Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wedding Recap #4 - Rehearsal Dinner

Editor's Note: This will be my only wedding recap for today because I have exciting plans in Appleton for the remainder of the evening.  Tune in later tomorrow when I finally get to recapping the actual wedding!

Post practice wedding ceremony, we headed over to Tutto Pasta for the rehearsal dinner.  And so began my weekend of consuming large quantities of wine (more on that later...).  Highlights included:

~ Endless appetizers of mozzarella sticks, little pizzas, salad, and yummy soup, (all of which necessitated the groom and groomsmen doing deep breathing exercises for days beforehand in order to stuff as much food in as possible).

~ A beautiful atrium setting with little votive candles hanging from the ceiling.

~ Did I mention lots of wine?

~ A discussion with the 7 year old flowergirl:
Flowergirl: [pointing at the small boxes holding the gifts for the groomsmen] "What's that?"
Mugs: "Gifts for the boys who are in the wedding."
Flowergirl: "Oh.  Well what are they?"
Mugs: "I don't know.  What do you think would be a good gift for them?"
Flowergirl: [pause]  "Deodorant."

She's so wise :) (and practical!)

~ Awesome bridal party gifts!!  Sister found funky scented soaps for each of us girls, tailored to our habits (one girl got Sangria, I of course got Chardonnay...  apparently Sister thinks my main hobby is imbibing...).  The soaps are from a company called Hydra, and they also have floral, seasonal, and ice cream flavors!  We also got personalized gift cards to places that we would actually shop at (hooray for Paper Source!)

We filled up on pasta, then headed back to the hotel.  The boys I believe played video games of some variety, while the girls watched Step Up and had JB give us French tip nails.  Oh, and there was champagne.  (If you haven't already guessed, the theme of this weekend could rightfully be called "Love and Liquor"... or maybe "Love OF Liquor...)  Eventually we got to bed so we could get our beauty sleep for the big day!


Best High School Movies Continued

The top 25 high school movies (according to

My reaction?  Mean Girls, Clueless, and Grease should have been higher.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Big Redneck Wedding

Many of you already know of my disgust with all things Southern.  If you couldn't already tell from my previous posts, I am of hearty (northern) midwest stock, and will never eat grits, wear a hoop skirt, wrestle an alligator, fly a Confederate flag, own a gun rack, or refer generally to my relatives as "kin."

That said, I do appreciate the rural South for the entertainment it gives me on a daily basis.  Today's joy comes from an article I found on a wedding blog:  Couple Marries at a Waffle House.  For those of you unfamiliar with a Waffle House, picture a "restaurant" no bigger than a college dorm room.  The food makes IHOP look like four star cuisine (though I do give props to the hash browns).  The cliental... well, I think reading the article will give you a clear picture of who you can expect to dine with if you have the unfortunate experience of needing food at 3:00 am anywhere south of Tennessee.

P.S. Check out the slide show video at the bottom (bonus points if you count the number of tattoos and cigarettes visible in the photos).

P.P.S. Whaddaya think NavyGuy?  Can't you just see me gliding down the back stairs, posing for pictures by the dumpster?  Sure would save money for the honeymoon... ;)


Entertainment Round-Up

For those of you itching to stock up on new folders and sharp #2 pencils, this should tide you over:

EW: 50 Best High School Movies, Nos 50-26

Embarrassingly enough, I have yet to see Pretty in Pink or Sixteen Candles. I know, heresy!

Even more exciting, the next Harry Potter trailer!!!


Wedding Recap #3 - Rehearsal

Friday was spent making final preparations.  There were nails to be painted and Target stores to be visited.  The ladies reconvened at the hotel in the afternoon to get pretty for the evening rehearsal and dinner.  Decked out in cute summer dresses, the bride and her entourage walked over to the Capitol building to do a run-through of the ceremony.

The bride, with all the precision of a general prepping troops for battle, organized her maids and men into their appropriate spots, and marched us up and down the aisle numerous times.  The ceremony music was a variety of songs that would be played on Sister's red iPod... but the speakers for said iPod would not be arriving until the following day.  So the rehearsal consisted of Sister standing in the back parlor off of the assembly chamber, listening to the music on her earbuds, and yelling directions to the rest of us as we processed up the aisle ("no, slower!  stop, okay, now you go, wait, er...")  You get the idea.

Aside from the music madness and a slight giggle fit from the wedding party at some of the wording during the ceremony (apparently the words 'intensity' and 'passion' are funny when you're a 24 year old boy), the rehearsal went off without a hitch.  After a few more snapshots, we got reorganized and headed for dinner at Tutto Pasta...


