Saturday, December 29, 2012

Of Christmas and New Years and Other Such Things

Christmas Eve Eve!
I've neglected blogging a lot lately. I guess I've had a lot going around in my brain that I just needed to sort through and work out, so here's a quick run of the highlights of December.

The day before Christmas Eve, I went to Poulsbo and picked up a little Christmas gift to me - a new pair of cuffs! They are nice and warm and allow me to still use my fingers (something I hate about gloves). They are locally made and super comfortable. I had lots of fun going wine shopping to prepare for the parties ahead!

Christmas Day
My Sailor left on a deployment, but we were lucky enough to have him back for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. He was running off of about 3 hours of sleep on Christmas Eve, but was a real trooper! My family flew in and we did dinner in Gig Habor (at the never-disappointing Green House) and we saw Jack Reacher at the local theater there. Good movie, good food, good wine, good times...

Christmas Day we went on a crazy cleaning spree and then had my family over for brunch, presents, Die Hard (my brother's Christmas movie tradition), and dinner. A good time was had by all. One funny thing happened though - it snowed (I mean blowing, heavy snow) within a mile of my house any direction, but not actually AT my house. Go figure! But I'm still counting it as my first White Christmas.

The day after Christmas, My Sailor had to work so I got up before the sun with him to start working, and then joined my family for some Seattle time. We went to Pike's Market, The Space Needle, the EMP, and took a stroll through Pioneer Square. It was a fun day.

Me and the family in Pike's Market

A creature from Constantine at the EMP's "Can't Look Away" horror movie exhibition.
 The next day, my family had to head home and, you guessed it, My Sailor was still working, so I joined them for a tour of the Suquamish muesum and we went on a hunt to find the grave of Cheif Seattle - the man the city was named after. It was a beautiful experience that reminded me just how lost America feels now. In this time of industry and technology, we're only starting to get back to the reality of how connected we all are to everything else. It's as if we lose sight of that with all of our conviences and ideals of superiority. (Says the blogger, typing away on her Acer in a Panera in the middle of the city...Yes, I'm aware of the irony and hypocracy...)

Another highlight this month - I got 1 day in Southern CA to visit Disneyland with my nursing friend! It was a great day, and a funny tradition that we didn't mean to start. Having such wonderful traditions for myself and for my friends make up for what we've yet to develop in our little family here.  It was also really great to see Carsland and Buena Vista street all lit up for the holidays.
December 2012

Toontown, 2012
As the year is about to end, I'm a little sad to see it go. So much happened and there is still a lot I want to accomplish next year. And, of course, there is always the dreaded deployments breathing down my neck, but that just means I have to throw some real effort in moving forward.

Hope you all had an amazing holiday!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Deployment Self-Check-In

Emotional: Pretty good. I miss him like mad lately, but time is FLYING and I'm keeping very busy.

Physical: Good! Tired due to working some really crazy hours, but overall liking the weight loss that's happening (yeah for my good friend Medifast to get me kick started!)

Communication: Limited, but that's to be expected. I know he opened his best goodie! I got him a compass, monogramed w/ his initials and a special message from me on the back. Not sure how I'm going to beat that next deployment. 

What's something fun you did this week: Wine at MorMor and Red Dawn w/ the roomie and some fellow shipmates, tied w/ taking a couple youngsters to check out some Christmas lights.

 What are you looking forward to next week: Baking cookies tomorrow night. Shipping out said cookies the next day, and getting an awesome week of work in. Time should REALLY fly next week with all I have planned!

What made you happy : Getting an email with a wonderful poem in it and a pretty Christmas Bouquet from him! :)  Way to go Hubby! Also got some news about Dad's condition. He's feeling great, but his tumor has grown a little bit, so they are looking into some pinpoint radiation next. And I cleaned out and organized the hubby's closet, and I got some awesome girl-time in w/ Digi's Mom in Disneyland no less! Last week was a crazy, good week.

What made you sad/mad this week: Listening to The Christmas Shoes song made me cry a little bit... and then the whole CT shooting really shocked me. Now, for some reason, Little Drummer Boy gets to me a bit too.

What do you miss this week: My Sailor''s kisses and hugs especially.

How has the dog's weeks been this week: They've been good. Clydas has been great with all the craziness and changes, but he always is. Odin has had a couple accidents in the house while I'm gone, so I'm still working w/ him on his potty training and anxiety. But all in all, everyone is well.

