June 24, 2009

PERMANENT PUPPY

When we dropped Charlie off at the boarder a week ago, the lady squealed and asked how old he is.  "Wait, you mean he's not a puppy?  You mean he's going to look like this forever?" she exclaimed.  Apparently everyone all week kept asking about the cute golden "puppy," which has prompted my husband to riff off of CVG and keep saying our dog is Permanent Puppy.

They told us another story when we picked Charlie up that keeps making me smile.  Charlie is deathly afraid of water.  He hates it and won't go near it.  The boarder put out plastic kiddie pools for the dogs to frolic in, and apparently Charlie desperately wanted to play with the other dogs but was immobilized by his fear of water.  She said he would just run in circles around the plastic pool while all the other dogs were in it in the water.  So they came up with a solution: they got another plastic pool and set it up beside the first...empty.  Apparently Charlie frolicked and played in an imaginary pool all week beside the other dogs.  Which really tickles me.

We're all back together again at home.  About two or three more weeks before the husband deploys...

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June 19, 2009

FEWER "BOOTY" JOKES, PLEASE

Oh good heavens, they tarted up the pirate show.

We saw the show six years ago when we were here, and it was clever: swashbuckling, cannon battles, proper action.  But then someone at Treasure Island thought, "You know what this pirate show needs?  Thongs."  And now, it's a Britney Spears video with a pirate theme.  Ugh.

However, it did end up being a good platform for some movie quote jokes.  My husband worked in the following:
"They're gonna love him up and turn him into a horny toad."
"That's not pirates, that's ass."
"Let me guess, he fixes the cable?"

Dear Treasure Island: The addition of skanky girls does not automatically improve every single thing in Las Vegas.  I'm just sayin'.

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June 18, 2009

UNKNOWN UNKNOWNS

There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know.

Rummy was right.  Last night I encountered an unknown unknown, something I did not know I had never seen because the thought never crossed my mind.  I didn't know what I was missing until I encountered it.

If you have never seen a contortionist pole dance, then you have no idea what you've never seen.

Zumanity was wicked cool.

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June 17, 2009

VEGAS FOOD UPDATE

We had the Bellagio buffet for lunch, which was quite good and which I preferred to the Paris one, I think.  (I vote Bellagio for food and Paris for dessert.)  They had some good curry duck and rack of lamb and stuff.  The highlights for me were the asparagus -- perfectly crisp; mine at home is always too mushy or too raw -- and the tiny cheesecakes for dessert.  Oh gosh were they good, and I am the type person who would normally choose seconds of the main course over desserts.

And afterwards in the bathroom, there was a girl puking.  Either she gorged herself, in which case I feel sorry for her, or she's a bulemic.  I had to think about that for a while: is Las Vegas a bulemic's dream or nightmare?  On the one hand, you get all these yummy foods before you barf, but on the other hand...you just paid twenty bucks to gag all that food up?  Weak.

We went to the gym this morning, so that totally counteracts the buffet, right?

Chuck Z suggests the Rio buffet.  Gourmet magazine recommends their seafood buffet as the best in Vegas, so it was on my list of potential things I want to spend $40 on.  I'm trying not to be a cheapskate and do one nice meal per day, and then cook something here or do something light for the opposite meal.  Tonight we will have a small dinner before heading to a saucy show.

It's hard for me to part with $75 each for show tickets, but I had a talk with myself this morning: In six months when my husband is gone, would we pay $150 to sit together in a dark room watching a sexy show?  Absolutely.  So why not do it now while we have the chance.

We're having fun.  Really, I don't need to spend money to have fun; I just like doing anything with my husband.  Sitting in the hot tub, being on the internet, riding on a movable sidewalk, all of these are even satisfying as long as he's here with me.  (And the movable sidewalk, that's one of the good parts of life!)

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UP LATE IN VEGAS (BUT FOR THE WRONG REASON)

Luggage was delivered last night at 3 AM.  And we had to get out of bed and go down to pay for it.  Guh.

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June 16, 2009

FLAN

Our bags still aren't here, so we went out and ate anyway.  We went to the buffet at the Paris hotel, and my goal was to eat things I don't make at home: duck, crab legs, salmon, etc.  But the true joy came at dessert time: mousse, creme brulee, crepes, and...flan.

Ah, flan.  Flan is apparently my version of Proust's madeleine.  It took me back twelve years to the halls of my school in France.  There was a vending machine that dispensed this delightful treat.

Yep, flan from a vending machine.  The French are so la-di-da.

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FORTUITIOUS OR SERENDIPITOUS

So today started out...um, well...bad.

We live 80 miles from the airport.  We allotted three hours for travel.  We missed our flight.

