Saturday, January 31, 2009

Date Night

Saturday night excitement - dinner and a movie. We crashed the Olive Garden in Burlington, spotted a man who either had a very fuzzy ponytail or a mullet (I checked on the way to the restroom - it was a fuzzy ponytail), and dined on the finest Italian food. I had my holy trinity of fancy food - shrimp, asparagus, and risotto. One of those items alone on an entree list is enough to catch my attention; all three of them combined in a luscious bowl - jackpot.

Our main feature for tonight was Frost/Nixon. Great movie, but not for everyone. It's adapted from a play and it's a movie I would deem "talkie" meaning there's little action. It's mostly dialogue and pensive looks between people - but the dialogue is brilliant, and the pensive looks - riveting. Frank Langella portrays Nixon and is captivating in the role. You watch him for one minute and think, aww... he's just a cranky old grandpa... and then you remember his diabolical mind, rampant paranoia, and mouth that would make a sailor blush. One particular scene between Nixon, and David Frost (the British talk show host who's secured the first post-resignation interview) shows how quickly Nixon would go from coherent to totally crazy. If you're a fan of history, you'd definitely enjoy this one.


Change is Contagious

I've been itching to redecorate for some time. However, given the obstacles (no budget, two roommies who think milk crates are fancy, and a NavyGuy who'd rather cut off his right arm than spend time shopping for home furnishings), the only thing that can get a makeover right now is the blog!

Please excuse the mess for the next few days as I tinker with things. Feel free to give any and all feedback - though requests to return to the old design will not likely be honored :)


Friday, January 30, 2009

Navy Briefing of the Week - FOD walk

Hello there fellow civilians! Welcome to my new Friday feature. I'm going to try to put up a Navy related post every Friday. It may be a glimpse into my upcoming life as a Navy spouse, or a tidbit from NavyGuy's training, or just an explanation of some Navy related term or event that can be confusing to anyone not "indoctrinated." I'll state up front that I'm obviously no expert on any of this, but I feel like I am learning a lot from NavyGuy as we get farther into this crazy new life.

So without further adieu... here's your first briefing!

Today's topic: FOD walk.

Say huh? Yes, I said FOD walk. FOD stands for "foreign object damage" and NavyGuy has been complaining about this task all week long. A FOD walk is when officers and crewmen (and basically anyone that can be rounded up) literally walks down the airplane hanger and the runway before a flight to check for any "foreign objects" that could cause "damage." They do this every single morning before the flights for the day start, and NavyGuy's class has been required to be there for it this week.

It's pretty boring for the guys; essentially all they're doing is walking really really slowly, looking down at the ground for the most miniscule rock or candy wrapper or bellybutton lint that could possibly disrupt the airplane in some way. It's a serious safety precaution that needs to be done, but it's one of the less sexy tasks that NavyGuy has to do (you'll notice they never show Tom Cruise doing this in Top Gun).

They also do this out on the aircraft carriers - don't they look like they're having a great time! ;)


My First Real Shout-Out and Award!

Random Friday, just hanging out, getting ready to babysit tonight, and all of a sudden - wham! I get an comment on a craft post from one of my favorite bloggers! Seriously, I found this girl on WeddingBee originally, then stalked followed her to her personal blog The Sunset House, and may have developed a minor girl crush on her ever since. She has the neatest craft projects, yummy recipes, and just overall sounds like an awesome person.

So, to know that she's even seen my (desperately in need of a design revamp) blog is a thrill. But then she passed on the love with this bloggie award:

The Rules:

  1. Choose a minimum of 5 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
  2. Show the 5 winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Scrap.” Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
  3. List at least 10 honest things about yourself.

Ten Honest Things About Me

  1. I (and NavyGuy) are shocked that I've actually stuck with this blog for so long. I tend to get excited about a new hobby or idea and then lose interest soon after.
  2. I watch episodes of West Wing and Whose Wedding is it Anyway almost daily.
  3. My workout/get healthy plan for 2009 has fallen by the wayside and I'm struggling to convince myself to get back on the wagon.
  4. I'm doubting whether we should be spending so much money on the wedding.
  5. I'm frustrated with my job prospects for next year.
  6. I'm thrilled to be going home in less than a month for craft craziness!
  7. I've been avoiding doing laundry all week.
  8. I have no clue how to make coffee.
  9. I really really really want a black lab puppy.
  10. I've been trying to read Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat for over a year.
(Sorry my 10 things are a little bland; having just come up with 25 random things I'm a little low on creative info about myself!) I nominate the following brilliant blogs: Sleepy in Seattle, The Adventures of a Farmer's Wife, Life and Times of a Displaced Jersey Girl, Yellow Bunnies, and Scrapbook Obsession. Go check them out!

Editor's Note: HistoryGirlie and other good friends have "shouted-out" to me before, but since they know me in real life, it doesn't quite count :) Still love you guys though!!!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

First Week on the Job

The reports are coming out already that President Obama is running a more "casual" White House than his predecessor. The New York Times has this article detailing many changes in the customs, schedules, routines, and day to day events of the Obama White House. Here are some of the highlights:

~ President Bush had a strict "coat and tie" rule for everyone in the Oval Office, but President Obama was photographed on his first full day of work sans jacket, indicating that the rules have changed. David Axelrod, a senior advisor, explained the change as a result of Obama kicking up the thermostat in the Oval Office (apparently, he likes it warm enough to grow orchids).

~ Obama likes to wander. He tends to show up at advisors' offices in the West Wing unannounced, like the time he surprised press secretary Robert Gibbs with his feet up on his desk.

~ The President has continued the tradition of weekly lunches with the Vice-President. What's typically on the menu for him? Chicken, fish, or a cheeseburger.

~ So far President Obama has been reveling in the fact that he "lives above the store." He takes time to eat breakfast and dinner with his girls, and also helps pack them up for school each morning.

The full article has some other fun information about what his first week has been like. And check out this video from this morning where Obama comments on the snow day issue... (for the record, he and I agree on this controversial issue 100%).


Hearts a' Plenty

The inspiration for this card was a) the heart patterned paper and b) this layout from Jen del Muro (I {heart} 2 Stamp blog). Sometimes a little outside inspiration is necessary in order to keep your layouts or designs from looking too repetitive. The strip of white paper on the right hand side was looking a little plain after I got the card put together, so I added the red punch out hearts to jazz it up. Then when I stepped back to look at the whole card, I realized it was overrun with hearts! But, I guess some Valentine's Day cards can be dripping with sappiness :) The little birdie stamp is from a V-Day set I picked up at Archivers, found here (it's the same set that Tuesday's owl stamp comes from).


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Random 25

I've been tagged on Facebook by one of my dearest buds (the future "Mrs. Gavin Rossdale") with this little activity. The rules: Write 25 random facts, habits, goals, etc. about yourself. (You're also supposed to tag 25 other people included the original tagger, but I'm not feeling in guilt-inducing mood, so I'll just leave this open to anyone who'd like to participate.)

Off we go!

1. When I was younger, I wanted to add an "e" to my middle name to change the way it's spelled.

2. I dry my feet off in the shower before I touch the bathmat, because I can't stand the feeling of anything soggy.

3. I would wear sweatpants and my muckluck slippers everyday if the world wouldn't judge me.

4. I once got a police warning for "unnecessary acceleration" when I was doing donuts in a parking lot on a snowy night.

5. I broke two bones as a kid - my elbow and my collar bone.

6. Because I didn't do my physical therapy when I broke my elbow, I still can't bend my arm and touch my hand to my shoulder.

7. Feet scare me.

8. Sometimes I worry I won't like my future children.

9. I cried in first grade the first time I ever got a math problem wrong.

10. In high school, I helped a fellow yearbook staffer paint the darkroom black, and we attempted to explore the "secret passageway" that ran underneath the school. (We didn't find anything.)

11. I'd like my next big trip to be to Ireland.

12. I don't read my Newsweek magazine cover to cover; I browse through first and read the entertainment articles, and then go back and slog through the political and world news.

