dollar grant you received for flood rebuilding? How about something to show for all the insane property taxes you collect on everyone, jacking the rates for homeowners to almost 200% after the flood? Wanks. You know, Shreveport smells like nasty sewer ALL the time (due to the brown river flowing through town), but at least they don’t make it a habit of sloshing other people’s shit water into my basement.

BOOGADABOO. In brighter news, I took a vacation to the west coast a coupla weeks ago. Larry and I visited his family in Olympia, Washington (sup, Bikini Kill/Sleater-Kinney?). In Spokane, his dad has a cabin on the river, where Otto successfully learned to swim and I successfully avoided going totally into the chilly water. Here are some photos. Looks like Skyrim in Montana, by the way.

Bathroom renovation is almost complete. Before and after photographtypes next post! And I have a check ride coming up, with the lady aviator I posted a photo with a few weeks ago. Aces for estrogen in the offensive compartment.


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.”
“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:

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

Butternut Squash and Pumpkin Curry with Toasted Sunflower Seed Garnish

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


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.


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.


Dallas Fair Park

This past week I had a canceled flight. It was my last flight in the left seat while here at Barksdale AFB. For the next three flights I will be in the right as navigator, in preparation for my check ride. They have moved our FTU graduation from November fifth to November twenty-ninth, the day after we return from “Thanksgiving Vacation”. This means I will have to spend Turkey Day in Shreveport. The silver lining is that Larry will fly down from Minot to help me drive up with all my things. We’ll also get a couple days at my parents’ house in the Appalachian mountains, too, on the way North.

There have been whisperings of it being a warmer winter this season; my mother said the leaves haven’t been changing as fast. I know last year, when I was at SERE (Survival) School, that Arctic front that moved through the nation the second week of January? I was camping in the mountains of Eastern Washington during it, in a terrible sleeping bag on the ice. Without a tent. Hopefully my first winter north of the forty-eighth latitude line is as mild as possible! Now wouldn’t that be something?

This past weekend, Larry booked us a stay at the Renaissance hotel in Dallas. Since it was a long weekend for Columbus Day, it couldn’t have been a better time. Saturday we lazily wandered around a couple furniture shops, but it wasn’t our lucky day. I did, however, find a magnetic knife rack. That evening, he took me to Truluck’s Seafood Restaurant. The atmosphere was amazingly art deco, with rich wood paneling and lots of shiny stainless steel accents. The food was equally as breathtaking: I ordered Cioppino, seven kinds of fresh seafood in a tomato broth. It included calamari, shrimp, dungeness crab, clams, mussels, swordfish, & scallops. Larry ordered filet mignon. I figured I’d better dine on as much fresh seafood before I move North! No fresh fish available in the frozen midwest!

On Sunday, we took a trip across town to see what the Dallas State Fair had to offer. It’s the largest fair in the nation, with the largest selection of specialty fried food. Sadly, the lines for said treats were monstrously long, so buying any caloric nightmares was out. The event was held in Fair Park, which was built in 1936 for the World’s Fair. The buildings and statues were so beautiful and deco! However, I was most excited about the livestock and poultry shows – I absolutely love ducks and chickens; I had them growing up. I also enjoyed seeing young children and high school members of the FFA showing off their prized hens, dairy cows and pigs. I think raising livestock and learning about the care and keeping of animals is a great hobby that requires patience and hard work. Plus, you get a tasty meal perhaps! Poor Wilbur…

And casually sweeping over the internet for photos from last week’s Oktoberfest yielded a first hit of these photos, where I am subtly blocking the other ladies from the shot. Devin looks rather dashing in his lederhosen, and according to Larry, “Quite Austrian.” Thanks to the Airman that took these with her 20 megapixel camera for Barksdale’s web site! The General also approves (he’s the smiling gentleman to the right of Devin).