Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another Great day in Florida

Today, I was about to take Gus for his walk around the neighborhood and the weather was just TOO gorgeous (70s and sunny) so we decided to go to the beach. I brought my mythology book (thus furthering my resolve to refresh my memory) and we found a beautiful spot at St. Joe beach (where dogs are allowed, just past the time-zone change in the next county). Seriously, it was the best day ever. Once we got there, I didn't want to leave. The temperature was PERFECT and there was a just-so-soft breeze coming in off the water to cool off from the warming sun. We had the whole beach as far as we could see to ourselves and Gus behaved himself very well the whole time too! So that's how I spent this DECEMBER 17th! I love Florida!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I do LOVE living in Florida! Today, I drove with the windows rolled down; my attire these past few days has been flip-flops and short-sleeves; and we actually have had the air conditioner turned on. I know! It's awesome!

The downfall has been that it doesn't really feel like we should be having Christmas NEXT WEEK. I have been looking for a Florida Christmas ornament - something tacky, but not tacky, like a palm tree with Christmas lights. Rob and I found a glass pelican that we bought to remind us of our time here. Gus loves to chase the pelicans at the beach - he thinks he can catch them!

There's not a lot of note to relate. Saturday, we went out with the other B-coursers (those are the other F-15 students). Sunday we had dinner with some great friends who are moving to Virginia soon - I'll miss you Emily!!! Those of you who get her at Langley are so lucky! Yesterday I made cupcakes and brought them to the squadron today - yum! Tomorrow I plan on wrapping presents. It's a nice life.

OH!! The concrete guy called me back and he is interested in working something out - I can volunteer there in exchange for learning how to make concrete countertops! I'm so excited!! I'm thinking this is a brilliant way to "get a job" - I get to learn about making concrete AND exercise my skills! And maybe one day, if I'm in one place long enough, I could actually get hired after they see how awesome I am. :-)

Tagged! Here is my response to Mari's tag post - thanks, Mari!

The Rules: Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog.* Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog.* Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.* Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Fact 1
I am a mythology nerd. In high school I was in the Latin Club (president my senior year) and we went to Latin competitions where I competed in mythology and Latin mottoes. I recently resolved to refresh my skills when I did not remember that Boreas was the name of the North Wind (thus the Auroras Borealis - Northern Lights).

Fact 2
I talk to Gus during the day. Yea, I talk to my dog. "So what do you want to do today, Gus? Go for a walk? Yep"... "No, this is my coffee. Trust me, you're not interested"... "Can you believe that woman actually wore that sweater on What Not to Wear? I know! That's so ugly."

Fact 3
My favorite book of the Bible is Genesis. I love that my powerful God created the world and knows and cares for every tiny being. Plus, that he had a plan for our salvation all the way from the Beginning!

Fact 4
I have a masters degree in marketing. It's cool.

Fact 5
My favorite movie of all time is Babe. "The pig movie?", you say. Yes. Not only is it simply delightful, it has wonderful themes about prejudice, change, and standing up in the face of opposition. It's so good!

Fact 6
I miss my cat, Chai. He is a Siamese short-hair - the best kind of cat you could ever have! Funny, entertaining, and awesome. I gave him up when I got married. I miss him. Louie, if you're reading this, thanks for giving Chai a great new home!

Fact 7
I love projects. Some of the latest: concrete table top, flowerbeds, tree trunk side tables, yoga mat bag crocheted from plastic grocery bags, and more! It keeps my problem-solving skills sharpened.

Tagging
Since I only know a few people who do blogs (and none of them are required to respond to this post if they're not interested)...
LeeAnn
Renee
Ashley
Francie
Taryn
Ellen
Natalie

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Squadron Christmas Party

Some of the other student spouses

The past weekend on Saturday was the 95th Boneheads Squadron Christmas Party! It was held at the Bay Point Marriott - one of the very nice hotels in Panama City Beach. I have to tell you my husband's work parties are way more fun than any other work party ever! Cocktail hour began at 5:30. There was dinner, a goodbye to a member moving on to Nellis, prizes, karaoke, and fun with the 95th - a group of great people! Rob and I didn't leave the hospitality suite until around 12:30! Favorite parts of the night: taking crazy fun pictures with the other student spouses, Rob and the other students wearing tacky sweaters, a very tasty dinner with great company!


