Friday, January 30, 2009

A Day of Literature

So, yesterday I had a day filled with literature. It was lovely. I finished Water for Elephants and loved it so much that I just wasn't done. Knowing I would be discussing it at book club later, I typed up all the passages I thought were thought-provoking, full of substance, or discussion-sparking. I ended up with two pages worth of commentary about the themes of faithfulness and loyalty throughout the characters and situations, the motif of chaos in its many forms, tons of ironies, parallelism, and the good or evil inherent in man debate. Mom, I know you said you were looking for a good fiction book - you should try this one!

I enjoyed exercising the word-analyzing part of my brain so much that I picked up Shakespeare next. I had recently received As You Like It in my netflix and wanted to brief myself on the play and its circumstances before I watched it. Well, WHY haven't I picked up this play before???? I'm already so excited and I only just finished the first act! The play uses a pastoral setting to bring up contrasts between the simple life in nature and the courtier life in man's world. It has tons of interesting commentary and reminds me of the current green movement - the move away from industry, manufacturing, and consumerism in favor of pure products, things found in nature, and small business outfits. Yet another reason why Shakespeare is always relevant! Awesome.

Oh, and before you get to thinking I'm supersmart and only do constructive mind-enhancing things with my time, I'll tell you that I also watched some of the America's Next Top Model marathon on cable yesterday. Like totally awesome.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Rob and I at the beach in Pensacola

We've settled into somewhat of a routine. Rob goes to work at a different time each day, comes home at a different unpredictable time, but calls me before he comes home every time. :-) I prep dinner at 4pm so that it is almost ready to go for whenever he gets home. During the day, I partake of a variety of activities, including, but not limited to: checking my email, walking the dog, doing a Bible study, cleaning, doing yoga, researching topics on the internet or at the library (presently learning about going green), and tons of other fun stuff. Fridays the girls usually get together while the guys attend roll call (that ends at any given time between 5 and later). Saturdays, Rob and I usually reserve for us to hang out. And Sundays are church, relaxing, and prep. I'm sure only a fraction of you were interested in such details of our routine (our moms :-) and as a reward for the rest of you, I'll share some fun pictures.

This is Gus checking my email and doing my Bible study. He's such a spiritual dog.

The girls: Taryn (pregnant with twins!) and Katy

Lovely hostess Sarah and me

And the Guys: playing Rock Band at Sarah's after roll call

At the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola. I like to think Rob was proud of my airplane recognition as I was able to mostly identify the F-4, A-6, F-14 and Hellcat (it's one of my favorite dogfighters). Of course he was my own personal tour guide as we admired the planes, explaining what each was (hardly ever even looking at the display sign!) and its purpose. I'm a big sap when it comes to war heroes and the endurance of the human spirit so I teared up a lot at the displays like the one about the USS Forrestal and the huge fire that devastated the deck, killed hundreds, and inspired the remaining to acts of heroism to bring the fire into submission. In fact, I'm tearing up now. It's a beautiful and sad story. I also loved seeing retired Navy or Air Force men wearing shirts that said their call sign or another signification that said, "hey, I used to fly these" - those guys are so amazing!

This is Rob and I in the cockpit of the A-6. I'm his bombardier/navigator to his pilot. Can I get an "awww"?

Sunset in Pensacola

So I thought only dumb people in movies ever did this! I started to fill up the sink to soak some dishes, went to the other room and promptly forgot about the running sink. I returned just in time for my brain to go, "what is going... oh no!" Thankfully, it was just before I would have had water flowing over the sink!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I love the Sunbeam

Gus and I both followed the sunbeam in the living room all morning and it was lovely! I'm reading Water for Elephants for book club. It's so nice to read something written well and store away insights for a future discussion! Sometimes I'll read something and really wish I were still in school so I could write a fantastic essay pointing out the ironies, motifs, themes and how the writer uses such-and-such as a metaphor for human spirit.

In my other reading, I'm reading about manners - thanks for the initial inspiration, Mari! The subject was also spurred on by my study of Esther. It's been great to delve deep into the story and find what qualities Esther must have possessed that contributed to her favor. It certainly convicts me of my ever-present pride and realize I have a long way to go in terms of putting others first - one of the basics of manners - caring enough to make others feel at ease.

So, I did it again - I was at the commissary, inadvisably hungry! This time, I brought home spicy sweet chili Doritos, french pastries, and Pringles. I stopped myself before the mascapone cheese (with intention of making Italian dessert with strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and marscapone cheese). Yea, it sounds amazing! But I remembered that I didn't have any strawberries and had already driven past the farmer's market that had already packed up. I got this idea from my new favorite cookbook: The Essential Mediterranean Cookbook. It not only has Greece, but Turkey, Italy, France, and North Africa!!! With pictures!!! I found it for $5.99 at my local Borders. What a find! Had the vanilla ice cream, topped with 1 tsp espresso grounds and 1 Tbsp whiskey the other night - YUM! Try it, it's good.