Favorite song/show/movie of the moment: 666 Park Avenue (I can't BELIEVE they are canceling you!), 'Baby, It's Cold Outside" - cute song! (Too bad it kinda sounds like it's about date rape...)

Pictures from home:


Sunday, December 9, 2012

More than saying 'It'll be Okay'

Each deployment is different and has its own unique challenges and emotions. I'm not talking about the different "every day" situations that crop up - like 'How will I get a tire changed?" or "Who will take out the trash?" But things that are a bit, well, different.

We've been through a deployment already, and our long distance communication skills were getting a little rusty. So this is a great chance go give those creative juices a work out.

At some point, ya just gotta break down to the usual "I love you's", "I miss you", "It's going to be okay", and "I can't wait for you come home." Most of my messages involve the kind of talk most couples do over the dinner table. I tell him about my day, my plans, the dogs, work, the weather. I don't sleep on a pillow that still smells like him - I'm a big believer in clean sheets. But I have been known to sport some Navy sweat pants around the house.

Thankfully, I have a few 'regular haunts' this time. When I couldn't work yesterday, I took a new fantasy book to a local wine bar and sat down to a couple glasses of my favorite red. Afterwards, I met my roommate and some of My Sailor's fellow shipmates at a movie before heading home again and getting caught up on An American Horror Story via Netflix.

All in all, I'm pretty good at keeping myself entertained.

Afterall, my husband is fighting for our way of life - to enjoy a glass of wine at a bar with minial regulation. To go see a movie about just about whatever we want, with just about who ever we choose... The honorable thing to do is to live my life while he's gone. Even if that means a part of me is under the sea with him.

But then again, that's love for ya.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Warming up for Winter!

It's hard to believe 2012 is nearly over. It's been an incredibly eventful year, equally good and bad. Lately, a lot of hard work has filled our time. I will work out regularly via running and Zumba. I plan to register for a Run Disney event next year! Just haven't narrowed down which one and when. Once that's done I'll have to budget for it and do (to quote Meet the Robinsons) "Keep Moving Forward!"

So what are the latest and greatest this holiday season?

Odin Playing Polar Bear
I'm looking forward to a decorating our house for Christmas! I've gotten a few decorations up - and will be posting a little OneTrueMedia goodie of some fun local goings on that I explore. This past weekend, I went to explore the Poulsbo JuleFest (Click here for pictures) with a fellow Navy family. It's rare that I come home from a trip to Downtown Poulsbo without a cookie from the local bakery.  Instead, I came home with an awesome Scandanavian cookbook that benefits the local Son's of Norway group. It's going to make cookie-baking this year deliciously fabulous. I won't be doing a lot of eating of said cookies though - I have a goal to lose 20lbs by my birthday, so that gives me about 6 weeks of staying on target!

 But back to decorating - going from an 800 sq foot apartment, to a 2000 sq foot house makes decorating on a budget a bit of a challenge. But it's a fun challenge! I've added that as much as possible of our Christmas must be LOCAL. Small town economy could really use a boost.I know we'll accumulate decorations over the years, just like my family did, so I'm in no screaming rush to buy a bunch of junk just to populate the still-bare walls.  I am pretty excited to note that all of my decorations for the staircase came from the local Goodwill store! They were new, and would have cost something like $100 at the local Target. I got the whole sh-bang for $15 and I was able to toss in some much needed kitchen utensils.

Our Christmas Day plans include the best showing of The Hobbit we can find! And, of course, all the other Christmas nice-ities, like a nice meal, some Christmas music, and some tree trimming time.  I don't know how much time My Sailor will have to enjoy the Holidays this year, but any time at all beats last year!

Now, to see what this weekend has in store...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Controvertial Evolution of a Military Wife

I am not a "dig it" girl. (For those not in the military, I'm not a girl that wears something Navy every day, and decks out my house in Navy, military, and submarine stuff. Sure, I'll wear the odd Navy thing - usually when I haven't seen my husband in a while.) But I am finding that my outlook on being a Navy wife has changed.

When I lived in San Diego, I would read the paper everyday. (Yes, I'm old fashioned. I enjoy getting the paper.) And just about every day I'd see a horror story of some Marine who didn't make it home in the same condition that he left. Photos of caskets with American Flags on them didn't bring the instant punch to the gut they do now, but I still said, "Thank God You're not a Marine," to My Sailor every day.