13. I detest talking on the phone.

14. My favorite elementary school book was Where the Red Fern Grows.

15. I played one of the Lullaby League munchkins in a junior high production of The Wizard of Oz. (Yes, many moons ago I could sing that high.)

16. I miss my dog.

17. Getting the mail is typically the highlight of my day, and federal holidays with no mail delivery chap my ass.

18. Last week I agreed to donate ten dollars to a random Washington state charity because I got confused on the phone and then felt too awkward and embarrassed to say no to the request. (See #13.)

19. My shoe size has been an 8 for as long as I can remember, yet recently I've needed size 7.5 or even 7. I think my feet are shrinking. (See #7.)

20. I'm really proud of my work as an AP teacher.

21. During college, I taught step aerobics classes at the university gym.

22. I always sleep on my side.

23. I'm typing this up to avoid doing my workout.

24. I'm powerless to stop my addiction to Cheerios.

25. I love making lists!!!

Whew - that was more difficult than expected. Who's going to be next to share their randomness?


Day Two in the Trenches - Update

An update on the globe debacle from yesterday - just received the following email from the classroom teacher:

Don't worry about the globe. It did belong to Admiral Cook of the Royal British Navy when he explored the South Pacific in the early 1800s, but it really isn't that big of a deal... I'm just kidding. :)

Whew. (Gotta love a teacher with a sense of humor.) He went on to say he's putting me on his permanent sub request list because he heard reports from other teachers that I'd actually worked with the kids and tried to teach (shocking that I'd actually try to "sub" for the regular classroom teacher by fulfilling their usual duties). Woo hoo!


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day Two in the Trenches

More 6th grade fun today. I subbed at the same building as last week, so I had met some of the students previously. Lessons learned?

1. Lunch counts matter.
After ten minutes of frantic searching for the "attendance folder," the children helpfully informed me that it might be down in the office (thanks kids). By the time it had been retrieved, the czar of the lunch ladies blared into the classroom over the intercom demanding to know why she hadn't been given the nuclear launch codes milk order for the day. Apparently, one should not monkey with the lunch count system.

2. Globes have a mind of their own.
Twenty minutes into the day, a globe sitting on a shelf off to one side of the classroom, mysteriously jumped off of the shelf and crashed to the ground. If you'd asked me what contingencies I had planned for when prepping that morning, falling objects would not have been on the list. I have absolutely no clue what in god's name happened; every kid was at their desk, no one was jumping around or doing anything that could have jostled the globe - it simply fell of the shelf. Unfortunately, it was old and actually broke; pieces of cardboard chipped off (part of norther Africa disappeared) and of course the kids were batty for the next five minutes because of the disturbance. I left a note for the sub explaining what happened - even offering to replace the globe or compensate him for it - and all I can do is hope for the best.

3. Indoor Recess is Retribution for Having Summers Off
When Dante wrote about his circles of hell, he forgot one. And that's all I have to say about that.


Book Review: Outliers

Outliers: The Story of Success
Malcolm Gladwell
c2008, Little Brown and Company, 320 pages.

The Least You Need To Know... author of bestselling books The Tipping Point and Blink; sociology information about why some people succeed above and beyond the norm; lots of famous examples (Bill Gates, the Beatles).

Thesis... Extremely successful people ("outliers" like Bill Gates, J. Robert Oppenheimer, John Rockefeller, pro athletes, etc.) reach that level not simply because they are smarter, faster, or stronger than others; their success is based on their innate talents, as well as their history, cultural legacy, advantages, inheritances, opportunities, and sometimes - just plain luck.

Reminds me of... The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman; Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond; Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam.

Pros... super easy and fast read (I picked it up intending to read one chapter and breezed through the first one hundred pages); many real world examples to back up his thesis; makes you feel less bad about not being as successful; amazing explanations about the random advantages that allow some to succeed (ex. if you wanted to be one of the Silicon Valley computer tech gods of today, you needed to be born between 1953 and 1956... why? scroll to the bottom*)

Cons... last chapter about his own family history is dull and superfluous; makes you realize much of succeeding in life is out of your hands.

You'll Like It If... you enjoy history and coincidences and "whoa!" connections between different topics.

You'll Hate It If... you are frustrated by sociological research that is not based solely on facts and data.


"...success follows a predictable course. It is not the brightest who succeed... Nor is success simply the sum of the decisions and efforts we make on our own behalf. It is, rather, a gift. Outliers are those who have been given opportunities - and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them."
"The idea that excellence at performing a complex task requires a critical minimum level of practice surfaces again and again... In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours."
*January 1975 is considered the dawn of the personal computer age. So, you needed to be just out of college in that year in order to get in on the ground floor of the new computer industries that were opening up. If you were older than that, you were already entrenched in a job and unlikely to take a risk on new technology; if you were younger than that, you're still in high school and can't start a business yet. Proof? Bill Gates and Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft - Allen was born in 1953, Gates, 1955. Third richest man at Microsoft - Steve Ballmer - born 1956. Apple's Steve Jobs - 1955. Obviously, Gladwell explains it better in the book, but it will seriously blow your mind.


Whooo loves you?

Somehow I'm all about the puns for Valentine's Day cards this year... I could not resist this owl with his cute little heart branch. I made this card before I received my Stampin' Up chocolate chip ink pad, so I'm going to make a few more with brown ink instead of black. The layout of the card, with the layers of square paper, helped me use up several pieces of scrap paper that I had leftover from other projects.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Dreaming of You

Inspired by this sketch at ~Card Sketch a Day~, a fabulous new blog I found that literally has "a card sketch" every day! (Check it out fellow crafters... you might see something you recognize!)

Excellent layout for when you need to use up scraps! The sentiment is a quote on vellum paper. I simply cut the words apart to they would fit in a couple of the boxes, and attached the vellum. If you enlarge the photo, you can see the vellum "you" is actually over patterned paper. This could maybe be a nice Valentine's Day card for a guy... a little less girly, no pink paper, no over-the-top hearts or lace...


Recipe: Winter Veggie Soup

Doesn't this look delish? I bought the ingredients to try this recipe last week, and just never got around to it. It made for a tasty lunch today though!

Winter Vegetable Soup

  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1 small potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


In a medium saucepan, saute onions in oil until tender. Add the next four ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the broccoli, salt if desired and pepper; simmer, uncovered, for 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

It took me about thirty minutes from start to finish (I chop pretty slowly). Best part of this recipe? The portions described above are just enough for two people - so no leftover soup for weeks on end. Of course you could double or even triple the recipe if you wanted to, but we hate leftovers here, so one serve meals rock. I also used low-sodium chicken broth/stock to make it slightly healthier.


Hip Hop Hooray!

Hip hop hooray for this new froggy set of stamps! I found it at a crazy awesome rubber stamp store in Bellingham, and it has three different frog stamps, a dragonfly, and a bunch of different greetings. It thought this one would work well as a congratulations or birthday card. I also like the preppy pink and green color scheme :)


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Martini Madness

NavyGuy and I ventured out to a martini bar tonight. I'd like to say it's because we felt like being young and adventurous, but really, a flight school friend of his was celebrating her birthday, and NavyGuy felt like we needed to make an appearance (and it was a means to get me out of the house).

So we traversed forty-five minutes north to the booming metropolis of Bellingham, WA (making a long and arduous detour along the way to grab some Dairy Queen for dinner... it was ten miles off the highway, but once I set my sights on that oval sign, there's no giving up). The martini bar was located in a hotel and it was clearly the hottest thing going north of Seattle - the place was packed! Luckily another couple had snagged some tables, so we were able to get seats.

Being the "dd" for the evening, I limited myself to one Cosmo, while NavyGuy polished off three manly Dean Martinis (extra dry). My drink arrived at the table still in the shaker, and I got to pour more and more into my cute martini glass, like how at some restaurants, they bring the rest of your chocolate shake out in that metal container :) Our group grew larger and it became a martini tasting all around with people getting crazy concoctions like the Headless Horseman, the Dreamsicle, and the most popular of the night - the Gummi Bear martini! (It came with actual gummi bears in the drink, and the guys at the table decided if they renamed the drink the "Grizzly Bear" it was then butch enough to order.)