Monday, July 28, 2008

Wedding Recap #2 - The Bachelorette Party continues

Full up on tequila and tortilla chips, the group headed to Dance Fabulous for Sister's surprise activity of the night... sassy dance lessons!  As a major fan of So You Think You Can Dance and all cheesy dance movies (Center Stage, Step Up, etc.), we knew the bride would have a blast learning a few new steps.  Not just any steps mind you - steps that could lead to some extra cash (or at least some extra compliments from the groom).

That's right all - this group of slightly intoxicated girls learned how to bend and shimmy and shake with the best of them.  Eight folding chairs and two stripper poles later, we were ready to go down State Street and earn back some of our margarita money!  We practiced pole dancing moves, we learned how to seduce our men with lap dances - it was the most scandalous hour and a half of most of our lives.  Everyone had an absolute blast, and we learned that my sister has a disturbingly good natural ability to dance on a pole; the "instructor" would show her one move and she'd improvise three more after it!  Who knew!  I guess it's nice for her to have options in case the whole non-profit-do-good job doesn't pay off... Suggestions for an (in)appropriate work moniker for my baby sister?

[P.S. This would be when I accidentally walked in on the instructor/stripper using the restroom.  I was definitely more embarrassed than she was.  Do people in this line of work forget to lock bathroom doors intentionally?  Thoughts?  Ponder for a bit.]

Post-dance class we sashayed our way back to the hotel to imbibe in chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake (a la Cheesecake Factory - thank you, AL), puppy chow (gracias MOH), and veggies and dip (a healthy option from JB).  We delivered the remainder of the naughty honeymoon gifts to the bride - again, the one item she would need to wear each night of her honeymoon.  Before we got the dance class, we gave her some retro heels (they had a 1970s hooker vibe, but don't worry, they came from Payless).  Then, she received a tame nightie, some lotion, and a not-so-tame night outfit (ew... still not okay thinking about my little sister wearing any of those things!).

After a few drinking game versions of Apples to Apples, us older girls (JB and myself) called it a night, and left the younger crowd of ladies to stay up until 3:00am-ish chatting and catching up.  All in all, the bar has been set quite high for some sort of bachelorette celebration next spring... :)


Wedding Recap #1 - Bachelorette Party Dinner

I have returned!  Slowly but surely, I'll work my way through all of the fun and fiascos of sister's wedding.  Installment #1 - the Bachelorette Party! (Note: this is the unedited version of the evening - reader discretion is advised ;)

All of the bridesmaids arrived at the Hilton in Madison on Thursday afternoon, and got dolled up for a night out.  In our highest heels, with cute clutches in hand, (except for me - I was playing mom that night and carrying my giant silver bag... from here on out nicknamed "the satchel.") we strode down State Street to Frida Mexican Grill.  Sister chose this locale for dinner because of her deep love of Mexican food, as well as their convenient half-price margaritas on Thursdays!

And did we do those margaritas proud!  The drink of choice at the table was the 67 oz Frida Gigantic Margarita (photo will be posted later).  There's nothing like a margarita the size of a gallon of milk to help ladies bond quickly.  The roster for the evening included the Maid of Honor (aka MOH buddy), Sister's friend from Baltimore (AL), Sister's high school friends (JM and TT), Sister's cousin (JB), and yours truly.  We made quick work of our drinks and began showering Sister with gifts.  JB and I created a "Honeymoon Package" that contained one (and only) thing the bride would need to wear each evening of her eventual honeymoon.  The gift for the first night - a giant shiny 8 carat diamond engagement ring (can you measure cubic zirconium from Claires in carats?)  For the rest of the evening, Sister flashed her new bling to everyone.

The dinner continued with great food, Sangrias, shots, more gifts (two pairs of sassy underwear which the bride chose to fling into the air and poll the entire restaurant on - our table voted for the lime green lace number over the plaid boyshorts), and enough belly laughing to count as my ab workout for the week.  However dinner was merely a prelude to the night's main event... :)


Friday, July 25, 2008

Launch Time 24:00:00... 23:59:59

At exactly 2:30 tomorrow afternoon, I will officially lose my little sister to a man. A lawyer man no less. The last few days have been a whirlwind, and I will of course share a full report next week once I've recovered and sobered up, but I just wanted to check in quickly for my out of state fans who are experiencing this event vicariously. I will tease you now with a few quick tidbits from the past few days.

~ The most unusual item on my mother's to-do list: "P on escort cards." Say it outloud. Then try and figure out what she was actually supposed to be doing to the escort cards.

~ I walked in on a stripper going to the bathroom at our dance class.