I was told about a week ago that my 2nd cousin signed up for the Marines. Reactions ranged from shock to, "Oh, no!" My entire extended family looked at me. My reaction was somewhere between, "Well, hopefully he's out to break the stereotype we hear about Marines. He picked a tough row to hoe.  Maybe the discipline is what he needs to get his life on track. They will make sure he lives clean or he'll lose his job.  Maybe it'll be good for him."I couldn't help biting my tongue a bit as, before long, the conversation turned to, "Why couldn't he have joined one of the OTHER branches?" and the inevitable, "Why couldn't he have joined the Air Force or become a Submariner like 'My Sailor'? That's so much safer."

I didn't expect it, but quickly found that I was no longer able to bite my tonuge. I found my ire raising as I launched into an explanation of the dangers of a submariner's life to my family. Using My Sailor's words, I explained how these guys are in a boat that is 'designed to sink'.

If you really take a moment to sit with that, you realize what that means. It means that, if there is a problem the crew has to be incredibly highly trained on how to fix it because there is no where to run and RARELY is "abandon ship" an option. Have you ever heard of a successful sub evacuation?  On a Sub, there is no place to go from trouble. The whole point is to run silent and run deep. So if someone needs immediate major surgery, they are basically screwed unless there happens to be some surface fleet or port nearby. Human interaction is confined to the 100-some sailors you got on board with and live in tiny tight quarters with. Sailors walk over 10 miles a day and the scenery never changes. Not even a sunrise or a sunset. They walk on STEEL, and swinging through entry ways, climbing ladders to get around. Most submariner's suffer from knee and back pain by the time they retire or complete a contract.

Yes, it's not on the front lines where bullets are flying by. It's under the sea where a high pressure hose leak can dismember a passing Sailor. Where an accident by a few crew members having a bad day or slacking off can quickly become a life or death situation for the crew.

These are all the things that linger in the back of every Submariner's family member who is counting on their loved one to come home. There are no news reports from where these guys are going to show where their unit is or how they are doing. The whole operation depends on us (loved ones and others) NOT knowing what is going on. I can tell you from experience, ignorance is just ignorance - not bliss.

We Sub Spouses don't worry so much about the stuff you see on the news. We worry about the stuff you don't see, because those are the threats our Sailors are defending this country against.

Honestly, I was (and am) surprised. No one seems to want a loved one in the military. Part of that mentality quietly infuriates me. It feels like it belittles those who have and do continue to serve. Not everyone does it because they love their jobs or feel like 'heros'. Many do it because they want to do something bigger with their lives. Some are willing to risk their lives for the 'perks'. Many are serving as a means to an end for their education. NONE of them are serving for the money - if we paid our military folks even minimum wage for all the hours they work, every state would be bankrupt.

 I understand being afraid for your loved one while they are serving. Being afraid that, on a personal level, they'll be changed, and on a physical/psychological level, they'll be wounded. Trust me, I know that very well. I knew My Sailor before he was a Sailor and, yes, it's changed him. In big and small ways. In ways he probably doesn't even realize. But most of those ways are positive. For those that struggle with a direction, they are given a deeper purpose and a 'thank you' that you just don't get from doing any other job in this country.

 But, until I was married to the military, I never really understood what those flags on caskets ment. Now, they are an immediate reality check - and I pray I never fully comprehend the wake that echos out from beneath those flags...

They are now my worst nightmare. They are every military family's worst nightmare.

 Now, if you read my blog, you know I'm a pretty tough cookie. Sure I have a nuggety-gooey center, but I'm not easily scared or shaken. I'll admit - I thought I knew what hard was when I was considering all this. Being away from someone you love for MONTHS at a time, with little to no contact (no phones, skype, mail, just the occasional something-like-email that is read by a radio man to ensure security and may be censored or ended at any time, and is far from immedate), not knowing where they are, how they are doing, and trusting in his crew mates that I don't know to get him home safely, oh, and let's add trying to adopt in the middle of all of that -  That's hard.

But those are only the 'little' thoughts in the back of my mind.

 While I understand fully that they are distinct possibilities, I choose to focus on the time we do have together, rather than what we miss. We may not get holidays or birthdays together, but we get something unique and beautiful together.

The beauty that is a homecoming.

It's that winning-home-run-job-well-done feeling that just can't be beat.

Odds are, you'll never see a Submarine homecoming in your lifetime. These guys don't get the fan-fare of the big ships that pull into port. If their comings and goings go un-noticed, that means that everyone has done their job. The dangers we American's never see? We have these guys to thank for that.