Left to Right: Christina, Erin, Sarah, Me, Taryn, Katy


As part of a Christmas present to each other, Rob and I got a room at the Marriott for a little mini-vacation. It was so nice! We had a leisure breakfast the next morning and just enjoyed being "away". We love living in Florida! Vacation is only 30 minutes away! :-)


That afternoon, the lovely Taryn gave us a photo shoot at the beach per my request (our last nice photos of us are really from our wedding). Rob said he'd never had so much fun taking pictures! Way to go, Taryn!


Monday was the 95th spouse coffee. I love the spouse coffees! Actually, I love being a fighter pilot wife! I love it all! I came home from the coffee and thanked Rob for having this job because that means I get to have my job! And I love it!

Concrete table so far!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

F-15 Solo and Thanksgiving Weekend


Here's a little update:

Rob's F-15 class is the baby class and now the duties of cleaning the squadron bar has been passed to them. So, Saturday before Thanksgiving, we got up early-ish, took pictures in the F-15 (not every week, this was just special), and went to clean the bar along with a few others in Rob's class. The night before had been a naming party (where pilots get call-signs) and it was especially dirty. Now, as a wife, I don't actually have to clean the bar, but I wanted to help out my husband, you know. But when I got there, it turned out to be kind of fun simply because the bar was SO dirty and cleaning it made SUCH a BIG difference! I do love to make things beautiful and cleaning certainly falls under that. There was actually a few things that I couldn't NOT clean because they were so amazingly awful. Ah, the joys of being a pilot wife... :-)

Tuesday, Rob had his first solo in the F-15!!! It was so exciting! I got to go out and take pictures too! Of course, I brought cookies, because Sheppard taught me that it's always a good policy not to go to the squadron empty-handed. :-) I was so pleased - Rob told me that people were talking about the cookies the rest of the day - "Dude, did you get any of the cookies in the bar?... Your wife made those cookies? Man, they were good!... You got two? There was only one left when I got there!" By the way, I used Erin Duran's awesome cookie recipe! Thanks to you, Erin!


Rob did well on his solo. I am so proud of my husband!! It was really neat to be able to see his solo! I got to ride the bus out to the jet, watch him do his walk-around, start the jet, and taxi out. Then, Jeff drove me out to the end of the runway and we watched him take off! Later, we drove to the landing end of the runway and watched him do patterns and land. SO cool! The Eagle is an awesome jet!! Pictures are below.

Thursday was Thanksgiving, in case some of you missed it. We were privileged to go to one of the other students' houses for a pot luck Thanksgiving. YUM! Jordan fried a turkey and WOW! It was AMAZING!! ... yum... *sigh* Okay, I'm back. I made some of my favorite Thanksgiving food that I look forward to every year: sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin cheesecake, and apple tart. All the food there was great and the people were even greater. :-)

Then, I got to enjoy a long weekend with my favorite person in the whole wide world: Rob! He's so awesome. Friday, we went on a simple trip to Lowe's to pick up stuff to make a concrete table top (for a leg I FOUND on the curb) and ended up taking a spontaneous trip to Destin! Gas prices be praised! It's actually not that far - a little over an hour from Panama City. We shopped at the mall and outlet mall and came home with some fun new things. For dinner Rob requested we eat at McGuire's Irish Pub in Destin. It is a really neat place, and has it's own brewery. Highlights were warm honey butter melting over the loaf of bread, a crazy burger menu, and a brewed-in-house root beer float - root beer never tasted so good!

Saturday, Rob took me to drink coffee on the beach. Yea, we live in Florida and the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we went to the beach! Woo hoo! We took a couple little adventure side-trips and ended up on the logging trails next to the base in the rain. It was beautiful scenery! The cold comes slower here, so the trees have time to change their leaves - through my rain-distorted window the yellows, golds, and crimsons were even more breathtaking! We endured a few slippery moments on the back trails in the rain and had to off-road around a closed gate to get out, but had a lot of fun.


Gus follows this sunbeam all through the living room each morning.

We mixed and poured our concrete and it's setting right now, so we'll flip it soon and hopefully, it will easily come out of the mold. We'll keep you updated on our latest decor project.


My engineer husband put t-bolts in the concrete to set so we can easily attach it to the table via L-brackets. I love his problem-solving skills!
Also, I just want to give applause to the greatest job in the world - the one I have - housewife! It is SO fun! I love planning meals, managing the money, cleaning, and doing laundry! Most of all, I love being available for my husband! I love welcoming him home and hearing about his day! I also love hobbies and learning new things! For example, today I'm walking the dog, going to yoga (I love yoga), going to World Market, Wal-Mart, and the base Thrift Shop, and baking cookies for the Airmen Cookie Drive. I'm studying to get my ACE certification to one day teach yoga. I'm going on Thursday to some concrete design shops to see if they'll let me apprentice - learn a little something in exchange for cleaning up. And I'm looking online for awesome and cheap holiday decorations I can make this season. I love my job!!