Weirdest part of the evening - the toilet paper dispenser in the ladies bathroom. It was motion-sensored! You waved your hand somewhere near it, and half a ream of two-ply came shooting out. Odd, especially considering there was nothing else in the entire bathroom that was motion-sensored. My fellow ladies at the table were also befuddled. Despite the long commute and the flying toilet paper, I am a fan of the Best Western Martini Bar.


DIY Invite - Sneak Peak!

Just a little look at what's coming down the pipe for our wedding invitations...

You'll have to wait until the full version is finished before you get the whole picture! Hope you like them - I'm soooo excited :)


Thursday, January 22, 2009

DIY Invites - Little Details

The wedding planning rolls on. At the moment the major work revolves around DIY craft projects - namely, the invitations. There was a small victory today as I found a reasonably priced return address stamp to use on the RSVP envelopes and the actual invitation envelope. Where did I happen upon such a neat stamp?, the mecca of handmade items. It's crazy addictive - I'll go there searching for one thing and end up browing fourteen completely different things. The fun part of Etsy is that you know you're getting a unique item.

So I found this design, which will be customized with my and NavyGuy's information by "TerBearCo." a rubber stamp designer who sells her items on Etsy. She answered all of my questions promptly and is going to have the item done with more than enough time for me to use them on my DIY invites (which of course, I'll be blogging about soon enough). As soon as the stamp arrives, I'll be sure to post a pic of the finished product!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Needs of the Navy

Anyone connected to the Navy lives and dies by the phrase in today's post title. Military members and their families are constantly forced to rearrange their schedules, change plans, or uproot their lives based on, you guessed it - the needs of the Navy. Today was a perfect example...

NavyGuy called me at home around 10:45 this morning. His squadron was going to be having a simulator demonstration (pilots and flight officers train on a simulator before flying the actual million dollar airplanes) open to the families. The demonstration was due to start at noon... and the base is a good 30 minutes away... sigh. He argued that the reason he had not mentioned it earlier was that it had been canceled earlier in the week, and they had just found out that it was rescheduled for today.

Okay, fine. I'll hurriedly throw on decent clothes and rush down there to meet him at the Officer's Club by 11:45. So I rush rush rush and manage to get to the O'Club with five minutes to spare. I park (carefully avoiding the spots labeled "bigwig" and "head cheese") and went inside to the dining room to find where NavyGuy was lunching.

As I walk up to his table, I see the other guys that I know from his class start to smirk. NavyGuy turns and sees me.

"Uh... you can go home."


"The demo's canceled."


Ah yes, the needs of the Navy. Apparently, they had rescheduled the demo, only to find out that the simulator had classified (top secret) instrumentation installed, and therefore civilians could not see them. Of course, NavyGuy only found out this information four minutes before I got there. So, I had left home in the middle of emailing a wedding vendor to drive thirty minutes and see... a cranky NavyGuy (which I could have witnessed at home later without changing out of my sweatpants). The simulator demonstration is "going to be rescheduled" for next week Wednesday, but I'm certainly not holding my breath. That's life with a large, unwieldy bureaucratic institution - the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing, the right hand doesn't know what the left foot is doing, and the right foot doesn't care two licks what anything's doing.*

So hopefully next week I'll have exciting news about a Navy aircraft simulator! (Or another rant about inefficiency and confusion.) In other news, I learned where you put oil in a car today! After NavyGuy discovered oil stains on the driveway where I'd been parking the truck, I got a stern talking to about how I haven't been checking the oil in the truck, and I've let it get too low, and now the car might explode into a ball of burning flames (yeah, I stopped listening once he started getting all technical with the car jargon). So then I was forced to tag along to the auto store to get more oil for the truck and told to fill it up before driving the truck again.

Now how in the world was I supposed to know that you don't pour the oil into the little tube that you pull the dipstick out of?!?! Calm down, I didn't actually do it - the funnel wouldn't fit in the hole and I couldn't reach very well so I brought the supplies down and made NavyGuy do it in the O'Club parking lot after the failed sim demo. That's where I learned there's a special opening, large enough to fit a funnel, to pour the oil into. Unfortunately, this now means I have run out of excuses as to why I cannot perform appropriate car maintenance procedures and I fear if I neglect to check the oil everytime I fill up the gas tank, I may be flogged by the master of the house.

Does anybody else "get into trouble" over household chores or maintenance?


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a Day!

So what began as an exciting day, what with my "live" blogging of the Inauguration Festivities, got even more exhilarating around 11am when my phone rang... and I agreed to substitute for a sixth grade class... in 30 minutes!

Thank goodness I had broken away from Brian Williams and Al Roker joking about fedoras to shower before the phone rang. I quickly changed from my lazy day jeans and sweatshirt into some teacher clothes, grabbed a granola bar and a Diet Mountain Dew, checked the map to the school, and took off.

I arrived at the school and readied myself for elementary students. After checking in at the office and getting my schnazzy Substitute name badge (to blare loud and clear that I can be walked all over), I went to the classroom and found the teacher still there. I had managed to get there a little early, so I was able to look over the plans with the teacher and see the kids in action. Ended up being a dream job - when the teacher left at noon the kids went to lunch. Then I had them for twenty minutes before they went to gym, then another 45 minutes, recess, and then science class with another teacher! Easy peasy! (I should have brought my book).

Highlights and thoughts on my first official substitute job:

~ Sixth graders are short. I've never had a class where I'm the tallest person in the room; I tried not to let the power go to my head.

~ Sixth graders like to tell you things. Anything. That tomorrow is their birthday. That they have basketball practice afterschool. That someone else took their pencil. That they can cross their eyes (which they then proceed to prove to you). You forget just how much energy they bring to the table.

~ Many of the boys in class were wearing shorts. It's January. This is wrong.

~ I got to answer many a history question! The students were working on research papers and had to spend time writing a rough draft of their introduction. You'd think I would have gotten tired of answering the same question over and over again, yet it was refreshing.

Overall, it was a great first subbing experience, and I officially love subbing. I got to spend the time the kids weren't in my room doing whatever I wanted, I took nothing home with me to grade or plan for tomorrow, and I got to do the most fun part of being a teacher - working with the kids!


Face Gunk

Help! My daily moisturizer and I are no longer on speaking terms. For years I've been loyal; never switching brands, never complaining, never doubting. But the time has come to make a clean break.

Here's what I've used since sophomore year of high school:I saw my mom use it when I was a kid, it's reasonably priced, it has SPF, and I like the smell. And until recently, it worked fine. I say recently, because until recently I lived in Wisconsin - land of the harsh bitter winters, where a dense facial moisturizer was as necessary in the winter as a scrapper for your frozen car windows and a rope tied between the barn and the farmhouse so you won't lose your way during the blizzard. I needed the Oil of Olay moisturizer because while it's liquidy, it doesn't mess around - my dry winter skin soaked up the stuff.

I now live in a place where it can be 50 degrees on January 18th, and you can actually see the moisture in the air when you look out the window. I don't need to drown my face in goop everyday in order to prevent my skin from flaking off. I need a daily moisturizer that's much lighter, still has some SPF, and won't give me zits. I'm also a cheapskate so it can't cost more than a DVD, and it has to smell good.

You've been given your mission readers - go forth and recommend your best face gunk!


Inauguration Central Baby!

Are you ready?

It's here.

Monday, January 19

7:47pm - The first official comment on the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America!! I plan to "live blog" throughout the events tomorrow with all my thoughts and commentary, so check in as often as you can to get the important details (aka - what will Michelle wear?!?!). If you want to play along at home, you'll need to follow NBC's coverage, as I'm a loyal peacock girl (I love you Tom Brokaw!). Blogging will start promptly at 7:00am with the Today show - can't wait!!!

Tuesday, January 20

6:49 - I'm awake. That is a sea of humanity on the National Mall. Whoa.

And they've arrived at the White House to have Krispy Kreme donuts with the Bushes. Love the fact that the new Presidential limo is called "the beast."

Haven't had a good enough look at Michelle's outfit, but oooo, they're getting out of the car. Dang, Jill Biden - work those knee high boots!