But sometimes the attitude towards the military reminds me of a spoiled child. We want the outcome, but we don't want to be connected to it any closer than the TV screen brings us. We want the freedom, but we want 'someone else' to do the work.

The cost for our way of life here in the USA is high. There is no doubt of that and those who are serving in our military know it better than any of us - even us wives.

 But is it a job only left for those who don't have a family to object or worry? Is it only for those who struggle in the 'real world' and need the structure the military provides to grow? Is it for people with a legacy of family service and an 'obligation' to follow in a parent's footsteps? Is it a job intended only for orphans or those unable to maintain 'normal' human relationships?


Is it our responsibility to support those who choose to go to battle whatever their reasons?  Is there a more noble cause than laying down your life not just for 'your brother', but for people you've never even met? That's what every member of our military does every day - from a deck swab to an enlisted Army man, from an officer to an airman, and every single person in between.

I hope that someday our gut reaction to someone joining the military is more, "Awesome! I'll write you every day!" rather than one of "Oh no! Why?!"

Friday, November 23, 2012

Goats that go Baa - Happy Thanksgiving!

My Sailor and I are no good at Thanksgiving. Oh, we have the spirit, that's for sure. We do all the important things - like connect with family and revel in some gratitude. But we aren't very good at the food part.

On our first Thanksgiving together, I had flown from the west coast to the east coast to see him. He'd made arrangements to get dinner once I arrived, around 9:00pm in the sleepy little town. Well, the place he'd chosen decided to close their kitchen early, and by this time, I was just STARVING, so I figured we'd just stop at a gas station and grab something.

Ramen noodles it was! So we spent that Thanksgiving eating Ramen and watching Aladdin in my hotel room.

And yea know what? I didn't mind one bit. It was great.

The next year, we skipped it all together since he was deployed.

This year, we're married, living in our own first house, and don't have kids (yet). Sounds like we should be able to get it right this time, right?

You couldn't be more delightfully mistaken.

Due to our full working schedules, I didn't have a chance to go Thanksgiving Meal shopping until about 8pm the night before Thanksgiving. All the turkeys were frozen and, since it's an average of 50 degrees in the house, there was no way I could thaw out a bird in time. Not to mention we'd have to buy a roaster and all that jazz. So I bought a few turkey breasts, knowing that we had lamb at home instead if we wanted to change things up. (I have a killer lamb roast w/ gravy recipe.) I grabbed a few traditional side dishes, and went home.

The next morning, My Sailor came in around 10am (his shift started at 6am the previous morning). Needless to say, he was exhausted.

So it turned out we decided to do the lamb roast instead. My Sailor had just gotten off a 24+ hour shift that morning, so we just laid low, caught up on some TV (hulu) and got some much needed cuddle time.

But there was a problem...
Well, a couple problems.

First of all, do you ever notice that your meat thermometer is broken when you need it the most? I swear it only gets used about 3 times a year, but it's broken. It said the meet was barely 130 degrees, and it was DONE. Go figure!

Once I sliced up the meat, I realized something wasn't right about this local lamb we'd bought at a farmstand... The main problem was that, well, it wasn't lamb.

It was goat.

So instead of a delicious lamb roast, we had an okay goat roast with veggies.

And instead of pie crust, I accidently bought cresent roll dough. So instead of pumpkin pie for desert, we had homemade almond filled cresent rolls. Ya know what? They were actually DELICIOUS!

Well - the wine was great. The Cheese was Great. The Crackers were yummy, and I couldn't have asked for better company than just the 2 dogs and My Sailor.

While we've yet to get the turkey part right, I think we got the Thanksgiving Part right.

(Oh - We had Ramen Noodles for lunch, in honor of our first Thanksgiving together.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Nostalgia and Missing a little Magic

So what's been happening?

A bit of normalcy, believe it or not.

I know! I was surprised too!

But the night shifts are back haunting both of us. Mine include 12 hour days before I head home for an early Thanksgiving weekend with my family. It'll be a quick trip to Southern California. Sometimes, rarely, I do miss our dating days, when we could make time to drop off and pick up each other from the airport. Truth be told, I've only driven to the airport once. Every other time, I've gotten up a few hours early to ride in the bumpy, packed shuttle from our little town to the airport. While the shuttle makes a lot of sense (don't have to pay for parking) it would be really nice if he could see me off at the airport. But I'm lucky that I don't HAVE to take a plane to spend time w/ My Sailor anymore. It's kind of a silly thing to miss, but I'm feeling nostalgic of late (and I can't help envying that extra hour or two of sleep I could get if I didn't have to get up extra early to make the shuttle). I'm a girl. It's my job to miss the crazy little things here and there.