~ My sister lost a bra strap between my car seats as she was changing next to my car in a parking garage (and wouldn't you know the woman parked right next to us showed up as I was reaching into sis's shirt to find God knows what...). I can see the headlines now: "Bride ticketed for indecent exposure; groom unsure why she was naked in a parking garage."

That will have to tide you over until later - wish me luck! Have a great weekend all :)


Monday, July 21, 2008

Crying Babies and Spilled... Champagne

Whew - what a busy few days! I am officially back in Northern Territory, and there's nary a sweet tea in sight.

Before I left Pensacola, NavyGuy and I taste-tested a tapas restaurant downtown. Tapas are great - they're basically small appetizer style portions that you share with everyone at the table. So, you don't have to choose just one thing on the menu (in fact, we chose four); and, if you don't like something you ordered, well there's only a little bit of it. This restaurant, The Global Grill, was excellent - they didn't even mind that I knocked over my $8 glass of champagne! (As always, "you can dress me up..."). Our tapas for the evening included: Shrimp and Seared Beef Crostini with Robust Tomato & Basil, Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Chorizo Gravy, Lamb Lollipops, Israeli Couscous Cake and Sun Dried Tomato Au Jus, and the special of the night, Shrimp and Scallop Seviche. Truth be told, as good as they all were, my favorite was dessert: Gooey Centered Spanish Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream - yummo! We definitely have a new special occasion restaurant in Pensacola. [Editor's Note: Do not mistake this as evidence that I am at all growing to like Pensacola.]

My flight home Sunday morning left as the arse-crack of dawn, so I was less than chipper upon arriving at the airport and being manhandled through the security line (which, by the way, should be segregated into categories based on your flight experience and general common sense; the man ahead of me in line couldn't understand why he was making the sensor beep... until he took his cell phone out of his pants pocket... humanity). Upon boarding however, the trip swung upward. Long story short, a crying baby and overbooked seat across the aisle got me bumped up to first class! Whoo hooooo!! Bring on the good snacks (Milano cookies, anyone?), and the wide open expanses (I sat crossleggeded in my seat the entire time, just because I could).

Additional events from the past two days:

~ Mom and I saw Mama Mia! and I've now decided I either need to vacation in Greece, or at least buy the soundtrack. It was absurd and campy and just what I needed as I brace for the coming wedding.

~ Visited the dear Farmer Wife in Appleton. Her brilliant 8 month old daughter (Baby A) hung out with us while we gossiped, and I got the latest crop news and fair reports (she's entering a plethora of veggies, breads, and even hand towels in the county fair this week - many blue ribbons are expected).

~ Discovered a neat trick from Payless Shoe Stores - if they do not have your size in stock, they will find a store in the area that does, AND give you a three dollar off coupon for the inconvenience of having to go to the other store. Score!

So, what have we learned today? Well, #1) There's another reason to love Payless. #2) There's no use crying over spilled champagne. And #3) Once in a blue moon, it's a gift to have a crying baby on an airplane :)


Saturday, July 19, 2008


I have had several inquiries (complaints) from my legions of fans about my lack of posting yesterday, so I wanted to throw something up here quick to keep the masses calm. My computer is currently being operated on by Dr. NavyGuy (no worries, just a little checkup before I'm gone for a month).

Anyway, I will still be posting while I'm in the glorious North, but in the meantime I have to finish packing (how many suitcases is considered extreme for a month vacation... six? eight?). 16 hours and counting until I make my triumphant return (or as my mother phrased it: "you're swapping hurricanes and cockroaches for tornadoes and mosquitos!"). Bring on the Culvers!

[If the doc clears my computer for discharge I'll post more after dinner, but his keyboard is too annoying to type anymore on.]


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Productivity Reigns

Ten Things I Accomplished Today
1. Showered.
2. Biked 3 miles and ran 1 at the fitness center - ouch.
3. Cleaned the microwave - ew.
4. Completed a wedding card.
5. Napped (yes, that is an accomplishment).
6. Remembered to take my new chewable gummy vitamin.
7. Bleached the kitchen per the Orkin Man's instructions (I now smell like a pool).
8. Found the Navy t-shirt that my Grandpa (former Navy pilot) wants.
9. Completed my grad school application for a Masters in Education program.
10. Refrained from eating my weight in Pizza Hut pizza for dinner (I did have a piece for you though Farmer Girl).

Five Things I Still Need to Do Before My Return to Wisconsin
1. Finish my sister's wedding guest book (calm down sister, I just have one pic left).
2. Clean out fridge so I do not return in a month to spoiled food (NavyGuy eats out... alot).
3. Laundry. Ugh.
4. Pack. Ugh, bleh.
5. Decide which magazines will accompany me on the airplane.