Faux paux - no one greeted the Bidens when they got to the White House... they had to just walk into the place...

Michelle brought Laura a gift!!! Ooooo, damn, you're so classy. Okay, interesting outfit choice, it's a little sparkly, but my initial thought is I'm liking it.

6:56 - Getting ready to switch over to NBC Today Show. I'm on CNN at the moment, and Wolf Blitzer is irritating me already.

Thank goodness they got a decent weather day in D.C.

6:59 - Previous record for the largest crowd at an Inauguration (which I'm hereby abbreviating to "Inaug" was Lyndon Johnson with a million people.

7:00 - Yes, Tom Brokaw is there!! Ooooh, Peggy Noonan's voice is annoying. Oh, Tom, you're so wise. You're like Dumbledore and Gandalf rolled into one.

7:02 - Where are the Obama girls?

Oh my, Michelle's wearing a dress by a Cuban designer... Ann Coulter is going to have a field day.

7:08 - First update from Chuck Todd, the poor man's Tim Russert!

Wow, apparently, I should have been up at 3:00am to get all the coverage. Sorry folks, I'm cursed with the time zone from hell.

7:18 - A triumvirate of newsmen - Brian Williams, Lester Holt, and the one and only Tommy B.

Okay, low-key on the action for the moment, because everyone's just filling time while the key players are in the White House taking a bathroom break having coffee and chatting.

Hm, Obama actually takes the oath at 11:56 so that he's officially sworn in by noon.

Magic Johnson! Boy, anyone who's anyone managed to snag tickets to this show.

Ha! Just read an article about how the D.C. police put up signs near the inaug sites stating "Prostitution Free Zone." Are they a security threat? :)

Sandra Day O'Connor in the house! (Former Supreme Court Justice folks, c'mon.)

7:24 - No aides at the coffee clutch, so not likely to find out what they're chatting about. (Side note - John Cusack! John Cusack!)

7:25 - Can they make the expectations for his speech even higher? (P.S. Totally forgot that Obama is a Grammy winner for his reading of his book!)

Oh no, Ann Curry is with the crowd and has a microphone... god help us. Good time for a bathroom break.

Ooooo, Hillary's coat is super cute. Nice color too. Well done, Hil, well done.

At the luncheon following the swearing in, the guests will be dining on china that replicates what Lincoln had!

7:33 - Last commercial break until after the swearing in - get your snacks now!! (Have Cheerios, will blog.)

7:37 - Brian Williams was awoken at 2 am by people outside his hotel setting up tables to sell Barack Obama tapestries :)

Want to get some unique Obama merchandise? Check out this gallery of items put together by NBC news found here.

Big motorcade movement... who's there?

Jill Biden and Lynn Cheney exiting the White House. Seriously must learn more about this Jill Biden - she seems like she could stir up some trouble...

7:44 - Lord almighty Barbara Bush looks old. Oh no! Michelle not green gloves!! Get that woman some cream colored gloves!!!

7:45 - Split screen! An empty doorway at the WH and what?!? Why is Cheney in a wheelchair? Good lord, he strained his back lifting boxes yesterday. How ridiculous. Don't tell me he was actually packing his own shiznit... who's that poor girl that has to push Cheney's lazy arse around all day? Lord have mercy.

7:46 - 4 to 5 inches of steel plating on the new pres limos... John McCain! And, here they come, walking out the door. Bush, you're so short. Damn. That limo is a beast. What are they talking about in the limo? 10 bucks says Obama's checking his Blackberry :)

7:49 - Limo traffic jam! Hehe... maybe there's a mini bar in the pres limo... Bush won't imbibe, but I can totally see Obama doing a quick vodka shot before his speech.

I want to see Sasha and Malia! (Weird how their names always roll off the tongue in that order, yet Malia is the elder.) Apparently, Malia's a fashion maven in her own right - read about it here.

7:59 - Agh! My TiVo flipped to something it thinks it needs to record!!!! I'm missing limos sitting in a line!!!!

Laura Bush's outfit is unremarkable. Completely non-memorable. Gosh, I'm so torn about Michelle's. Obama's arrived! They're at the capital... still haven't managed to get Cheney out of the limo... Ray Nagin, mayor of New Orleans, hope he doesn't get a few moments alone with Bush... nice tidbit about how JFK almost killed the hat industry in 1960 by appearing without one at his inaug... ouch, the Supremes don't get to wear coats over their robes! Hope they have some long undies on beneath...

8:05 - New members of the administration are taking their seats... few recognizable faces right now, but we'll know them soon enough... flipped to CNN for a moment, nothing different over there... Al Gore makes his entrance with Tipper... Brian, we need some gossip!

8:09 - yes, Chuck Todd. He'll have some gossip. Ah, he's at the White House... apparently, they were doing some spackling at the WH this morning... Bush daughters must have tacked up some posters in their room or something :) Allegedly, the Bush's are all packed and moved out, no need for moving vans today, all they have left in the WH is their personal luggage that they'll carry onto the helicopter with them.

8:13 - Bush 41 has a cane and a limp. Still planning to jump out of another "perfectly good airplane" to celebrate his next birthday. The Carters are next, they look pretty young and vigorous... Rosalynn has a plain white turtleneck on? Rosie, at least jazz it up with a fancy scarf good grief - have you learned nothing from your disastrous fashion choices when your hubby was in the WH?

8:15 - Hil and Bill on the move.

8:19 - I've been corrected by my good source TWP - Obama is not a drinker. Why is Barbara leaving old George behind? Could she help him a little bit... good grief.

8:22 - Bush twins are looking tasteful. Henry Hager (Jenna's hubby) looks a little shellshocked.

I can't stop looking at Barbara Bush's giant purple scarf... why are she and 41 matching?!?

First daughters!!! Oh my god, how freaking cute are they!?!?!?!

8:24 - Love the outfits - love love love!! And Grandma is following behind, she's going to live in the WH with everyone and keep the girls in line. My lord those are two photogenic little girls.

Laura Bush and Lynn Cheney look as plastic as ever. Smile. Do something! Quite the cheers for the girls... awww... their parents must be so proud of them... oops, they're like, oh, okay, not time to sit down yet... ah! Stop showing Sasha through the funhouse bullet proof glass - her face looks crazy!

8:27 - Laura Bush said "Hey everybody" as she entered...

Malia's sassy! And she's totally taking pics with her digital camera :) I'll get back to the Malia sassiness in a minute...

Jill and Michelle enter... Jill has a Ph.D and wants to teach at a community college in D.C. Apparently, they're running 16 minutes late already...

8:31 - W enters... Dr. Strangelove Cheney rolls in a separate entrance...

Who are all these clowns surrounding Bush? Better look at the neckline of Michelle's dress - nice detailing...

What's the holdup? Does Michelle not have a seat or something? Move your coats people, you don't need to save seats anymore... debate over what Michelle's holding in her hand... a red clutch or the Lincoln Bible that Obama'll use...?

8:35 - Sasha peeks around Mom's waist to check out the procession... last "Hail to the Chief" for Dubya... checked Wikipedia... Mrs. Carter does not look 81 years old...

Obama's approaching the door... wow.

8:39 - Okay, taking a quick break to a) soak up the moment Obama enters... the crowd is going to lose it, and b) gotta refill my water glass.

8:42 - Oh my gosh it's so exciting!!!!!

How does he stay so calm!??! Alright, first we have to hear from the Chair of the Inaug festivities... ooo, Obama and Biden get fancy leather chairs instead of the metal folding chairs everyone else is freezing their butts on...

8:46 - early CNN estimates are 2 million people.

Bush is totally not listening to this woman speak. Obama looked like he was going to vomit for a sec there... nope, okay, he's alright.

Invocation time - Rick Warren, founder of the evangelical "Saddleback Church" - yes, that's really the name. He also wrote all those Purpose Driven Life books... so far pretty basic... oooo, invoking Dr. King in heaven... shoot, I stopped listening to google something, and now I have no clue what he's talking about.

8:54 - Aretha baby, I have all the respect in the world for you, but take off that horrendous hat! It makes you look like a Christmas present. Not good.