This weekend was full of lots of little things that were great though. We spent Saturday night with a linner out (lunch/dinner), followed by participating in the ArtWalk in Downtown Poulsbo (highly recommend!), a drink at my favorite local wine spot, ice cream at Mora, and a few rounds of pool. It was a great way to spend a Saturday night since the day was filled with chores me than anything else. Sunday was an "in" day. I worked, My Sailor played some SWTOR and we polished off the evening working on a puzzle and goofing off. It was a pretty much a great time. I wish we could have more weekends like this, but as the holidays amp up, so do our schedules.

But lately I've found myself longing for a life I don't quite see...yet. I can see we're on the path, but sometimes My Sailor and I meet in different places. For example, I see this childless time as a time to go adventuring - to do one last Disney World Trip as just a couple, with no friends and family en tow. Do a little dreaming together. Our lives are so busy, we don't make much time for dreaming together lately. This weekend was such a great reminder of how powerful and awesome that is. Balancing our limited time off with his needs, my needs, and our needs is challenging sometimes. It's just a growing pain, I know. 

But Military living teaches you very much to live in the moment. Though the planner in me wants to set plans for next year for 'us'. In fact, I probably will be making some plans, and if he can be a part of them, great! If he can't then that's just fine too. He's not a planner (so I'm learning). He's not the type of guy to make sure I have flowers on my birthday while he's away or a gift to mark an important day while he's gone. He had the best intentions to be, but life gets in the way. I've discovered that too - with our busy lives I've barely had time to work on my usual love letters and gags for his sea bag! It's a challenge!  We may not be able to make plans far out, but we have moments...

And the moments are certainly nice.

And I'm sure the holidays will have a little extra magic this year.

I can't wait to set up our first Christmas Tree together, decorate our first house together, bake cookies and finish sending out care packages and Christmas cards...

I guess I could just use a little injection of magic lately. I'm at my worst when I feel like I'm just treading water, rather than making progress. And the only way to make progress is to set a goal and go for it all out.

After all, without a destination in mind, how do you know where you're going?

My destination next year?  A RunDisney Marathon. Not sure which yet, but I am sure that it's going to happen. At the very LEAST a trip to Disney World during the holiday season is in my future plans whether it's with gal pals, My Sailor, or flying solo. It's been a few years (next year will actually mark 4 years since) and sometimes a girl just has to get her fix. Some women need shopping. Others need shoes. For me, it's Disney.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wedding pictures are in!

"You've got a little powdered sugar right... there!"
Just a teaser, more coming!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Leavenworth Oktoberfest - Part 2 of 2

The view from the reading chair. Morning clouds.
I know you're all expecting a Halloween post, and I'm sure I'll get to one round about midnight. But I wanted to wrap this up while I await all the great wedding stuff so I can finally finish that months-old recap (and I will! Eventually!).

So let me lay this out while it's (relatively) fresh.

The next morning, I was the first one up. (I was also the last one to sleep the night before - lack of beer and a writing deadline will do that to a DD. I spent that time in the morning enjoying the quiet and the early morning view. I curled up with the book I'm currently reading (Blackout by Mira Grant) a hot drink, and a piece of toast as clouds started to clear from the valley. I turned on some quiet Josh Groban music on my iHome I brought along and kept the volume very low, so as not to disturb my housemates. The pages turned, the characters went on their zombie-killing way (it's a post-apocolyptic novel) and the morning felt nearly perfect.

And then My Sailor woke up and joined me, taking over the camera for a bit...

Caught relaxing

And making it decidedly more difficult to read.

Did someone say hot chocolate?
Our friends were right on his heels and very soon we were into making breakfast sandwiches. Now, I'm not usually one for breakfast sandwiches or breakfast burritos. I'm pretty particular about my breakfast foods, but these really good! Since My Sailor cooked the day before, the other couple took over most of the cooking duties this time around. And everything was delicious.

While our friends were getting ready for the day, My Sailor took a few "ghostly" photos using the reflections in the windows.

I'll admit it. This one took me a little post production.