Three Things That Amused / Terrified Me Today
1. Amused: NavyGuy's attempt to remove his sweaty flight shirt (post flight), whilst talking to his parents on the phone (it required a Houdini-like shoulder dislocation).
2. Terrified: The elderly woman blowdrying her hair in a t-shirt and her underwear at the fitness center (ah, to just not care anymore).
3. Terrified me so much I may not do laundry ever again: This. (There's also video on


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Someone Needs a Job (and someone else needs to actually do work at hers)

So, my sister and I emailed 15 times today. That's not even a record for us. And, she's still at work because it's two hours earlier there... so the number could go up. And I give you... a highly productive (yes, slightly edited) conversation:

Sister: Quick question - I'm confirming with SuperCuts (name changed to protect the innocent), our stylists for the day, and they were wondering if anyone would like to do make-up as well, because they can send a make-up artist as well. It's $40 per person, which is why I was tempted to say no right away, but if anyone would like it, no problem, just let me know by the end of the day.

Me: As much as I would love to have someone do my makeup, my bank account cannot take the vanity :) I'm quite excited about the hairstyling though. T-minus 8 hours until the new Project Runway!!!

Sister: Are you around - did you see that I called?

Me: Yeah, totally forgot you had a new number. Is that your cell phone? What's up? I was in the shower, and now we're going to get some lunch soon.

Sister: No, no, just wanted to rant for 2 minutes about how SuperCuts didn't have my reservation written down, but they scrambled and fixed it, so we're good.

Me: Sugar. I would hate to be on the other end of THAT conversation. Hearing you rip the reception facility people a new a@#$^&* was scary enough!

Sister: Haha, yeah you would have heard the tail end of my rant, had you picked up the phone. Good thing, I guess! P.S. Where's the blog entry today - slacking maybe? Come on, working people need a distraction!

Me: Sigh. I haven't done anything yet today so I have nothing to blog about!!

Me (30 minutes later): Ok Miss high maintenance- the blog is updated. Happy procrastinating.

Sister: Haha, sweet! I've gotten a friend of mine hooked - she said she couldn't stop laughing after reading your weed story.

Me: Yea!!! I'm glad I'm so entertaining. I never realized that people actually thought my writing was funny. Well, enjoy the entry about ice cream - if you aren't hungry for some after reading, I haven't done my job.

Sister: Yum, I want some Ben and Jerry's cookie dough that's in my freezer right NOW. Thanks, for making getting through the work day just THAT much more difficult. ;)

Me: My god there is just no pleasing you ;) Are you getting your makeup done?

Sister: Ick. No. I want the person in all the pictures to look like ME. Which reminds me, I need to call SuperCuts back and let them know that we won't need the make-up artist...

So, 5 hours after the email began... she finally has her answer about the make-up artist :)


My New Favorite Holiday

President Reagan did few things that I agree with in his presidency (fine - I'll give him the whole detente with the Soviets). However, his stock is rising. Unbeknownst to me, Reagan proclaimed the month of July as National Ice Cream Month. And, this coming Sunday (the third in July) is National Ice Cream Day. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, "[Reagan] recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food..." and "called for all people of the United States to observe these events with 'appropriate ceremonies and activities'."

Okay, first off - isn't this the same administration who tried to make ketchup count as a vegetable in public school lunches? Even I don't buy the argument that ice cream is nutritious (no mom, ice cream does not count as your calcium intake for the day). Second, this is the type of stuff that kills me about government. It only took the Reagan administration 4 years in office to come up with this proclamation, but it was an additional three years (in 1987) before Reagan felt moved to publicly address the growing AIDSs epidemic. Priorities. Grrrr.

Regardless, this is a proclamation I can get behind. Sadly, I have a bridesmaid dress to fit into one week after this national holiday, so I don't think I can celebrate it with appropriate ceremonies and activities (I had a fleeting thought of camping at Cold Stone Creamery for the day and trying a different flavor each hour). My personal suggestions would be the following flavors and varieties:

Culvers - Bless the Lord I am returning to the land of Culvers on Sunday. You can never go wrong with the basic chocolate, but if the special of the day is Chocolate Volcano (chocolate ice cream, chocolate flakes, chocolate chips, oreos, m&ms, and chocolate sauce), I would drive from Florida for a scoop.

Dairy Queen - a blizzard, preferably Oreo. If you must, cookie dough. But you want to be careful with the blizzard; some, like the Butterfinger, sound good in theory, but prove to be too difficult to eat (the Butterfinger chunks are too hard).