Random thought - where's Oprah? How come we haven't seen her yet? You know she ain't sitting in Chicago missing out on this...

Yup, they're definitely behind schedule.

8:58 - Biden's middle name is Robinette? That's embarassing. The VP oath of office is not set out in the Constitution; there have been several variations, but it's the same one now that Senators take when they're sworn in.

Of course - John Williams arranged the Itzhak Pearlman/YoYo Ma piece (seriously - I don't think Speilberg movies or the Olympics are going to have any music at all once Williams dies). YoYo is such a cutie! He's all smiles and having a great time.

9:02 - This just in from Historygirlie: "Oprah is in Washington....her show is being broadcast from Washington yesterday and today. She's not ON STAGE, per se, but she's in the super close up section facing the stage." Thanks to TWP and Historygirlie for being my unofficial researchers and reporters!

9:04 - Here we go! The big show starts now!

Adorable! They brought in a little footstool for the girls to stand on so they can see. Oh my god he flubbed the oath!!!!!! Breathe Barack, you can do this!!!

Whew okay, he got through it. Look at Sasha wave! And the crowd goes wild!

9:07 - Speech time... first applause break is for Bush's service to the country... whoa! "greed and irresponsibility on the part of some"... way to slam Wall Street... (who's the dude moving down the steps behind him? get out of the shot doofus!)... big applause for the "we will meet the challenges" line...

Nice... I like the tone of the speech so far. Tough. Honest. Lots of talk about the fact that we're going to have to make hard choices and that big plans shouldn't be doubted - we have to be willing to try.

Big slam at Bush's foreign policy and how his administration treated the rest of the world. Hints at the fact that we can protect our physical security and our ideals at the same time.

9:23 - Alas, I have to take a break. My computer is about to go on strike, and blogspot is starting to flake out from the flurries of posting (and probably the fact that a few other people in the world might be trying to use the internet right now). I'll try to resume my ramblings once Obama's speech is over and the commentators start sharing tidbits. Go listen to the words and celebrate the day!

9:30 - I'm back. My blood's boiling a little bit from reading comments on other blogs, where people are so disgusted with Obama/Democrats they're all like "oh, the only thing I'm watching today is last night's episode of The Bachelor." Yes, because that's just what our country needs more of. Instead of people paying attention to politics and what's going on in the world, stick your head in the sand ostrich style for four years and pretend like it isn't happening. I cringed for eight years every time President Bush opened his mouth, but that didn't stop me from watching his inauguration and speeches and following the events of the country and world. You can dislike Obama, his policies, his actions, whatever - that's your right. But at least have the intelligence to realize that if you want to argue against what he believes, you're going to have to be aware of what's going on... Whew - off my soap box.

9:34 - I missed the poem while I was fuming at small-mindedness. Was it good?

I think the pastor who's speaking now needs to borrow the girls' stepstool.

9:38 - National Anthem, and then we're out! I believe they're off to lunch next, so there won't be much for the networks to cover except for recapping what's happened. (Aside - love that the Obamas are singing along.) Official ceremony, over.

Tom Brokaw's thoughts - eloquent speech, made a direct challenge to this country about global affairs - "we are ready to lead once more" - and signaled to the world that the U.S. is going to act differently

9:58 - My final notes for this coverage... the Chief Justice (who Obama did not vote in favor of), fumbled the oath because he chose to try and recite it without notes. Goofus. I'm going to be tuning into the parade and balls throughout the day, but I must leave my keyboard to face the day (remember it's only 10am here!). Happy Inauguation Day!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Rockslides and messed up blizzards...

As the federal government has decided that the best way to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy is to stop people from working or learning (or getting mail), I had no subbing opportunities today, and NavyGuy had no rockets to learn. It has been decent weather here the past few days (despite the "air stagnation" warnings - say huh?), but we're stir-crazy regardless. Too much time spent in the house with the Marines. Our solution for this yesterday was to take a hike near the lake by our house. As always, I started out gungho about the adventure, but twenty minutes in had to use the little girls' room (which is NOT, nor will EVER BE, out of doors), and by the end was exhausted, doubled over, grasping the back of NavyGuy's jacket, hoping his momentum would help pull me up the hill to our house (for those of you who are wondering, no, there weren't any accidents).

Clearly in no mood for another hike today, we opted to head north and check out the Bellingham mall and surrounding stores. Long story short - the route home on South I-5 was down to one lane because of a rockslide. A rockslide! Good grief. Luckily, NavyGuy whipped out his trusty Blackberry Storm, and while I was in my new rubber stamping Mecca*, he found an alternative - though slightly longer - route that would avoid the traffic (and, you know, the rocks).

The other blight on my day was the fact that Dairy Queen jacked up my blizzard! Hello!?! I said OREO. And you repeated OREO back to me. How did my order of an OREO blizzard somehow magically end up in my car as an M&M blizzard? Of course, I didn't check the blizzard until we were back on the highway so it was a lost cause. I know, I know. "Oh, poor little unemployed girl had to choke down M&Ms instead of Oreos in her blizzard today... cry me a river." Well you know what - those M&Ms get too cold in the ice cream and they hurt my teeth! And I almost died in a rockslide! (And this is when NavyGuy usually starts to tune out my exagerrated ranting, so feel free to move on if you'd like.)

Not much else to report on the Washington front. Must go rest up for the big to-do tomorrow!

*I'm in big trouble. Big, big trouble. How much crafting money do you think I could get for a kidney?


History as Film

More movie reviews! I'm still trying to finish recapping all of the films NavyGuy and I saw over Christmas break. So far we've touched on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, and Slumdog Millionaire. Next up - Valkyrie.

Remember... you may encounter SPOILERS ahead.

So, let's preface this with, I hate Tom Cruise. He's odd, he's turned cute little Katie Holmes into some weird robot, his Scientology makes me want to stock canned goods, and I do not think he's aged well. Despite the fact that Cruise headlines the movie, Valkyrie exceeded my expectations. Cruise plays a German military official who joins forces with others in Germany who are anti-Hitler, and attempts to assassinate Der Fuhrer. Operation Valkyrie was a contingency plan for the country in case of a national emergency; it involved calling up the National Reserve, and Cruise's character (Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg) reworks it in order to take over the German government once Hitler is assassinated.

Anyone who knows their World War II history knows that Hitler is not assassinated. He dies a suicidal death in his bunker as the war ends. But that doesn't matter when you're watching the movie. You spend the entire film knowing that von Stauffenberg isn't going to succeed, and yet, you watch mesmerized, hoping that your history knowledge is failing you. When you realize how many assassination attempts failed by mere chance, it becomes almost painful to watch. The Valkyrie plot failed because it was too hot that day - Hitler's meeting was moved from an indoor bunker to a venue with many windows. Because of the windows, the bomb placed in a briefcase underneath the table in the venue didn't have the immense impact it would have had in a sealed bunker. If the meeting had happened in the sealed bunker, Hitler, and his inner circle, would likely have been killed. Ah, the what ifs.

I digress. The film is just the right length to tell the story (unlike the epic Benjamin Button), and is never dull. Cruise convincingly portrays a German military officer, weighing the risks of following his conscience with the risks of ignoring it. (I will agree with my amateur movie critic friend Miss Kewi that a German accent would have significantly enhanced his performance.) There is enough action and narrative to interest even the history-hater, and the history-lover will leave the theater anxious to go home and Wikipedia the real events to learn more. If this one isn't still in the theaters near you, throw it into your Netflix queue - a reminder of the "what ifs" of history is always good.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

If You Can't Be in Washington on Tuesday...

For you poor saps that have to spend Tuesday actually working, have no fear - I'll watch the Presidential Inauguration coverage on television for you all day (I'm contemplating a drinking game based on the number of times the talking heads use the words "historic" or "Martin Luther King Jr.", but I worry I'll be completely snookered by ten a.m.).

I do want to share a great resource I found online - a guide to the television coverage of the inauguration. Just pick your network or cable channel, and go from there.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Strike a Pose (and Stop Chatting)

NavyGuy and I have countless admirable skills. The list could go on for days. Taking nice photos however, - individually or together - would not make that list. I tend to either blink or produce attractive faces such as this:

NavyGuy, unless he's being poked in the side or tickled, reverts to a mixture of distaste, stoicism, or sheer irritation at the photography process a'la...