Once we headed out, we spent the afternoon in Leavenworth's downtown. Strolling in and out of shops, the biggest hits were:
 The Oil and Vinegar shop where we strolled around a cellar shop tasting different light and dark basalmic vinegars infused with different things like figs, cherries, lavender, lemon, ginger and other goodies. They also carried infused olive oils. We ended up bringing home a delicious white basalmic vinegar, a cherry balamic aged 18 years, and a tunsian olive oil. (Homemade salads are now something we look forward to since we've turned these finds into some amazing home made salad dressings!)
 The Cured meat shop where My Sailor picked up some delicious locally made sausages and I picked up some locally made honey cremes. Tastings are a wonderful thing!
  The shops were all bustling and I can't wait to see Leavenworth during the Holidays sometime! I'm sure it'll be even more magical all lit up with snow on the buildings... Though this was so much fun, it might just become a new tradition!
 That's one thing I can say for Washington - there are no shortage of seasonal festivals here! Most towns don't have movie theaters with stadium seating (like I grew accustomed to in California), but there is a real warmth and charm here that seems to be missing from the big cities. (And trust me, when our home town has under 10,000 people in it, Escondido, California looks like a big city.)

I'll sum up the ride home with this montage. My Sailor took lots of amazing photos! Please enjoy! (He'd love to read your comments - hint hint.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oktoberfest 2012- Leavenworth (1 of 2)

This year, My Sailor and I headed up to a famous Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington.  (For those not 'in the know', Leavenworth is a small Bavarian village, similar to the Solvang vibe of California - only German culture is honored here more than Dutch culture.) The drive was a harrowing evening through the mountains. Between the construction (blasting they are doing to widen the 2 lane highway) the new light rain, and the darkness of night, the white knuckle 4 hour drive was an adventure in and of itself! My Sailor drove nearly all of the way up, and I drove nearly all of the way back.
 One the drive up, we learned the cabin we'd booked with friends for the weekend had been double booked. Oops. Leavenworth is incredibly busy during Oktoberfest weekends, so we were relieved when our hosts found us a comparable place to stay.

Instead of a luxury cabin, we expected to stay at, we ended up staying at a large house with an amazing view, huge kitchen and great living space. Sure, we didn't have a hot tub, the area was far too dry to enjoy a fire even in the fireplace, and - to be honest - it wasn't quite the romantic evening yours truly had in mind, but it was a stunning retreat. It immediately had me thinking that it would be a perfect writing retreat. A girl could get happily lost in 35 acres of forest and a 7000 square foot log mansion cabin with a mountain vista waiting to be whisper in my ears and fill my pages with their enchanting adventures. But I digress...
   We checked in around 9 pm pretty much exhausted from our drive in. After a quick trip to a nearby store, we opted to enjoy some wine and chocolate before crawling into bed.
  Later that night, our friends arrived (another married couple My Salior and I have befriended through his boat) and we helped them find the way and come in. Once we were all moved in and comfortable, we went to bed because we had a big day coming up.

View from/of the living room/reading area. Who needs a TV with a view like this?

  We woke up the next morning, made a relaxing breakfast (with eggs provided from the hosts' own hens) and we relaxed for a bit before heading out to explore downtown Leavenworth and enjoy the Oktoberfest festivities. We all took some time to soak in our beautiful surroundings. Thankfully, the weather cooperated all weekend!

Oktoberfest is free to military and their immediate dependents, so yours truly was a very cheap date, since I ensured everyone got back to our cabin safe and sound.

  The men relaxed with some steins of beer. I was the designated driver, but still had a great time. The music was fun. The people watching was very entertaining, and the booths were typical festival fare - only much of it had a beer or Bavarian twist.  I'll let our pictures tell that story.

The guys w/ their first beers of the day. Each Stein holds about 2 beers.

One of the bands

Gotta love Polka. The only type of music where a tuba can solo!

Finishing the beers...

While joining in to a few German Drinking Songs.

What happens when you give men w/ beers a camera.
He makes this look easy!

Shouting over the music
Seeing over the table. lol
Aw... Party's over...

Look what almost came home from the Christmas shop!
We headed out to dinner, explored a few shops (the Christmas Shop being my favorite) before heading back to the Cabin. I'll save our other adventures for my next blog.
Preview of Part 2 - Downtown Leavenworth and the long road home

Just outside of Oktoberfest - minus 1, the photographer and my fellow Navy sub wife.

What's a Designated Driver to do?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Labra The Friendly Ghost!

October 7th we went to Java & Clay Cafe in Gig Harbor for a different kind of date. You see, I get tired of going to the movies VERY quickly... or maybe its just my natural frugality creeping in, but if it's not something that needs a 'big screen' to be enjoyed, I'm just as happy waiting and renting it. For me, that keeps 'the theater' special, rather than an everyday thing. Not to mention, with the price of movies, who can afford to blow money on a bad movie?