I have been in far harder rain storms, but apparently (we now know) flooding backed up traffic all over town.  It took us over an hour to go a few measly miles.  Thank heavens for Garmin; we eventually exited and took back roads to the airport.  I honestly thought there had been some sort of terrorist attack or evacuation, because the highways were a nightmare of traffic but there was not a car to be found on the roads in town.  It was eerie.

So we missed our flight, but luckily for us, the 6 AM flight had been delayed five hours.  Sucks to be its original passengers, but we lucked out and ran to the gate just in time.  We still managed to barely catch our original connecting flight, so we did some serious Mr T style recouping of our day.

And, without a dictionary, I wondered if the final turn of events had been fortuitous or serendipitous.  I think it's more the former, though I detect an element of the latter.

Unfortunately, we're out a good chunk of change in extra parking fees, since in our hurry to make the flight, we chose short-term over long-term.  And our bags didn't make the flight, so now we're sitting in the hotel waiting for them to be delivered.  For a $25 fee, of course.

But our hotel room is teh awesome, so score.  Full kitchen and everything.  (We're talkin' four burners and a full-size fridge, plus dining room table!)  And we overlook the Bellagio fountain and the Eiffel Tower.  So, sweet.

Come on, luggage.  Sarah wants to hit the buffet.

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June 15, 2009

LADY LUCK, PLEASE LET THE PENNY POKER STAY HOT

Both laptops are getting turned off and packed here in a few minutes...
We're off!


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OUR BABY'S ALL GROWS UP

Four years ago today, we brought little six-pound Charlie home to be our dog.

You can even see the green ink on his ear where he got tattooed.  (Oh, and don't think we didn't make lots of jokes about Germans and their fondness for tattooing barcodes on people...)

We dropped Charlie off tonight for his week at the boarder's.  He barely looked back at us as he ran off into the room filled with 32 other dogs for the week.  He is going to have the time of his life.

But five minutes after driving away, I said, "OK, I miss him already."  I was mostly kidding.  Mostly.

My husband says we'd better hurry up and have a kid, lest we turn into the Swans.

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INSOMNIAC

My husband hasn't been sleeping well lately.  He is overwhelmed by how much there still is to learn about Afghanistan.  He is keeping himself up at night worrying that he hasn't learned enough geography, culture, and history.  He invested five years of his life into learning Iraq, and now he's changing horses midstream.  He wants to make sure he's prepared for this new mission, and it's been on his mind constantly.

Today is our seventh wedding anniversary.  I joked, "You're becoming an insomniac like me!  See, it's true what they say about people turning into each other when they've been married for so long.  It only took you seven years."  He snorted and said, "But I don't want to be like you in this area!"  When asked what area he would like to be more like me in, he replied, "You know, how you're organized and remember birthdays and stuff."  Heh.

We're leaving tomorrow for block leave: a week in Las Vegas.  In addition to festivities and fun, we will be working on learning Pashto together.  Just another thing to shove in our suitcase...

Don't worry, we're such nerds that we chose our hotel based on who had free wifi.

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June 11, 2009

SEVEN YEARS

My husband has a summer birthday, so he was always the youngest in his class.  That also has made him the youngest in his year group in the Army, so he has always been the baby of the group.  At OBC, a prior-enlisted guardsman flipped out when he learned my husband was born in 1980: "I was pickin' up chicks in my Trans Am in 1980!"

But he's started to realize that he's been in the Army for seven years now.  And suddenly, he's older than most of the NCOs he works with.  He's not the baby anymore.

I took his team a homemade lunch today, and they gushed and thanked me and called me Mrs. and Ma'am.  And I realized that I'm no spring chick either: I am nine years older than the medic on his team.  I must seem like such an old lady to him.

On Monday, my husband and I have our seventh wedding anniversary.  We've known each other for almost ten years.

It feels good to be a grown up.  But it took me by surprise today.

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June 03, 2009

FOUR YEARS

I can't believe you've been gone for four years.  I miss your presence and voice on the internet as much now as I did the first day.

Mike Reed, Bunker Mulligan, one of my first and favorite imaginary friends...

I miss you.

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May 30, 2009

BOOK LIST II

Here are my short reviews for the next ten books I read for my George Bush 2009 Reading Challenge.  I got way behind on my reading when my mother visited, so I will really have to hustle later.  At this point, I am barely on track to beat Bush and clearly not able to beat Rove, but once my husband deploys, I think I can pick up the slack.  Previous books are included at the bottom.

MAY

20) How To Break a Terrorist  ("Matthew Alexander")
Meh.  That's really all I have to say about this book.

19) State of the Union  (Brad Thor)
AirForceWife introduced me to Brad Thor, and I mean that both figuratively and literally.  She and I went to his book signing, and since she already knew him from her SpouseBUZZ Radio interview, she and ol' Brad were like BFF.  I think he's in her five.  Anyway, my true desire is to read The Last Patriot, but I decided not to start at the end of the series, so I began at the beginning.  This was book three, which was as action-packed as the previous two, so now it's three more books until I can get to all the fatwa-goodness of The Last Patriot!