I'll spare you the painful photos of the two of us together; the long-standing joke between us is that we have no tangible evidence of our relationship because we have so few decent photos. With that background, you can understand my obsession with making sure we have a plethora of outstanding wedding photographs.

So, as part of our wedding photography package, we nabbed an engagement photo session. Not only was I thrilled to have more frame-worthy shots of us, but I was anxious to meet our photographer before the big day. After having witnessed firsthand the headaches that Sister went through with her photographers on the day of the wedding (which can only be blamed on their lack of listening to what she had requested), I wanted to make sure that NavyGuy and I "clicked" with our picture-taker (whoa, totally just caught the pun, luv it). Would we be comfortable enough in front of him to act lovey? Or would it be awkward and feel staged?

What a relief when approximately four snaps into our session, I knew my gut had been right about this guy. Dave Watkins, our photographer of Narella Studio, rocks. He's young, he's fun, he gives directions, but not too many, he lets you play in front of the camera and captures the moments between the couple without being intrusive, and the three of us hit it off. I feel 100% confident that our session is going to yield some beautiful photos of NavyGuy and I - beautiful because Dave chose only flattering lighting they'll show the real us and how happy we make each other.

We began our photos in the Capital building in downtown Madison, then ventured down some side streets to Monona Terrace. Dave claimed we were naturals in front of the camera! (And to think I doubted my modeling potential.) Apparently our only downfall is that we talk too much! (Shocking.) The photos should be up sometime by the end of January (Dave and his wife just had their first baby - a little girl - so he's a bit pressed for time), and I'll be sure to share once they're available. Mostly I'm just glad the day went smoothly and we enjoyed ourselves (and that I was able to cover up the enormous blemish under my right eye with superstrength concealer - don't get me started about that drama - god bless photoshop).

I also have to give a big shout out to NavyGuy. He hates getting his photograph taken, and didn't admit to me until the shoot was over that it had been the thing he was most nervous about while home for the holidays! You could have never known, based on how calm and cool he was during the photos. Makes me remember the lengths to which this guy will go to make me happy :)

Since I don't have our photos yet to share, I figured I better find some pretty pics for you all to look at! Check out this collection of the Best Wedding Photos of 2008 at JuneBug weddings, and stay tuned for more wedding appointment recaps from the holidays. (They're seriously taking longer to write than expected, but I know some of you out there are wedding-obsessed, so I WILL get to them.)


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Noun/Verb Agreement Are Tough

Slate has a great article today celebrating the best "Bushisms" of the past eight years. You can check out the full article here, but I've included my five favorites below to whet your appetite:

1. "Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream."—LaCrosse, Wis., Oct. 18, 2000

2. "Well, I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's trustworthiness."—CNN online chat, Aug. 30, 2000

3. "There's an old saying in Tennessee—I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again."—Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002

4. "I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."—Washington, D.C., April 18, 2006

5. "One of the great things about books is sometimes there are some fantastic pictures."—U.S. News & World Report, Jan. 3, 2000

Oh George, your verbal dexterity (but not so much you), will be missed.


If only we could watch TV like normal people

~ Watched John Adams again last night. (Part 3 focuses on Adams' time in France and Holland, during the Revolutionary War, trying to convince both countries to aid the United States.)

~ Debated with NavyGuy over which French king was in charge during the Revolutionary War. Called it a tie as neither of us remembered the correct King Louis number (it was 16, we both guessed 15).

~ Debated with NavyGuy over which French king designed the palace at Versailles. One point for Mugs, correctly identifying King Louis 14, the Sun King. NavyGuy argued for bonus points having Wikipedia'd Versailles and adding that it was originally a hunting lodge. Bonus points denied.

~ Debated with NavyGuy over whether or not Versailles is pretty. Another draw. Our third participant (Marine #2) agreed with me that the grounds/gardens are sweet, but took NavyGuy's side when it came to the Hall of Mirrors ("too narrow and ostentacious" plus some other crude remarks about the French).

~ Debated with NavyGuy over when John Quincy Adams becomes president. Negative points for NavyGuy (suggested J.Q. Adams was #4) and Marine #2 (suggested J. Adams was #3). More points for Mugs who correctly listed the first four presidents (Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Madison). Additional points for Mugs for answers a) John Quincy was 1824, and b) Lincoln was #16. However, when I incorrectly placed Polk in the 1820s, my reputation suffered, and all further historical questions were directed to Wikipedia.

So, all in all? Our impromptu history trivia bowl showed that three college degrees, two history majors, and one computer with internet access can make for a pretty interesting John Adams viewing... oh, and I won. (A rematch is inevitable, and I will be studying ahead of time so as to continue my dominance.)


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake!

Drooling yet?

And my sister wondered what in heavens name I would do with a cake dome... (thanks for the bridal shower gift!!)

NavyGuy ate 1/4 of it within twenty minutes of it being frosted. I think it's the pink frosting that won him over. (Yes, I made the cake. Yes, it was a Betty Crocker box mix. Yes, I've made my piece with it.)


Jean Tucking Update

Who knew I would strike such a chord!?!? I should have known that fashion emergencies were what you people really craved (and not hard-hitting news or educational bits).

I purchased some leather spray from the Target today, so I could spray the Uggs and protect them from the elements (or a chance ice cream spill). As soon as they're dry and fully ready to go, I am going to attack the jean-tucking challenge again. Props to Sister for the inside tip (she of the big city mad fashion skills), which will ideally solve this major dilemma.

I will triumph!


Do I Have to Tell People I Live Here?

And just when I was starting to be a grown-up and accept my new home state...

Court Okays Sex Between Teachers, 18 Year Olds

Next they'll probably argue that this is in lieu of a pay raise.


Presents, Presents Everywhere...

My Uggs arrived today!!! NavyGuy got a pair for me for Christmas, but I needed a different size (which, of course, the store would not be getting until after we'd returned to the coast). So, the store shipped my new pair way out here!

I have the short brown version, modeled here by the lovely Ms. Aniston :) I am still working on the whole tucking-my-jeans-into-them scenario. On the one hand, I feel like a 14 year old doing it. On the other hand, having my jeans over the boots makes my feet look clunky and hobbit-esque. On a third hand, the jean tucking route seems to be a vain attempt to make sure people see you're wearing "real Uggs." But, on the fourth practical hand, jean tucking keeps the bottom of your pant legs from getting wet, an especially aggravating and blood boiling common aspect of life here in the flooded Northwest. However, most of my jeans are bootleg, and just don't seem to tuck into the boots correctly... am I doing something wrong? Is this like the tight-roll fad of the late 80s that I could never properly execute? Help me dear readers - jean tucking has become my latest (frivolous) worry.

*Editor's Note: I have chosen to ignore the controversy that surrounds Uggs (as well as Crocs) and rise above the fray. Normally I'm all for making fun of pointless fashion trends, but in this case, I'm just going to say - judge me all you want, those damn boots are comfy and soft, and I will clod around in them with pride.

In other news, fiiiiiiiiiinally started John Adams HBO miniseries - greatness! Several reliable sources had been raving about it for a while, and all of them are free to say "I told you so." I'm only through the first hour (of seven), but already I'm hooked. Excellent performances, costumes, music, casting, and historical accuracy (I was a history teacher in my previous life so my word here is good). The unexpected bit though is that it makes me miss teaching; I catch myself watching segments and deciding which clips I could show the AP U.S. History kids, or what discussion questions I'd use with a class. The full impact of historical events can sometimes be best expressed on the screen - for those of you who've seen it, I'm thinking in particular of the tarring and feathering that happens in the first hour. Off to watch part 2!


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Recipe: Quiche

Another successful venture in the kitchen! Last night's mission: basic quiche. I had grabbed a recipe out of last month's Real Simple magazine, and finally realized that quiche was actually quite simple! (And, a great use for leftover refrigerated pie crusts that I stocked up on for Thanksgiving and never ended up using.) Aside from the cheese that this recipe calls for, the ingredients are pretty cheap, and it filled both NavyGuy and I up without needing anything else for supper.