Cold Stone Creamery - ice cream for the elite. If you're willing to shell out $4.00 a scoop, you can imbibe in ice milk heaven (hmmm.... a gallon of gas, or a scoop of ice cream....). The Birthday Cake flavored ice cream will have you singing and looking for trick candles, and the endless mix-in possibilities will pose problems for the indecisive. NavyGuy suggests Founder's Favorite, a mix of sweet cream ice cream, and chocolate, caramel, pecans, and brownie pieces; I per usual, steer toward the Oreo Overload.

Gillies - a Fond du Lac institution. Great cones, great sundaes, great turtles. Pull up in your dad's new car, park under the canopy, turn on your lights, and wait for the goodness (just don't slam your cone into the interior of dad's new car... hehe).

Edy's Ice Cream - if you haven't checked out their new "loaded" line of ice cream, you are seriously missing out. Try the Mint Chocolate Chip Brownie.

If these suggestions are too tame, you could always check out these more adventurous flavors (mmmm... garlic and whale and curdled bean... delicious!).


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tuesday Tidbits

I window shopped in downtown Pensacola today and discovered a cute gift shop, The Emerald Turtle. As cute as it was, I managed to refrain from making any purchases (although I have since made the dangerous discovery that they are online...).

I also weeded today. No, we do not have a garden (black thumb here, black like death). What we have is a prehistoric jungle lining the garage and walkway to the front door. It had reached epic proportions, and walking into the house became a hopscotch game of sorts (Marine #1 attempted to battle one of the 4 foot tall weeds away from the path yesterday - needless to say, the weed won.) After my assault today however, the weeds fear me. I was tempted to photograph the before and after, but I'd rather not showcase the trailer-park-esque atmosphere we had been living in. NavyGuy arrived home when I was in the middle of the project. He stood in his flight suit watching me for a minute, and then commented, "Huh. You know, you could plant some flowers there now that the weeds are gone." Silence. He went inside after that... before he got pelted with even more weeds and dirt.

Shot Over a Plate of Corn Dogs
[Shaking my head in awe and horror.] I feel less sad about not going back to teaching right away in September. (Though I do understand the ire invoked when someone attempts to take my meat.)

Wedding Trends Gone Psychotic
Prenuptial agreements for bridesmaids and individual cakes for each (EACH!) guest are my favorites on this list of the most extreme wedding trends to date. I am a fan however, of this couple's choreographed first dance... they definitely give Johnny and Baby a run for their money! (Watch the guests' reactions when they realize the couple actually learned the dance.)


Monday, July 14, 2008

From the Horse's Mouth

Impress your friends by being able to namecheck the actual source of the news, and feel better about spending most of your internet time today reading celebrity gossip instead of real news ;)

My Plan for Iraq
Barack Obama
New York Times Op-Ed


Photo Montage of the Day (so far...)

Several craft projects checked off the to-do list.

The first card was made with some fabulous Target Dollar Spot finds. If you haven't been scouring this section of your local Target store for low-priced scrapbook supplies, you have been missing out. The paper comes in packs of either 4 or 8 sheets for a dollar (as low as if not lower than Hobby Lobby's price), and they also have packs of ribbon, punches, stamp sets, chipboard sets, etc. This card includes some of the new paper, chipboard pieces, and ribbon.

The second card is a great way to create a less "girly" homemade card. All it requires is layering scraps of coordinating pieces of paper (this card features 2 patterned papers, and three basic colors). Bonus - this technique is a great way to use up paper scraps!

Other accomplishments of note today: library books returned, and Wisconsin packing list started. Zumba class starts soon, and hopefully tonight will include more productivity ;) To put things in perspective however, after NavyGuy did some flight school work this morning, and then wonderfully cleaned up the bedroom, the rest of his day looks to be shaping up like this:


Bridesmaid Hair

Time to narrow down the options for a suitable bridesmaid hair-do for my sister's wedding. Vote in the comments for your favorites. All are updos because it's a July wedding, and I expect to be running around like a mad woman all day long. [Photos from]


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Recipe and the "Must List"

This one goes out to my future-brother-in-law, who requested more recipes (sorry, this one doesn't involve curry).

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

This was nice and easy - I substituted low sodium Stove Top, and used fresh basil instead of dried. Served with a caesar salad and the ever popular Pillsbury crescent rolls. NavyGuy, Marine #1, and Marine #2 were all impressed and appreciative (Navy and Marine aviators train together in Pensacola). They're now pouring over charts and maps, while I decide between a rerun of The Office, or my latest wedding magazine... always a difficult choice.

I've also included my suggestions for the coming week concerning music, movies, TV, books, websites, etc. (aka, the "Must List" - way cooler than Entertainment Weekly's version).