Another reason I love Florida: produce everywhere at the stands on the sides of the road! Citrus galore! Oranges, tangerines, tangelos, grapefruits (red and white), pomellos, lemons (made fresh squeezed lemonade!), and more! Strawberries, the best tomatoes Rob and I have ever eaten, onions, squash, green beans (amazing flavor! prefer them fresh). I mean wow! It's awesome. Not to mention the temperature outside is in the 50s/60s and SUNNY! I love it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Crazy Woman

So I'm doing a Beth Moore Bible study. I knew the Lord was telling me I needed to get involved in our local church and I'd been wanting the regular Bible-reading that comes with a Bible study that meets weekly. Well, for those of you who didn't go there, Grace Bible Church in College Station raises you to be a Bible study snob. This has both good points and bad points. The good points are that one is taught to study the BIBLE and what it actually says and glean TRUTH. The bad part is that we condemn studies in which a HUMAN has written the study! *gasp!* "You mean I am to learn God's Word from what a mere human has gleaned!? As if!" Therefore, unfortunately, I was going into this Bible study a little like Jonah after he finally resolved to go to Ninevah, "Okay. Fine. I'll go. But it's not going to do any good." Confessing my pride, I prayed God would help me.

So... the Beth Moore study isn't that bad. Really, it's not. It has a lot of inductive-style qualities. She has us write everything certain verses tell us (good on that) and then conclude answers from our brainstorm without actually telling us "the answer here is Jesus." It's nice. Plus, her videos and writing tone remind me of Tristie Fisher - she's VERY conversational and even though she's speaking to hundreds or thousands of people in her video, she still manages to sound like the two of us are just sitting down to coffee.

So if you're away from College Station, I know it will be hard, but try not to condemn studies before trying them - and don't be proud! It doesn't help anyone.

All that to get to where I was really going when I started this. We're studying the book of Esther. I know! Awesome! Anyway, one of the things Beth has us think about is the phrase, "It's tough being a woman when..." Hmm. Ignoring the fact that many of us (me) really LIKE being a woman (we're way prettier), I guess it is hard sometimes. And this morning, I know my answer. Now, before I say mine, I want you to think a little bit about yours. Okay?

Well, for me, it's hard being a woman when my emotions get the better of me. For example, there's plenty of times I have to explain something to Rob with the clause, "I know it's stupid and completely illogical, but I'm a girl and that's what I think." He's a very gracious and understanding husband. The other times my emotions get the best of me is today. I'm completely flooded. I'm happy and excited to be going to Okinawa - our first choice of assignments. I'm stressed and anxious, worried I'm already behind on preparing to move. I'm determined and focused, trying to gather, sift, understand, and store all the TONS of information on the island of Okinawa, how to do a military move, how to move overseas, how to move to Okinawa, how to move my pet to Japan, where to live, when to sign up to live there, where to travel, when, how, etc., etc, etc. I'm fearful of the unknown. I'm bold in the face of the unknown adventure. I'm anxious. I'm happy. I'm a crazy woman.

Thankfully, this post was written yesterday and between then and now, Rob came home and made me sane again. I love Rob. Now, I'm leisurely looking at potential travel destinations around Japan in my spare time. Nice.

Back to the Beach

Taken Saturday! I love Florida!

Okay, the big news first! Rob's solo night was Friday and we've officially received Kadena as our next assignment!!!!! Rob and I are so excited! We look forward to more beautiful beaches, warm weather, and lots of sushi! Based on the classes in front of ours, it looks like we'll be leaving pretty soon after Rob's graduation - so Okinawa in May probably!

Our Road Trip

We really enjoyed our Christmas break and visiting family and friends in Texas. We drove through New Orleans on our 13-hour trip and took some pictures. On the way back, we stopped at Bass Pro Shop in Baton Rouge (shoutout to our Tiger buddy Lance!) and took GUS! He did so well too! Now, back in Florida, a cold front has just hit (it's been 65 and sunny most days :-) so I'm in the house with 45 degrees outside.

Here's some pictures from our road trip.

Driving on the longest bridge IN THE WORLD! How cool is that? It's the one over Lake Pontchartrain.

Gus, trying to get comfortable in the truck. I love it!

People keep asking about the boat. Well, it's turned out to be not such a great idea. :-) If we had a month here before Rob started and didn't leave until June-ish as originally planned, I think it would have paid for itself. But Rob started early and was obviously busy and we didn't decide to have a professional rig the boat (it wasn't sail-able when we bought it, thus the good price) until about 2 weekends before it got cold. It's actually gotten pretty warm outside lately, but the water is still very very chilly. When sailing on a catamaran, one does get wet. It's designed for that. Neither Rob nor I find being cold and wet in the wind fun. Sadly. Thus, the poor S.S. Awesome has remained in boat storage. We are determined to sail it before we have to sell it (how sad is that?) and may decide to gear up in the cold water, but if I were you, I would be sure of the number of weeks one has available for sailing before one decides to buy rather than rent a boat. Just some advice.

Rob has started defensive BFM (basic fighter maneuvers) and is doing really well! He really loves starting with the instructor chasing him and succeeding in getting away or not getting shot down. He finds a lot of satisfaction in not dying. :-)

I don't think the concrete guy is going to call me back. Sad! I called him again after the holidays, but my not hearing from him before made me worry and I'm pretty sure he's decided that he doesn't need or want me to volunteer. I'm a little bummed, but his place is on the other side of town, so I guess I'll save some time and gas. Also, we received two concrete books for Christmas from our families and they have great instruction! We're planning on making a coffee table soon.

Yesterday, Rob and I (but mainly Gus!) were invited to a dog birthday party! Libby (the weinerdog of one of the other students) turned one year old and the Clarks threw her a happenin' party! Most pictures on facebook. But here's one because I couldn't resist.

I'm going to leave you with some of my favorite pictures taken recently. Enjoy.

Christmas at the beach

Rob's truck in the "sure you can shoot there... just stay away from the road" area

Rob and yet another little animal he accidentally caught