The recipe can be found here, but I'm going to give my version as well as some notes.

Basic Quiche - Ingredients
- 1 9 inch refrigerated piecrust (any brand works; they usually come two in a box so just freeze the other one for later use)
- 2 medium onions, chopped (I used one big one and it seemed to be enough)
- 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (I didn't measure this either, just chopped up a bunch and kept adding until the mixture looked "green" enough)
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup half-and-half (I used fat-free)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (totally forgot to buy this, so I substituted "one shake" of pumpkin pie seasoning - hey it has nutmeg in it! no complaints from anyone)
- 8 oz. , approx. 2 cups, Gruyere, grated (fancy cheese is expensive! from my online search, I found you could substitute Jarlsberg, Emmantaler, or plain old Swiss. I used Jarlsberg which was still more than I'm used to paying for Kraft cheese slices, but just use what you can find at the store - it's not going to make that much of a difference in terms of taste unless you're a cheese snob)
- salt and pepper
- oil to cook the onions

1. Heat oven to 375. Fit the piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate. Place on a baking sheet. (You totally don't need one of the fancy quiche/tart pans like is in the photo above - I used a regular pie pan, or you could probably even get away with a round cake pan. I sprayed the pan with Pam so the crust wouldn't stick.)

2. Cook the onions in oil over medium-low heat in a skillet, with a little salt and pepper thrown in. Stir occasionally for 5-7 minutes until onion is soft. (My onions were in the pan for a good 15 minutes because it took me longer to grate the cheese than expected. No harm, no foul.) Stir in the parsley.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, half-and-half, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in the onion/parsley mixture, and the grated cheese.

4. Pour the egg mixture into the crust. Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. (Mine needed 40 minutes.) Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

It was awesome - this is now a go-to recipe for me if I need a nice brunch item, or just a quick dinner. Now that I know better how to grate cheese, I could probably do all the prep in less than 20 minutes. You can also jazz it up by adding other vegetables (asparagus, spinach, mushrooms) or meat (diced ham) - it's basically a fancier omlete, so I assume anything that works in an omlete, can probably be added to a quiche!

Let me know if you try it out or have any other variations or tips for this recipe!


Happy Meal

The list of tasks that excite a bride about wedding planning is endless. Choosing flowers, a dress, shoes, linens, invitations - the list is endless. The list of tasks that excite a groom about wedding planning consists merely of any appointment that involves the word "tasting."

Luckily for NavyGuy, two of our wedding appointments while we were home involved the magic word! Cake tasting and food tasting. First up was food tasting at the venue.

Due to our hectic schedule, we had to skip the full tasting at the Overture Center (which was scheduled for a random Saturday in January) and attend a special mini tasting set up for ourselves and two other couples. The Overture Center was able to serve up several entrees and salads for us to try. The head chef attended and gave us great information about all of the menu items. NavyGuy and I knew we were going to select a beef entree and a chicken entree, but after having tasted a few options, we knew we couldn't go wrong with whatever we chose.

The beef will be Prime Rib (which NavyGuy loves), and the chicken is "Chicken Saltimboca," a boneless skinless chicken breast, wrapped in ham and cheese, and drizzled with a yummy brown sauce. Both will have two sides - roasted mixed vegetables (with a good variety of veggies so hopefully everyone can find a few they like), and jasmine rice pilaf. The hors d'oeuvres are still up in the air, but we have time to choose those goodies. If the food is as good at the reception as it was when we tasted it (fingers crossed!), we're in for a great meal!


Monday, January 12, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

For those of you watching the Golden Globes last night, you were thoroughly introduced to this gem of a film (which took home several awards including Best Director and Best Film). NavyGuy and I were able to check it out while home for Christmas; we had a random Friday night open, and realized that seeing it at the Sundance Independent theater in Madison may be our only shot. Though, I suspect with all the word of mouth buzz it's getting, plus the awards, it's going to be coming to a theater somewhere near you soon!

Why go see it then? There are a wealth of great films out right now, and you might be tempted to go see something that feels, a bit more familiar. A bit easier to watch. With recognizable movie stars. And an easier name to remember.

You'd be crazy (CRAZY I SAY!) to miss this one. It's worth coughing up the $8.50 to see it in the theater, and here's why I became such an instant fan (and unpaid PR girl for Danny Boyle):

1. The premise is fun. Jamal, an 18 year old, manages to get onto the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and answers a lot of questions correctly - a lot. So many that the authories get suspicious. You see, Jamal is just a "slumdog," (the derogatory term for a poor child growing up in the slums in India), and no one believes that he could possibly know the answers with his lack of formal education. Through a series of flashbacks, Jamal shows how random experiences in his life allowed him to know the answers.

2. The main character, Jamal, is played by a great young actor Dev Patel. He's a British actor who's only other work is a teen television drama called Skins. The movie's director got wind of him through his daughter, who had seen Patel on tv and thought he'd fit the character of Jamal perfectly. Patel is a cutie pie, and he's fabulous to watch on screen.

3. Equally fabulous are the young actors and actresses who play the characters of Jamal, his older brother Salim, and fellow slum-child Latika, (the girl who steals Jamal's heart) as youngsters. The kids who play these young versions of the characters are both hysterial and heartbreaking.

4. The music in the film rocks. There's a mix of songs traditional to India, some modern pop, and a great instrumental song called "Latika's Theme," which shows up whenever there's a crucial moment between Jamal and Latika. Topping off the great music throughout the film is the traditional Bollywood "dance scene" at the end of the movie featuring the main characters and tons of extras dancing it up in a train station. You leave the theater itching to break into song or at least hip hop down the street to your car.

The movie is just plain great. Not being a formal movie critic, it's hard for me to explain exactly why it's so fabulous. I just know I love it - and I know that if you like romance, like music, like comedy, like drama, and like characters you can root for, you will like this movie. Get thee to the theater! (P.S. For those of you who are subtitle-phobic, have no fear - the majority of the film is in English.)


2009 Calendar - November and December

It's usually about this point in a project that I start to lose steam. I'm anxious to finish it up, my original burst of inspiration and creativity is gone, and it's a challenge/chore to complete the last few pages without them looking shoddy or like duplicates of earlier layouts.

Clearly, by November, the layouts were getting a little... sparse (that's the nicest word I could use for it). But, sometimes sparse and simple is a pleasant change of pace.

The way to avoid a complete meltdown by the end though is to plan the last couple of pages when you're first starting. That way, as you wind down, it's late at night, you're low on supplies, energy, wine, and motivation, you can have a few great pages at the end. I was quite happy when I found this Christmas tree layout on a scrapbook sketch blog Pencil Lines (also linked in the sidebar). It's #115 in their collection, and while I expanded mine to include larger photographers over the entire page, I think it still turned out great

The red buttons are from Target dollar spot mix kit I picked up last Valentine's Day. All of the photos were placed on one green piece of paper, then I glued them all down and simply cut around the outside. The stark red background contrasts nicely.

Another year done, another calendar complete. If I was smart, I'd already be working on next year's...

Hehehe :)


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lazy Sunday

The rain has come down for the fourth day in a row. I now understand the phrase "stir-crazy."

NavyGuy and I tested out our new griddle this morning and made pancakes. We tried to make breakfast with our old griddle (a hand-me-down from his parents) several months ago, and when the Teflon started to come off the griddle and mix with the Bisquick, we knew it was time to invest in a new one. Luckily, we got a griddle from his grandma at the bridal shower, and now we're back in the hotcake business - there are simply no pancakes like griddle pancakes! The griddle spreads out the heat so each pancake browns evenly, and they are simply delicious.

Instead of spending the day moping inside while it rained, we road tripped to Bellingham (about 45 minutes north) to check out a scrapbooking store. PaperZone is my new crack supplier; two ink pads, a couple sheets of lace cardstock, four clearance rolls of ribbon, and a pack of 50 envelopes later, and NavyGuy has now banned me from going to the store without supervision. Barnes and Noble next, where we kept losing each other around the store, until finally we found each other next to the end cap of The Watchmen paperbacks (his original purpose for going in the store that until that point he hadn't been able to find), and we took that as a sign it was time to go. One lap around the Bellis Fair mall (fair to middling), a run through the Dairy Queen drive-thru (Blizzards never disappoint), and home again home again, to watch it keep raining.