Rob's solo





On the bus out to the jet



Rob preparing




Me happy in front of the F-15C

Rob doing his walk-around

I like the speed brake

Rob's jet. Tail number: 542

On approach

Sucessful solo!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hungry at the Commissary

It's so dangerous to be grocery shopping while hungry. Today, I was hungry in the commissary. Truly, the commissary is a wonderful place with a nice slice of organic products and a delightful selection of items from around the world to cater to the military personnel's tastes acquired overseas. Not initially hungry, the items in my cart stuck to the list until I got to the section at the end of the store - the bakery, cheeses, frozen foods area... This is what made its way into my cart that wasn't on the list: two Ben & Jerry's pints (Phish food and Creme Brulee), Blue Bell Moolinium Crunch, fresh baked kaiser rolls, applewood smoked gouda, and sparkling organic pear juice. I stopped myself before mint truffle filled hersey kisses jumped in my cart, but it was tough. When I got home, I had a stunning lunch of honeybaked deli ham on a fresh baked kaiser roll with dill havarti cheese (a tasty throw back to Wenonah's days), a few slices of smoked gouda, sparkling pear juice, and a taste of each Ben & Jerry's pint for dessert. It was awesome! I wish each one of you a delightful "wasn't on the list" post-grocery shopping meal too!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Couch!


So... the new couch arrived!!!!!!! YES! Our main reason for doing the DITY move has finally come! Rob and I are so pleased! I felt a little awkward when I found I couldn't understand the southern accents of the delivery guys - "they're speaking English! What is going on?!?" He asked for my "sneaker" and I was very confused until he pointed to his clipboard that needed my signature! OH!


Now, you may be wondering, "what on earth became of your old couch, McKay?" The sits-on-bricks $20-for-the-couch-plus-loveseat at a garage sale 8 years ago, the garage couch of the Carter Creek house, the "Love Nest" of the Apartment of Fun? Well, I'm thrilled to relay that I called our new church and a high school small group had been praying for a couch for about 4 months! YAY! Thus, the old couch can begin a new life at church! (I didn't tell them we used to call it the "Love Nest")

Friday night, the couples in the F-15C class (leaving out the 1 single guy - sorry Brent!) got together at the Clark's and hung out. It was nice to just hang out as a class. Saturday, we went to the Squadron's Skull Party. The 95th is the Boneheads (thus the Skull Party) and at the party they pass the skull to the next host, who must host a party within the next 95 days. I do love fighter squadron traditions! And Sunday, some of the awesome ladies got together at Sweet Tease, which is this gem of a restaurant! It's a bakery with Sunday brunch and sweets, coffees, and (da da dada!...) eggs benedict!!... with their famous crab cakes in lieu of pork! Very tasty! I am SO happy we found this place! We're definitely going back! *sigh* Last night was the squadron wives coffee where we enjoyed some amazing food and shared our holiday traditions! I shared that our family does steak dinner on Christmas Eve and they all thought that was so "Texan." :-) Then, today, I broke out the multi-colored Fiestaware and had girls over for tea and scones! SO fun!

Really the last two weeks have just been delightful! Between the long weekend I got with Rob and the lovely girl socials, it's been great!

OH! Also, we got in the last of our DITY move purchases - the Playstation 3! I'm slowly learning to be better at Guitar Hero and Rob is just in heaven!

The weather here is getting colder- it's about 56 degrees today and I have the windows open a little - it's nice. Still love living at the beach - it's just gettin' a little chilly! I just finished my landscaping! Rob trimmed the bushes and I cleared the beds and planted snapdragons, impatients, pansies, mexican heather, and a couple others. We'll see how they work out! Regardless, I'm so much happier when I pull into a house with flowers!