M's Recommendations:

1. Project Runway Season 5 Premiere (Bravo) Wednesday
With challenges that never cease to amaze, and contestants that range from eccentric to certifiable, this show never fails to entertain (note for the uber fan - Bravo is showing previews of the contestants and Challenge #1 sometime on Tuesday night).

Another excellent way to spend time at work. This website quizzes you on vocabulary words, and for every correct word - they donate 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program. Build a meal and your brain in one.

3. iLove the New Millenium
In the vein of the other "I Love the decade" series on VH1, now they've taken to making fun of a decade that isn't even over (or properly named). It began airing last week, but I'm fairly certain that VH1 will be rerunning the show endlessly over the coming weeks.

4. The Dark Knight (Friday, July 18th)
Heath Ledger is already getting Oscar buzz, and the trailer has been a must-see since it premiered in December 2007. Get your tickets now folks - if it's half as good as Batman Begins, it's bound to be sold out before you get in line to see it on opening night.

5. 20 Most Bizarre Celebrity Baby Names
In honor of the latest in the string of what-the-hell-were-they-thinking-baby-names (Sunday, Nahla, and Knox), check out this list of the absolute most likely to get beat up on the playground if your parent wasn't rich and famous names. (Bonus points by the way, if you can identify the parents of the three bundles of joy name checked above.)

P.S. I've decided to go with The Office rerun. In case you were wondering :)

P.P.S. Baby Name Answers...Sunday - Nicole Kidman; Nahla - Halle Berry; Knox - Angelina Jolie (the twins were born late last night - Knox and Vivienne join Maddox, Pax, Zahara, and Shiloh... why so many names that include an 'x'?).


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Pensacola Peculiarities

The following is a list of things that confuse me about my new home:

1. Tinted driver side windows. Apparently, outside of Wisconsin, it's legal to blacken your front windows. Allegedly, this keeps the car cooler in the Dante's-7th-circle-of-hell-heat that is Florida, but I don't think the polar ice caps could cool down a car that's been sitting in the sun for more than 20 minutes.

2. Bike lanes. I understand the general purpose for bike lanes. I even appreciate the arrows that are drawn on the road indicating in which direction a bike should be ridden. What I do not understand however, is why Pensacolians are confused by these clearly marked bike lanes. I swear to you - every other person I see riding a bike down here is riding the wrong way down the road. Why? I don't get it. If anyone has a hypothesis, please illuminate me.

3. Sweet tea. If you want to drink something sweet, have a glass of Kool-Ade. If you want to drink tea, then drink tea. Don't combine the two. End of story. [Side note: my favorite P-cola moment so far involves sweet tea. At lunch with a few friends, one guy requested sweet tea from the server. Server's response? "Unsweetened. Not a Southerner." The server then proceeded to fill the guy's glass with unsweetened tea, and told him the sweetener was on a different counter. Priceless. This has now become my standard reply to anything that displeases me about the South.]

4. Salutations. When did I become "Hun"? When did I become "Sugar"? When did I become "Dumpling"? I do not know how to respond when elderly waitresses, or car mechanics greet me this way. Do I ignore it? Do I sarcastically reply "Just fine, Peaches" in a terrible Southern accent? Do I start in on a feminist tirade about how I did not spend four years getting a college degree, and four more working as a highly respected teacher, just to be addressed as a variety of pastry?

5. Waffle Houses. 'Nuff said.

6. Drive thru-liquor stores (yes, plural). This seems to be a contradiction of sorts.

7. Mail. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the postal service is a federally run operation, suggesting that the service should be similar regardless of what zip code you live in. How then, does it take 10 days for a standard letter to get from Pensacola, FL to Jacksonville, FL? (And no, this wasn't over the 4th of July weekend or any other possible delay). That's a distance of 357 miles - approximately a 5 hour drive. I think with the proper hydration and sufficient maps, I could WALK the letter to Jacksonville faster. My Netflix movies now have a turn-around time of 6 days (as opposed to the 3 it used it take), and my Newsweek for this week has yet to arrive. What if by the time my Publisher's Clearing House check arrives, I've moved!?! Good grief.

On the plus side, gas is slightly cheaper (we're hovering at 3.99... what's it doing up nort' hey?), and because of the instant sweat that pools on one's body after stepping outside, I have an excuse not to bother attempting makeup of any sort. :)



After my last debacle at the fitness center here in Pensacola (a lunatic named Yuri - who looks like she possibly competed for the East Germans in the 1980 Olympics - tried to kill me with her high-intensity step routine), I decided I needed to go a different route if I intend to come back to Wisconsin for my sister's wedding in any type of shape (aside from rotund).