Now we're commentating on the Golden Globes. My thoughts so far?
1. I'm glad Sister and Bro-in-Law got us John Adams for Christmas, cuz by the number of awards it's getting, it must be good.
2. Tom Hanks needs to drink less at these events.
3. Renee Zellwegger and JLo need new stylists.
4. If they're going to insist on doing interviews with the stars on the red carpet, then for god's sake, don't try to do them right in front of the SCREAMING throngs of SCREAMING fans. It's uncomfortable enough to watch the interviews when the stars can hear the questions, but when they're just making up answers based on their minimal lip-reading talents, it's unbearable.
5. I would like to say here and now, that I watched 30 Rock before it was cool, and before Tina Fey was the most popular woman in America. If you're still not watching it, start damnit!
6. When I come back in my next life, I want to look like Kate Winslet.

Yes! 30 Rock just won best comedy! (Okay, fine, they won the award like three hours ago, but off in the far-away land that is the West Coast, we're just getting the news... don't get me started. Wait, I've started! How is it that the Globes are live in Hollywood, the same time zone I'm currently in, and yet the Globes weren't on TV here until 8:00 at night!?!?!? Whew, okay, sorry. Just had to get that off my chest.)

Here's hoping Monday is less lazy (and less rainy!).


2009 Calendar - October

Oh Cricut, how I love thee. The tree above? Cricut. The stack of pumpkins below? Cricut. The October heading? I'll give you three guesses... but you won't need them all!

Now, I will admit that the small leaves scattered throughout these pages are from a basic punch, but I could have done them with a cricut cartridge as well. The above page also shows another option for backing or highlighting your photos besides a simple square frame; four small square corners help offset the graduation photo. It's a great trick to use when you start to run low on paper, or only have small scraps with which to work (my inventory of dark brown paper started to deplete by the time I reached the October layout).

Again, remember that these pages still need text; the white space in the upper right corner and lower left corner are intentionally blank, leaving me room to add captions and descriptions.

I'm posting all of these pages to hopefully a) give some basic layout ideas, b) to share easy details that can be added to pages, and c) to have reminders of the calendar since it's now hanging in my grandparents' house!


Saturday, January 10, 2009

2009 Calendar - September

It's been a bit since I've shared any more pages from the calendar Christmas gift; the previous pages can be found starting here. The above page is for September (hence the back to school bus). I couldn't resist adding the photo of Sister's dog Lucy in her bumblebee Halloween costume - the colors matched and she's irresistible!

I would normally be bothered by the white (empty) space on the left hand side of the page, but I needed that space for some captions. When the photographs were just portraits, I wasn't as concerned with captions, but the left and middle photos are both specific action shots, and they definitely needed explanation (otherwise it just looks like my cousin is raising his arms for no apparent reason :).


Beautiful Blossoms

T-Minus 133 days. {pause}

And now my heart has restarted.

According to the almightly, I have 20 overdue items, 137 others still to-do, and just over four months to get it all done. Luckily, NavyGuy and I got lots of stuff done while home for the holidays. Our first big meeting was with his aunt, who generously offered to create our floral designs for the wedding. She and her family run a floral business in Chicago, and while they focus more on interior landscaping for commercial companies, Aunt Flower Lady (as she'll be known around here) used to do many fancy weddings and has years of experience. We're so blessed to have her expertise and creativity at our disposal, and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with for the wedding!

We met at her office, and toured the warehouse and got to see all of the holiday decor that had been used for various events. Their company is quite well known in the area for their fabulous Christmas displays, with wreaths the size of small swimming pools, and many of the wreaths were being stored in the warehouse when we were there. Afterwards, NavyGuy and I sat down with Aunt Flower Lady to talk pink, pink, and more pink :) NavyGuy wins the prize for most patient groom ever, as he endured a two hour discussion of tulips versus orchids, square vases versus circle vases, mint julep containers versus baskets, and ferns versus palms (I never caught him playing with his phone once!).

Without giving away all of the decor, I can say that Aunt Flower Lady has everything covered. She has a great plan for making our ceremony space a little warmer and cozier, with a beautiful altar area and Kentian palms, branches, and white azaleas lining the front of the space. My bouquet, as well as the bridesmaids, are going to be lush and light with roses, hydrangeas, and lots of other wonderful smelling flowers. All of the ceremony flowers will be light pinks and creams, very soft and spring like.

The centerpieces at the reception are going to kick it up a notch with colors that are a little richer, and some green hydrangeas thrown into the mix. Right now we're working with a trio of round glass vases at varying heights for each table, with a mix of pink, cream, and green flowers filling each vase. Many of the ceremony flowers will be reused for the cake table, escort card table, outlining the dance floor, etc., and I have all the confidence in the world that it's going to be breathtaking. Very garden-y, and spring-ish (very technical terms for floral design).

Floral Wedding Inspiration
Floral Wedding Inspiration by MarryingtheNavy


Friday, January 9, 2009

Did he, or didn't he?


Consider yourself warned :)

If for no other reason than to see Meryl Streep, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams in one film, I was excited to see Doubt. Of course, none of them disappointed. The movie is set in 1964 at a Catholic school in Boston. Hoffman plays a new priest at the parish, Father Flynn, Streep is the head nun/principal of the school, Sister Aloysius, and Adams is a naive young nun teaching the 8th grade, Sister James. The story was originally a play, so the majority of the film is talking; despite the lack of car chases and explosions, the film is riveting. Completely absorbing. The hour and a half flies by in a mixture of tense looks, biting and witty dialogue, and contradictory evidence about whether or not Father Flynn committed the offense he's accused of by Streep's character.

You'll agonize at the end of the movie, because the film doesn't give you a definitive answer about the priest's actions; you never know for sure if he's innocent, or if Sister Aloysius was correct in her suspicions and accusation. Possibly, it doesn't matter. Even if the priest did not commit the crime, the idea was out there floating around and that could not be taken back. All three actors give dazzling performance (expect Oscar nominations), and if this limited release makes it to your town, you should definitely check it out.


Benjamin Button's Loooooooong Journey

NavyGuy and I have seen five movies in the past two and a half weeks. Not a record for us, but a good effort :) I will warn you now:


If you want a real "review" of a movie, check out an actual film critic. My posts about movies are not going to hold back (that way, if you don't have time to actually see the movie, you'll know what people are talking about at the next cocktail party, or have the right answers to a Trivial Pursuit game!). If you'd rather not know the salient details of a film, stop reading now.

That was your last warning!

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett
If you're going to this film just to see hot Brad Pitt - don't. Also don't go if you can't sit for three hours without going to the bathroom. The premise of the movie is that Brad's character (Benjamin Button) is born as an old man and "ages" backwards; so by the end of the film, he's very young. It's the story of his life's adventures, including an affair with the wife of an English diplomat, time spent on a tugboat during World War II, and his eventually relationship with Daisy (Blanchett), the girl/woman who had various encounters with him his entire life. Cate B., is great as always, and Brad isn't terrible, but the biggest drawback to the movie is really the length. NavyGuy put it best when he explained, "It's an hour and a half story that got dragged out into three hours."

The most interesting part for me was the last half an hour when Daisy is quite old, and comes back to take care of Benjamin, who has "grown" to a small child. The biggest question or issue in the film is when Benjamin decides to leave Daisy (they got together when they both reached their mid-30s), rather than force her to take care of him as he gets younger; since they only have a few years when they're the same "age," they share that time, and then reluctantly move on with their lives. Daisy marries, raises the daughter she had with Button, and it's never clear whether she is happy with the choice that Button made to leave. Overall, I'd say this is definitely a rental; it's going to win tons of technical awards for the makeup/CGI aging process, but three hours is too long to spend in a movie theater chair.

Stay tuned! Up next is Doubt.

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