Anyway, I'd been really wanting to try one of these for a while, and as soon as I found out that they had some seasonal goodies coming out, I knew we HAD to make this happen. After all, we don't really have any fall decor for the house yet.

My Sailor opted to paint a mug to show off his Star Wars fandom. I opted to pain this ghostly little candle stick holder. We don't have a candle stick holder yet, and I thought this would be hauntingly perfect for a candle lit dinner (which might actually stand a chance at happening now that our roomie is out "Finding Nemo").  I opted to make him lightly silver, using a light blue for shading in the joints, black for eyes, a light purple for the tongue, and orange pumpkins (of course). The pumpkins have light brown streaks to give them a but more depth, and some green tendrils coming off of them (because yours truly is incapable of drawing a pumpkin leaf free hand).

One of the candles sits a little funny, so I'll have to get some puddy to fill the arms and make it settle a little, but it's a really fun, great memory. We were both very happy with our creations, and, honestly, it didn't cost much more than a trip to the movies w/ snacks would have cost.

Sometimes you have to think out of the box when it comes to date ideas. I'm sure we'll be back again to paint some Christmas goodies as well.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meet Odin - Our new couch! Er... Dog!

 If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you know about my amazing Bootie Brindle Boxer Boy, Clydas. He's been a great companion over the last 8 years of his (and my) life. In fact, in so many ways, we've rescued each other. When I was at my lowest, having Clydas in my life helped me get up some mornings. When I got complacent, he begged me for a walk, and sometimes that's all I needed to pull out of my rut. When I couldn't laugh, he found it through his antics and always brought back my smile on a daily basis. When I needed a foot warmer, he was always more than happy to curl up on my feet and guard my dreams. During my swingin' single days, my friends often joked that Clydas was the most stable man in my life - which always made me laugh (even if ironically). I never anticipated, when Clydas came into my life, that he'd be capable of feedings the human spirit in such a unique way. Yes, I grew up with dogs, but Clydas is MY DOG. My first dog. And sometimes that means everything.
Now, Odin came into my life in a different way all together. Instead of a pet store or a breeder, Odin is a Humane Society rescue. A pure bred Great Pyrenese, it was very unusual to see one of these turn up in a shelter. He's about 1 1/2 years old with a very friendly disposition. The Humane Society worked with him to get him obedience trained (he's great with all the basic commands) and he's already been fixed and well vaccinated. So why was such an amazing boy surrendered? Well, according to his previous owners, he grew up on a farm and couldn't be trusted alone with the chickens. (Apparently he chased them until he was told to stop, which is probably a mild way of saying Odin likes his chicken raw.)

The Great Pyrenese has never been on my "must raise" list of dog breeds. (Oh yes, in case you were wondering, there IS a list!) But he fit the bill in that he is a large breed. At 75lbs, he'll probably fill out to a good 85-90lbs by the time he's done bulking up.  He actually doesn't eat much more than Clydas, due to their slow metabolism and he LOVES kids. I mean seriously... He nearly let a 3 year old poke him the eye TWICE! (He didn't snap or anything. We adults caught the culprit just in the nick of time.)

So now Clydas has a buddy! A buddy who is already pretty well behaved, is housebroken, obeys commands, doesn't chew on anything he isn't supposed to, and is already "fixed".

But Odin isn't perfect.

We woke up Sunday and bloody mucus all over the floor of the bedroom. Poor guy either had an allergy or a sinus infection so bad, he was sneezing so hard it was bloody! He's getting better by the day (after a visit to the vet and much pill cramming). So we have to clean the carpet.

Oh yeah - and he sheds - A LOT! This is the mild season as I'm vaccuming twice a day just so I can see the color of my dining room rug. I'm far from a neat freak, but I'm pretty "anti-dog-smell" when it comes to the house. I own dogs. I don't need to smell like 'em.

So there is your into to our new troublemaker - Odin!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Wedding Week Recap - DCA Day And Sip N' Snack

Friday morning came around bright and early! I decided we should We opted to take advantage of Early Morning Magic Hours and we joined our fellow resorts guests in Disney California Adventure. My first few steps onto DCA's new Buena Vista Street were magical. I'd written about it before, but I couldn't believe just how well Disney have captured LA as it should appear in any Noir style film (only cleaner and safer). We couldn't spend much time there though. We were on a mission!