I'll leave you with some pics of my favorite cool decorating things:


shelf of neat glass bottles


vintage travel posters

old hooks from Canton as dishtowel hangers


neat wire basket hung as fruit basket



washboard in laundry area


vintage fan (great flea market buy) in kitchen



wine cork board with "I love Rob" note :-)

more vintage hooks!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

$35 a Tank, We go


Long weekends are awesome: Friday was "War Day", basically a big game that students like myself don't get to play in, Tuesday is Veteran's Day so we don't work, and Monday in between was "Wingman Sports Day", which is a day for the 325th Wing to hang out, do whatever because it isn't technically a holiday. So Friday I had to go to class in the morning and when I was done my truck was gone, missing, not where I left it. So my first thought is: "What the heck? Who in the world would sneak onto an Air Force base to steal a vehicle and decide that the '93 Chevy half ton with 221000 miles on it would be the one to take?" After a couple of angry minutes a friend located my wife's car which contained keys. So McKay had received her new couch and needed to take the old one away and needed a truck. She was going to leave a message on my phone about the location of my truck, her car, the keys to her car and how much she loves me. However as she dialed she discovered that my phone is in the truck as usual. The rest of the day I was not in communication with her so I didn't know where she went or why she stole my truck. Saturday we went to downtown Panama City for the farmers market which turned out to be two farmers and a cart. We met an elderly couple with a 195 pound Irish Wolf Hound that made Gus look small (biggest dog breed in the world). We had breakfast at a little diner and finished off the day fishing at the marina. I say finished the day because it freakin' gets dark at 5PM. We drove down to Port St. Joe for Mexican food, BINGO, we found Mexican food, Ha Ha hA. Finally we live near good Mexican food that is not in danger of closing. Sunday we went to the boat store to discover that they ordered the wrong part for us to finish our boat, so one more week waiting. Monday started with a "fun run" down the runway and the chance to share my feelings with my fellow pilots until mid-morning. I temped McKay with a road trip and she couldn't resist. For the first time in four years gas is cheap enough that we can just go for a drive. We started going north to Wewhahitchka, home of the famous honey makers L.L. Lanier. We were expecting to find a happy place with a tour led by a jolly fat guy in a "Bee Wrangler" hat, where we could meet the bees and see production in action. Not so. Instead we threaded the truck through a thin drive way in the hedge with a very "Go home!" feel. We exit the tunnel into a clearing cluttered with sheds, 50 gallon drums, random engine parts, and some skittish dogs. Very, very redneck. So this guy who looks like a Hawaiian linebacker with thinning hair trundles out of one of the sheds to call off the dog and then stares at us like we should know what to do. Hidden in the overgrowth is a 1920's farm style house and a creepy old lady, also staring, standing at the door. This is obviously the place to go, but neither man nor creepy lady seems to welcome us, or help us, or even really acknowledge our presence. My wife, hoping to see the "bee tour", expectantly and politely fished for information from the creepy old lady. As it turns out the honey is special because the bees use nectar from a plant that grows only in the Chattahoochee River swamp, this is a really busy time of year for shipping the honey (hence the big guy), and they don't keep bees at the house, give tours, smile, or like other people. So we got our honey and left. Driving south we decided to see the swamp where the bees get the goods and driving down the dirt roads of back water Florida we found a bear, yes, a BEAR! He was in a hurry so we didn't get a picture, but he was a black bear about my size. We took the long way out to St. George's Island where we walked the beach and let Gus play fetch in the surf. We returned along the causeway to Apalachicola for their famous oysters. The downtown area is cluttered with historic buildings filled with cute eateries and antiques. We stopped for a cappuccino and enjoyed the seaside town ambiance. The area is a lot like Galveston would be if Houston was somewhere else. We then strolled down to the water front where Boss Oyster bar serves oysters that they just brought off their boat. We had a couple dozen raw oysters and watched the Chattahoochee delta fade in the sunset. Monday evening we joined the guys from school at Buffalo Wild Wings where during Monday Night Football they hand out free beer as long as no one goes into the restroom. They all had stories of greatness, "One time my buddy was here and nobody went to the bathroom until the 4th quarter was half over and the whole restaurant was trashed." After hearing such tales of greatness we were expecting a spectacle, but 3 minutes into halftime an old man who didn't even know about the contest walked into the bathroom to wash his hands and cut the night extremely short, and the whole bar was mad. But to put icing on the cake we had the worst waitress I have ever had. She couldn't remember who ordered what, she gave me (and charged me for) a huge beer because they were out out of the small glasses, for some reason I got my meal 30 minutes before the rest of the table even though I ordered last, and topped it all with a mandatory 17.5% gratuity. All in all it was a great weekend of relaxing adventure.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Livin' on the Edge

So, we live on the edge of the central time zone. All those friends in Texas - don't worry about any time change when you call! We can actually drive about 20 minutes and we're in the next time zone (FYI, that's where we sometimes take Gus to the beach because lots of the beaches around us are not dog friendly). But that means that now with daylight savings time, the sun sets at 5! And then it gets DARK! It's 5:15 right now and I can't see outside anymore! It's so weird. Rob and I are both fairly solar-powered so this is an adjustment for us.