18) The Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
This book had been on the card for a long time, but David Boxenhorn finally prompted me to read it.  I found many fascinating new ways of looking at success.  The more statistics-heavy parts of the book were a tad rougher for me to grasp: seeing as I don't measure anything in my own daily life against the Gaussian bell curve, I had a hard time truly grokking the superiority of the Mandelbrotian.  But the first half of the book was definitely worth reading.  Although the implication -- that success is quite often due to dumb luck -- is disquieting.

17) Bonk (Mary Roach)
I have read several books in the past two years about sex and fertility in the hopes of learning something new that would give me one more piece of the puzzle as to why things weren't working out for us.  I thought this was just another book like the others I'd read, but it completely wasn't.  I loved this book.  It reminded me of Assassination Vacation (without the Bush derangement) or a Bill Bryson book, only about the history of sex.  It was laugh-out-loud funny in places.  If you like Bill Bryson, you'd like this book.

APRIL

16) Hard Green (Peter Huber)
This book contained some good examples of why the "green" movement isn't actually that much greener.  I will have to use some of them on my eco-friend.

15) Is Your Body Baby Friendly? (Alan E. Beer)
I started this right after the third miscarriage; it was a gift from CVG.  It freaked me out pretty bad: it's a book about the theory that most miscarriages are caused by your immune system, and since my mother has Lupus, I was convinced that this was my problem.  Turns out it wasn't, but the book was informative and worthwhile nonetheless.

MARCH

14) Survivor (Chuck Palahniuk)
I had heard that this book wasn't as good as his others, but I still liked it just as well.  (But I like everything: the third Matrix movie, The Lady In The Water, etc.  I am pretty easy to please is something is sufficiently weird.)  And I always love how Palahniuk describes minutia so vividly in the middle of big action, like the porn titles while Tender fights his brother or the details of the mobile homes while they're on the run.  He's so good at that.

13) I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell (Tucker Max)
This book had some funny moments, but I seriously think I am too old for it.  I am sure I would've thought it was funnier ten years ago.  And for me, the best parts were the parts where Tucker got his comeuppance.

12) Joseph McCarthy: Reexamining the Life and Legacy of America's Most Hated Senator (Arthur Herman)
I really knew very little about the details of what happened concerning Joseph McCarthy.  What I learned from this book was that "fake but accurate" didn't start with Bush's National Guard records.  The press lied and distorted everything he said and all the charges against him.  McCarthy was a blowhard and probably a very annoying man to be around.  But his accusations were never as sensational as they were made out to be, no one ever lost his job or went to jail based on McCarthy's investigations, and above all, he was mostly right.  The government was far too lax in its hiring and vetting processes.  There were Communists everywhere, hardcore and "soft."  McCarthy didn't deserve the bum rap he's been dealt by history.

11) The Reader (Bernhard Schlink)
For whatever reason, I thought this book was just kinda meh. I also have no idea how they turned it into a movie. And, despite the fact that I love the book Lolita, I found the story abhorrent and chilling. So, hmm.



Previous post: Books 1-10

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May 29, 2009

MY BEANS

This week has been so busy, and I've barely been online at all.  I have no idea what's been going on in the world.  Did we pass the Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog legislation yet?

I'm off again today to Hill Air Force Base in Utah for another SpouseBUZZ Live event.  It's another gulch convention, and I'm happy.

The lame part is that I return Sunday evening, while my husband leaves Sunday morning for another week of training.  We said goodbye today until the following Saturday.  It's his last week of pre-deployment training.  Shortly thereafter, we go on block leave, and pretty soon the next round of deployment starts.

I am slowly figuring out the whole IVF/PGD issue.  In a nutshell, my doctor told me too look into "probes."  He said to call the IVF clinic and they could explain it.  I called and they had no idea what he was talking about.  Typical, right?  The genetic counselor called and when I asked her what he meant, she just laughed.  She said, "Sure, I know what that means, but why on earth did your doctor to tell you to figure this out?  Isn't that his job?"  Sigh.  But I am finally figuring this out and trying to get our ducks in a row.

I know my problems don't amount to a hill of beans, but as Frank Drebin says, it's my hill and these are my beans.

And now AirForceWife is in my living room and I need to get moving to the airport!

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May 26, 2009

CHURCH SUITS

There's a junky strip mall I always pass on my way to work.  There used to be a shop in it called Church Suits, a name that always made me smile.  It was a tiny shop, one of the only ones still left in that strip, and I noticed recently that they too had closed down.  I chalked it up to the economy and was saddened to think that I would no longer get to smile over the idea of Church Suits.

As I drove to work today, I was embiggened to see that Church Suits had not in fact closed; instead, it had expanded!  They had apparently bought the bigger store next door to theirs and tripled in size.