So, yesterday I attended my first Zumba class. After a quick Google search, I discovered it was some sort of Latin dance exercise. Well, okay - why not? I showed up to find a startlingly eclectic bunch of people spread out in a workout room (people my age, some moms, several 85 year old grandmas, one Danny Glover type old man, and the tiniest, oldest, Hmong woman I've ever seen in my life). A full-figured African American woman (complete with fancy nails and her hair 'did') handed me the class sign in sheet, and I must have looked uneasy. She leaned in and whispered, "Girl - if I can drag my fat ass out there and survive each class, you can certainly shake it!"

Damn if she wasn't right. Next thing I know, I'm shaking my hips, popping my hips, swaying my hips, sashaying, salsa-ing, and basically ghetto booty shaking my little white girl butt right off! It was fantastic! I'm certain that the more "cultured" (aka non-transparent skinned folk) people in the room were horrified at my lack of rhythm and general foolishness, but man did I sweat! And I swear to you, at one point, I smiled and laughed. It was fabulous - I'm a total Zumba convert.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Movie Reviews

As I did very little of note today (minus the nice phone conversations with friends), I thought today's post would be well spent reviewing a few movies I have seen recently. Now, I know you can get the reviews of an actual movie critic, but I'd like to think my reviews have a little something special :)

(Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy)
I was mostly interested in James McAvoy (hottie from Atonement), and not so much the plot of this film. It turned out slightly better than expected however. Above average summer popcorn flick, with the requisite shots of Jolie exiting a bathtub, but solid plot, jokes, and the godly Morgan Freeman. I would consider this an even trade for making NavyGuy go see Sex and the City. So ladies, if you're angling to go see The Second Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants later in the summer, offer to go see this one with your guy.

Why didn't I buy stock in Pixar years ago? Once again, Pixar scores with a great plot, inventive music, amazing visuals, and highly engaging characters. The little robot Wall-E is adorable, and overall the movie sends a good message without being too preachy. I especially loved the "Hello, Dolly" references, and the fact that NavyGuy is still walking around the house saying "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee."

(Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman)
I do not care what Will Smith is staring in on Fourth of July weekend - I'm there. If he takes his shirt off, I'm probably there twice. Hancock is another good popcorn movie, but Will Smith's humor is a little less Men in Black, and a little more edgy. He plays a drunk, sarcastic, bitter superhero, who has no problem dropping a car full of criminals on top of a building. Best line: Hancock (to an over-nourished kid and a another with glasses after they've witnessed him throw the neighborhood bully 10,000 feet up in the air): "How 'bout you thickness? Goggles?" Okay, so perhaps Smith's delivery adds something, but I found it hilarious.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Fake It; Don't Make It Recipe

Another successful meal - yea!! Tonight we had chicken curry with white rice, and asparagus. Now, I have no clue how to concoct a curry, and I have never cooked asparagus before. So how did I accomplish this feat? Well, the beautiful thing about these recipes is that they are courtesy of Real Simple Magazine, and they are modeled after the mag's "fake it" motto. The recipes are essentially easier versions of complicated recipes, which use some store-bought ingredients to simplify the process (and make a novice chef actually want to attempt caramel-chocolate creme puffs or empanadas - both of which have fake it versions on the Real Simple website).

NavyGuy nearly licked his bowl clean, and we have just one serving left for a nice lunch tomorrow. I can't handle much spice in food, but this recipe is pretty mild with the curry (so if you can take more, definitely add more curry powder). For the asparagus, I would suggest slightly less oil, and 6 minutes, high broiler, perfection.

Happy eating!

"Chicken Curry in a Hurry" (photo and recipe)

"Broiled Asparagus" (photo and recipe)

Other Real Simple "Fake-It, Don't Make It" Recipes.



I saw my first unusual roadkill today...

An armadillo. Wow.

Again - not on the Florida postcards.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Today's Craft Project

My sister's wedding is rapidly approaching (T-minus 20 days and counting...), and as the unemployed (aka bored and available to do manual labor) member of the bridal party, I offered to make the rehearsal dinner invitations. I modeled them after the actual wedding invite, and stayed within the bride's red/black/white color scheme. Hopefully the "client" approves!