Saturday, I went to do yoga on the beach with a group that meets once a month. It was SO nice! The beach was serene, the weather was PERFECT, and the yoga was fun. The instructor's wife took pictures!

Beach Pose


Me! in the blue tank top


Standing Tree Pose in the water - more difficult than it sounds and a very fun challenge!

Later that afternoon, Rob and I went to the beach on the other side of base (the one in the next time zone) and had a very relaxing time (pictures below). Then, I'm proud to say, Rob seduced me the rest of the evening with wine and a bubble bath. My husband rocks!


Lots of shells

Our beautiful dog


My hand at artsy photography

He's so awesome
The yummy oysters we can get (so good and so fresh) any day here! This is what we ate for dinner.


After the last church visiting (I was so traumatized *sigh*), we were ready to not be visitors anymore. We liked St. Andrews Baptist enough and decided on it as our new church home (the one with the mullet-clad worship leader and the Sunday school class full of peers). It was nice to just go to church and not be evaluating it trying to decide if it's the right place for us! They are going through 2 Samuel and the life of David which is awesome - Rob has always wanted to make an epic action movie about David. He's explained it to me and it's totally awesome! I can't wait!


Yesterday, I went to Wal Mart because I usually plan the house meals on Monday and the commissary is closed on Mondays (I tried to adjust my schedule, but I just can't) and I truly feel that Wal Mart has brainwashed me. When I didn't go to Wal Mart on a regular basis, I could scoff and ridicule it's long lines and unhelpful employees. But, now that it's been my regular store in Wichita Falls, I actually feel a warm fuzzy when I go there! ACK! Who AM I? So, watch out everyone! It will suck you in!


And, very awesome blogger, Tyne, has requested my all-purpose cleaning solution recipe and here it is! With proper credit that I got it from my semi-hippy friend Joy! Much love!

50/50 vinegar and water in a spray bottle (I used my old 409 bottle) Then, put as many drops of your choice of essential oils as makes you happy. I used about 50 drops of lemon (I added at different times until I liked it) and maybe 40 drops of grapefruit (gives it a nice, more interesting clean citrus smell)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Today

SCORE!! I got a new vacuum cleaner yesterday! The first of our DITY move purchases came in and we picked it up at Lowe's last night! I got a Bissell Total Floors - and I love it! Dyson, eat your heart out. Actually, Dyson did a lot for the vacuum cleaner market - they made vacuums sexy. They made it exciting to use your vacuum. BUT, we tried it in Sears (where they let you try out the vacuums) and they both sucked equally. he he. Anyway, I vacuumed like all day today and was greatly rewarded with seeing all the dirt that is no longer on my carpet. I love it.

In honor of my new vacuum, I also did some house cleaning. Joy, you would be so proud - I "green" cleaned! I used my vinegar, water, and essential oil mixture to clean my kitchen and dining floors and it was great! But I was even more impressed when I went to the bathroom to clean. There's a real mold problem here and the tub had already turned far from the original white. So, I sprinkled some baking soda in the tub and lightly sprayed my vinegar mixture. AWESOME! The tub turned whiter with each scrub! I think it's even whiter than when we first moved in! And the vinegar mixture is just the best all-purpose cleaner ever! Going green pays off.


Tonight, we were prepared for an onslaught of trick-or-treaters. Last year, at Sheppard, where we lived just down the street from the General's (where everyone started) we literally ran out of candy in 15 minutes! Seriously! So, this year, I was prepared! Alas, our number of trick-or-treaters was substantially less than estimated. Rob and I truly have our pick of the best candy (and I gave 3 to 4 pieces per kid!) But, we did dress up to give out candy and that makes me happy. I was a fairy (of course) and Rob wore his mullet and Gus wore a blue camouflage bandana to be a water commando. :-)

Trick-or-treater higlights: our neighbors' kids competing over who got to give away the candy, a really cute little bumblebee with photo-taking parents, a full-grown Batman with yellow utility belt, and a princess who, when given the candy, held it up to us and said, "I don't like this."