And they changed their name: Sunday Best Suits.  Still smile-worthy.

I don't think this story is a metaphor for economic upturn or anything.  It just makes me happy to know that if one so desired, one could still fulfill all his church suit needs here in town.

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May 21, 2009

'TIS THE SEASON FOR AWESOME ACTION FILMS

I'm looking forward to seeing Terminator Salvation soon, despite the fact that Cracked is right: it doesn't make any sense.  I also loved their calling it "Terminator Salvation (aka Terminator With Batman and Transformers!)."  Heh.  Whatever, I am still watching it.

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May 12, 2009

VERIZON EVENT HORIZON

Whenever I start to get nervous about the danger of my husband's job, I remember that we've made a formal pact to die on the same day when we're old.  Neither one of us wants to live without the other, so shortly after we got married, we just decided we were going to die on the same day.  (The black hole idea is a more recent manifestation of this pact.)  I know it's basically the Team America "I promise I will never die" fallacy, but when the going gets rough, we find peace in the thought that we'll have our whole lives full of happiness and togetherness and then our matter will be crushed together into infinite density.

Last week, my cell phone died.  White screen of death and all.  I ordered a new battery, but it doesn't seem to want to hold a charge.

Last night, my husband called from training on a borrowed cell phone.  Seems his phone -- a different make and model -- also mysteriously died and won't hold a charge.

Apparently our cell phones also love each other so much that his couldn't live without mine either.  They didn't die on the same day, but it was close enough to make us think we put out some serious connected vibes.

And if my phone doesn't get itself charged up here soon, I may throw it into a black hole.

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May 11, 2009

SERVICE COMPLETED

Continuing in my streak of always hitting the smaller percentage, I was one of the group of potential jurors who were released early when they ended up starting fewer trials today than expected.  It was bittersweet: I am glad to have the rest of the week free and all to myself, but I was a little disappointed to not see the inner workings of the judicial system.

But I am severely glad that I didn't have to spend another minute stuck in a room with daytime television.  I know these shows have viewers, and I apologize if you are one of them, but I cannot stand the talk shows that pepper the day.  Moreover, I am just simply not a big fan of public TVs.  I was far happier for the first quiet hour with my book and knitting than I was when she turned on that danged TV.  If I had to hear any more Dr. Phil, I might've had to plead temporary insanity myself.

In other goofiness, since I get paid for a day as a juror and only was there for a short time, I will almost make as much today as I would've made for the same time at my real job.  Which is in itself a tad depressing.

But no time to be depressed: I have a whole week with nothing scheduled.  And I literally mean nothing.

It sounds heavenly.

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JURY DUTY

My husband left this morning for a week of training, and I have been summoned for jury duty.  I have no idea how the experience will turn out, but I just hope I'm done in five days.

More later.

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May 10, 2009

THE WEEKEND IN PICTURES

Charlie's best friend came to visit for the weekend.



AirForceDog showed up for wrasslin' and tomfoolery. He's got a few pounds and a lot more muscle on Charlie, so most fights end like this:



But Charlie gives as good as he gets. You can't imagine how disappointed I am that this photo isn't in focus:



It was a fun visit, but it made me content that we only have one dog.

We also sadly lost a pet this weekend. Our betta fish, honorifically named Bunker, passed away from old age. I had seen it coming for weeks now, and I'm glad I didn't have to help him along like I did my last fish.

He was a beautiful fish and his empty bowl makes me a little sad.



So it's Mother's Day, and it's been a little bitter for me to receive the blanket "Happy Mother's Day!"s that I have been getting at work this weekend. But I got an email today that made me feel better. It was from the de facto president of our knitting group, who is also childless.

Even if you have no children or grandchildren, to me, we are all mothers and grannies when we knit, crochet, quilt or sew our items to donate to preemies and babies.

Amen to that.

Plus, I have my own mother still, while others do not. I am grateful for that and am choosing to focus on that today.

I wrote cryptically about it when it happened, but my second miscarriage showed me what it means to be a mother.  My mother was right there in the bathroom with me, holding my hand, coaching me on, and even (close your eyes, squeamish people), reaching in to pull stubborn uterine lining out for me when I panicked.  She didn't ewww, she didn't rush to wash her hands, she just helped me and never made me feel like what I was having to go through was weird or gross.  It was amazing.  Either she would've had an excellent career as a nurse, or she was just being a mom.  No one else could've filled those shoes that day.  I got to see as an adult that I will always be her child and that she will always be there to help me.  And that mothers clean up bodily fluids for their kids whether they are 3 or 30.

I said I had a similar reaction when my father lent me his eyeglasses.  I have learned so much about parenting from my own parents in these recent years.  And every year, I just want to give my parents grandchildren on Mother's and Father's Day.

Happy Mother's Day, Mama.  I'm still working on getting you the biggest present of them all.

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