And our mission led us straight into Carsland.

The recreation of the (fictional) town of Radiator Springs was astounding. We headed straight toward their landmark attraction - Radiator Springs Racers. Even at the break of dawn, the wait was still about 45 minutes and growing longer with every second that ticked by. We ducked in line, determined to wait it out and ride the newest landmark attraction.

And it was well worth the wait. Radiator Springs Racers lived up all every bit of hype and then some. After we got off, the ride opened to the public. The mob that walked in was immediately greeted by the guiding hands of Disney Cast Members, and the waving mirrors of the Firetruck from Cars (who was parked near the entrance to the ride).

We avoided the crowd and opted for grabbing Breakfast at Flo's V8 Cafe - which was delicious! It was only about 8am and they were already giving away pre-made cups of ice water. Guests didn't even have to ask for them - Cast Members just walked up and offered. Everyone knew it was going to be a scorcher of a day already.

Can you guess who had what for breakfast?

Strawberry yogurt, seasonal fruit, blueberry muffin

French Toast Brioche, Carmel Sauce, and Banana

After breakfast, we capped off our morning in DCA with a stroll through to see all the updates and refurbs from the stages for the Mad T Party, soaking in the beautiful Buena Vista Street. We zipped into the other headliner attractions while most of the guests were riding (or waiting to ride) Radiator Springs Racers - The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Ariel's UnderSea Adventure, and a bit of the friendliest form of competition on Toy Story Midways Mania.

Meow! I won!

Afterwards, we went back to the hotel to get some rest. My Sailor took a nap while I spent some quality time catching some rays by the Disneyland Hotel pool. I've actually never been to the Disneyland Hotel Pool before, so it was really great to relax and spend some time there. (As you can imagine, it's pretty rare that I get to do something "new" in Disneyland, so this was a whole day of "new" that I absolutely adored.)

After a bit of down time in the heat of the day, we headed over to Trader Sam's for a Sip n' Snack and to join WTTM's Meet of the Month!  It was great to see Paul and Tairy again, and a couple of our friends joined us as well.

Sharing an Ah Ho Ah with friends at Trader Sam's

Afterwards, My Sailor headed off to his bachelor party (no pictures of that one) and I headed to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner (which turned out to be FREE because of our loyalty points we earned by dining there with friends and family - thanks all for bringing cash so we could sock away those points!).

After My Sailor left and all was quiet, I realized that I had an evening free. Now, I'll relay this experience as honestly, openly, and accurately as I can.

As you know, most of my bridesmaids aren't kids anymore. In fact, short of my 8 year old little sister, none of them were kids at all. To be more accurate, 4 out of the 5 of them over 21 have kids of their own. So expecting them to all travel to Anaheim, get sitters, and take me out for a night in the Parks or something was simply an unfair, unrealistic expectation I didn't have.  Our wedding didn't have a lot of exterior events. We didn't have an engagement party, bridal shower, or house warming. So having a Hen Night (also known as a Bachelorette party),

Hen Night
So when most of the men in the wedding party headed out for a night of drinking and card playing, I knew that odds are I'd have the evening to myself. Initially, part of me felt that rush of "Oh my god. Did I really fly to Disneyland to be ALONE?! I get this at home all the time!" But after taking a deep breath, I realized that, ya know, the world DOESN'T revolve around me. And I had a choice. I could tap into everything I love about Disneyland and show myself an amazing time, or I could have a pity party. Afterall, I spent many years flying solo at Disneyland. It had just been a while and I was a little out of practice.

So soon after My Sailor left, I headed into DCA. I'd never been to the Mad T Party, so I headed that direction. I was a fan of ElecTRONica and was sad to see it go. I had my doubts about how awesome the Mad T Party would be. My doubts were misplaced. It was a GREAT time. The bands and dancers were great! After that, I grabbed a couple goodies at a new bakery on Disneyland's Main Street.- The Jolly Holiday Bakery.(I wish I would have taken more photos or videos of my night. )  I capped off the evening in the parks with Fantasmic (from a prime viewing spot - which is so much easier to land when you're alone... and 5'9").  After that, I went back to the room. I turned on the TV and finished painting my nails.

I got a call around midnight that my Matron of Honor and her family just checked into their hotel, and another that our officiant and his wife made it safely to their hotel after lots of travel delays. I wasn't expecting My Sailor back until the next morning, so I tucked myself in and got some rest before the great Character Breakfast with the Matron of Honor's family in the morning.