In other news, I have managed to get NavyGuy hooked on The Wire, the HBO drama set in Baltimore that portrays the drug, crime, and criminal justice scene with scary accuracy (according to my former Baltimore sources). It is certainly not for the faint of heart, considering that the language would make the late George Carlin blush, and its topic matter is definitely eye-opening; however, it is brilliant. The writers manage to evoke empathy for drug dealers and crack addicts, while telling a compelling and addictive story. What other show can feature a dealer teaching his underlings how to play chess, by equating the pieces with the people in his drug empire? It's wonderful. And it makes me 4 for 4 with getting NavyGuy hooked on television shows that I suggest (the others being Friends, Bones, and Ace of Cakes). [Full disclosure - it was my sister and future brother-in-law who got me hooked on The Wire, so I cannot take all the credit for finding this gem.] Given my earlier admission of unemployment, feel free to offer suggestions of other TV series that I should catch up on...


Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Layout

Much as I adore pink, I wanted something a bit more muted. Plus, I'm bored. And fickle.


Friday, July 4, 2008

For Mom



Independence Day

In honor of the signing of the Declaration of Independence,* try your hand with a few of the questions from the United States Citizenship Test.

*The Declaration of Independence, primarily penned by Thomas Jefferson, was actually voted on by the Continental Congress on July 2nd. The famous handwritten copy that everyone views on their class trip to Washington D. C. was created on July 19th. The U.S. Congress did not officially sign the Declaration until August 2nd. So, did anything important happen on July 4th? Luckily, yes. The Continental Congress approved the wording of the document that day, and then sent it to the printer, John Dunlap, of Philadelphia. He typed the document into a printed broadside (sort of like junk mail or a flyer of the 1700s). According to Wikipedia, it's estimated that 200 copies of the "Dunlap Broadside" were made; 25 are still in existence today, including one that was found behind a painting purchased for $4.00 at a flea market in 1989. And that my friends, is your history lesson for the day. Tune in tomorrow, and perhaps we'll shed some light on why this historic day is celebrated by grilling brats and blowing stuff up :)


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Cooking, Cleaning, and Caring for Flight Students

Navy Knowledge of the Day: NavyGuy had a class this afternoon where he learn how much an airplane cost (sorry, I'm sure he learned other important things, but in terms of what I could understand during the conversation later - he learned how much an airplane cost). The Navy is introducing a new training plane into the training for Naval Flight Officers. The current plane they are using for the training is the T-2 which has been used since 1958. It cost approximately $1.5 million dollars. The new plane coming down the pipe is the T-45... it cost approximately $33 million dollars. That's $33 million dollars... per plane! Now, it seems to me, that either inflation has spiraled outrageously in the previous 50 years, or the Navy has gone from shopping at Kmart, to shopping at Nordstroms. Ah... my (and your) tax dollars hard at work ;)

The bulk of my day focused on cleaning. Since the bug incident of last week, I have been determined to give the house a thorough scrubbing. Despite my hatred of cleaning, I did manage to vacuum and sweep the floors, and disinfect nearly every kitchen surface (I stopped short of inside the microwave - I figure any silly bug that manages to get in there will get radiated to death, hopefully serving as a posterchild for any of his brothers or sisters. Plus the inside of the microwave is just unpleasant). In my quest for cleanliness, I also reorganized the kitchen, much to NavyGuy's amusement/chagrin. On the plus side, I now have counter space available to cook, and the piles of papers/magazines/flight documents no longer make my OCD levels spike. On the downside, NavyGuy now claims to "not be able to find anything" in the kitchen, so my chances of getting him to help with tasks have decreased significantly.

With the cleaning out of the way, I tackled the cooking. The dinner plan was grilled chicken, soaked in a homemade lemon rosemary marinade, asparagus, bread, and "yum yum brownie muffins" (a Weight Watchers recipe forwarded by a dear friend). The plan derailed when it came to the asparagus because neither NavyGuy nor myself had any idea how to grill asparagus, and I didn't leave enough time to cook the bread in the oven, and use the broiler to do the asparagus. The chicken was good - though all I did to it was soak it in a ziplock bag of lemon, oil, etc., for a couple hours. Two cans of corn substituted for the missing asparagus, the bread ended up fine, and miracle of miracles - the brownie muffins actually worked! Success!

Tonight was also my first experience cooking dinner for the flight boys. NavyGuy has become close with several fellow flight students. They are all bachelors who arrive on our doorstep, flight bag in hand, to study with NavyGuy and drink/eat whatever they can find in our house. I don't mind, because they're all good guys (and they eat enough at dinner that we don't have to deal with leftovers the following day!). However, the dinner conversation can be lacking. Long story short, I have no idea what they talked about for the majority of dinner. They mentioned ceilings, landings, takeoffs, EPs, sims, helmets, and... well, most of the other words I didn't recognize. It's like watching a television show at a hotel in a different country; you recognize some of the things you're seeing, and you can generally understand people's emotions, but the entire language is a mystery (except for words like "bonjour" and "adios").

Now I'm off to watch NavyGuy do the dishes!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP