Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Thoughts

In the event that anyone cares what has been running through my head this Olympics, I have a treat for you:

  • Every time I see a pool, I smell chlorine.
  • How did I ever swim competitively??? It just so isn't me!
  • Russian [female] gymnasts have much more attractive bodies than American gymnasts. They are prettier to watch, too.
  • I wonder if they serve popcorn at the Olympics?
  • I am pretty sure they use Morgan Freeman to narrate commercials because they all. make. me. cry!
  • Women's basketball fashion could really learn something from women's volleyball fashion.
  • My husband is going to have to start swimming competitively... I always forget how attractive that "look" is. A speedo and a uniform? Um... yes.
  • I'm going to be watching a lot of NBC this fall/winter/spring.
  • I feel really old.
  • I really wish I had learned how to fence. And arch (arch? Is that what you call competing in archery? Clearly I need to learn the terminology because I take up this sport). And I wish I had gotten into rowing... They had a club at Georgia Tech, and did I get involved? No. I suck.
  • Nathan Adrian is not only from this part of Washington, but his mom threatened him with the same things mine did if I quit swimming. It must be a common mom thing.
  • What is with the weird see-through piece on the women's bathing suits in swimming?
  • My husband should have been British and joined their Army... Because then, after 20 years, he could apply to be a Beefeater! (mmm... Beefeater).
  • I'm pudgy. Well, I knew that already, but damn the Olympics for reminding me of this fact (in related news, I have been prescribed an increase in thyroid meds... Go thyroid meds, go!).
  • I always cheer for the home team if "our guys" aren't competing (or if they are, I want the home team to get second, hehe).
  • I'm retiring to the UK. Or at least getting a vacation home there. End of story.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Red, White, and Blue

If you are watching the Olympics at all, one thing that will becoming abundantly clear: citizens of the US do not hold the monopoly on red, white, and blue.

It definitely makes me feel better about my "red, white, and blue" kitchen... Totally not on purpose, I just really like blue, and red makes a pretty fantastic contrast color. Couple that with the fact that I am totally disinterested in painting my kitchen (it came white, and white it shall stay), and I have a patriotic kitchen...

...Only problem is, I find that a little problematic. I'm not against other people going all U-S-A on their food preparation area, I just feel it's a little overdone, especially around the military community. Everyone seems to have one room that is dedicated to Americana, and the kitchen is no stranger to this phenomenon. It's something I have desperately trying to resist for several years now, and it's been a losing battle.

Thankfully, the Olympics came along and saved me. No longer do I have to consider my cook space a shrine to the stars and stripes, I can choose any one of the many other countries who wave red, white, and blue colors: South Korea, France, Russia, United Kingdom... Personally, I'm a little partial to the Union Jack, but I'm open to others, as well.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Christmas Comes Early

We have this thing called a "coffee group" in the Army. Essentially, it's an excuse for the officer and the "management" NCO wives (or husbands!) to get together and socialize under the guise of doing unit business. Don't quote me on any of this, as my coffee group is the first of which I have ever been apart, but I dig it, nonetheless. It's usually a lot of fun to get together with your husband's colleagues' spouses and just talk about... I don't even remember what... and then spend about 5 minutes going over upcoming events to which most of us have no intention of ever going. Woo Hoo!

I have my own little hypothesis about how these groups came about. It has a lot to do with the fact that everyone used to live on post, 99% of the officer wives were house wives, and there wasn't a whole hell of a lot to do other than micromanage every teeny tiny aspect of "society" possible. Again, I'm basing this assessment off of countless biographies and autobiographies written about being an officer wive during the 1950-1970s period, none of which mentioned "coffee group." So, in my own little world, coffee group was the evil henchman pulling the strings of the Officer Wives Club (think DAR, Junior League, etc).

I'm probably way off.

Anyway, this has nothing to do with my fictional portrayal of the Hat and Glove Army wife era (that really did exist... I can't make up something that sounds that boring, now can I?), so back to coffee group.

When we got to Fort Lewis, coffee group no longer existed in S's unit. Apparently, the commander's wife and the FRSA (Family Readiness Support... Assistant?) got together for coffee and others were invited, but no one went. And I had a breastfeeding infant... No Bueno. Long story short, the battalion got a new commander and his wife brought back the glory of the coffee group in January. We meet once a month, a new person hosts every month, and she (or he) can do so wherever or however she/he wants. Our first coffee was a breakfast theme at the commander's house, we've had them at coffee shops, and learned how to make jam. It's all good fun, there's usually food, and no one really eats any of it. I thought I was hosting the coffee for this month, but apparently I was wrong!

Christmas came early, folks!

Who doesn't love an old picture of a Homecoming Tailgate?
And a ghetto one at that.
We got an email from the commander's wife (if you haven't guessed, she's our fearless leader) saying someone else was hosting... News to me, but obviously, very welcome news. You see, I was really stressing about it. Why? (A) Usually coffee group meets at the end of the month, and I am hoping to be in GA during that time. (B) I still haven't bought a carpet cleaner, so my carpets look all dingey (Washington dirt sucks, dude), and I really can't have people see how gross it looks (Except for Amanda... she and I have an understanding). (C) I wanted to do a football tailgating theme (Go Jackets!), but I don't know where I could do that that isn't totally lame. I thought about my "awesome" back yard, but I don't have any patio furniture (we thought about buying some, but it's almost winter here in WA, and that still hasn't happened, yet. Maybe next year...). And even if I did, that's still lame.

Oh, well. Thankfully: crisis averted.

Best part (other than me not hosting, of course): This month's theme. Death by Belgian Chocolate....

... Um. Yeah!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Selling the Yard

We have almost half a percent of what we will need to adopt. Yey!

Or... er... wow.

Anyway, I think we're also going to have a yard sale. Not because we think it will pull in a lot for the adoption fund (maybe we will double what we have!), but because I am desperately hoping we will PCS in the near-ish future, and we have GOT to get rid of some stuff. I'm just no longer "into" keeping around things we got when we were first married and have yet to use. Or two irons... Why are we keeping around two irons?! I can honestly say the one I took to college with me was used... once at most. I don't need two rice cookers, I don't need five million plastic white bins (thanks, S), and I don't need fifty pounds worth of Yankee Candles I have never once burned.

It's time for them to go.

Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of furniture to get rid of... And that seems to be the big crowd pleaser at a yard sale. We've been pretty good about keeping that to a minimum (ish). So, S sent an email to our neighborhood organizer guy and asked if anyone else was planning on having a yard sale in the near future. And if he knows of anyone who has a "Goodwill" pile who wouldn't mind donating it to us first for the adoption fund. If we can't sell it, we'll take it to Goodwill for them.

I'm also writing every night for at least 1,000 words in hopes of finishing up my damn book! As of this moment, I have just under 90,000 words and my original goal was 100,000. I am going to have to increase that by quite a bit, but I am hoping I can have it finished by the end of September at the very latest. Then, query letters are going out. I am extremely nervous about that portion of the whole process, as I know absolutely no one who has had success in this particular area. I'm hoping the whole been published before thing helps, but I am guessing that won't really help my case much... Maybe I should mention that any money I make from it will go to my adoption?


Didn't think so.

So, that's where we are with that.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Week 2: The Parental Units

I like to think I am a lot like my parents. I like being a lot like my parents. Because they are pretty flippin' fantastic.

For those of you who don't know, my mother grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Yes, she glows at night (she totally does not, but it's fun to tell people that). Her parents worked for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (I think that's what it is/was/could be called), socialized with Dr. Oppenheimer (yes, that Oppenheimer) and her neighbor was the foremost  expert on ball lightning (no idea what that is). If you can't tell, yet, she has some pretty amazing stories. Her mother was a Cornell graduate from Rochester, NY and her father was a Purdue graduate from Buffalo, NY. They were pretty amazing people, so long as they were not together... Or so I am told. I wish I had gotten the opportunity to know both of them better than I did, especially if my mom is any example of their awesomeness. My mom ended up taking a scholarship to Florida State where she earned 2 degrees in Dance and a minor in English. She was a professional ballet dancer for many moons, and now works for a Ga university. She has a much younger sister and brother (they are closer in age to me), and was an older child until she hit 16.

My Dad grew up all over. When he was young, his father, an Alabama alum, joined the FBI. They moved to all sorts of fabulous places such a Detroit, Michigan and Delmar, NY... Yeah. That was sarcasm. There are all kinds of fabulous stories about my dad getting shot at and my uncle asking to be dropped off at the nearby orphanage. My grandmother is an artist--she does beautiful water colors and oil paintings--and stayed home with my Dad, uncle, and aunt (and when they became too much for her, she hid behind the furnace in the basement). My dad graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (you get a gold star if you know what/how amazing it is) with a degree in bio-chemical engineering (bio-medical engineering? I don't remember) and does absolutely nothing with it. He now works for a company that does insurance adjusting, but I have no idea what it is he does... Sorry, Dad.

Like I said, I think I am a lot like both of my parents. Education was clearly important to both of their families, and it's very important to me, too. I took my education very seriously, and I think my accomplishments speak to that... I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty proud of graduating with honors from one of the best academic institutions in the world! My academic competitiveness comes from my mom, I think.... I wanted to be top in my class. But when I wasn't the very best, I was able to live it--thanks, Dad.

My dad and I have very similar senses of humor. I'm not sure I can really describe it, because, well... no one else really gets it. I was lucky to find S, who has the same rare gem, but I think even he gets a little taken aback when my dad and I get started. My mom has a terrific sense of humor, too, but it isn't the same... She and my brother have their senses of humor in common.

My dad and I are also the introverts of the family. We don't like people much, but do fine when around them. We're much happier sitting and listening/observing than being in the center of it all (although this does not hold true for family gatherings in which politics come up). My mom, on the other hand, is a social all-star and type A personality. I love her for it, but her comfort zone far out-reaches my own.

I think the one thing that baffles them about me is the fact that I married someone in the military. They also think I am a little weird because I want to adopt... Not because they are against it, just because it isn't something they had a desire to do. But the most important thing is something I got from them, which is the power to think for myself, have an opinion, and being able to express it.

And... that's all I've got. Pretty mushy, huh?

If you want to jump in on the blog challenge, start here! And when you're done doing that, go check out Kelley's blog for some crafty goodness. Also, add yourself to the linky thingy:

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Air Show

Yesterday, we attempted to go to the air exposition at the AFB during S's lunch break. He came home, we packed up E, and headed over. We parked, walked a mile onto the tarmac and waited in a half-mile-long line to get through security. And waited. And waited. And waited. An hour and forty-five minutes into waiting, S had to go back to work. I called a friend to see if she and her family were already there, and when they weren't, I asked how close they were so I could offer them our place in line. No where close.

So, we left.

About half an hour later, I got a phone call from said friend who said "Where were you? We waited less than five minutes and walked right in."

Well, isn't that just fan-flipping-tastic? It turns out if we had gone through the back gate (many miles from our house) instead of the main gate (not many miles from our house), we would have ended up with other military families who didn't have to wait in the enormous open-to-the-public line. I wanted to scream and throw things. But I didn't. I was good.

To make up for my disappointment, S said he would take off most of today so we could try, again (he won't have a day off--weekends included--until who knows when. End of August, maybe?). We headed back in, parked further away, missed the shuttle (as in, the people who were already waiting for it had been waiting 20 minutes and there was no sign of it, so we walked. Of course, two minutes later, the shuttle showed up. Oh well). So, we walked the mile to the back gate and got in after a quick search of our camera bag, stroller, and folding chairs. Security was pretty tight--the only food allowed in was for medical reasons (as in you have diabetes and it's emergency sugar) and the only beverages allowed were breast milk/formula in a bottle or water in clear plastic. It didn't make a damn bit of difference to me, and I can appreciate the safety precautions on a military base hosting 100,000 people (well, that's how many they had yesterday).

So, we made our way up to the flight line, undid our folding chairs, and prepared to watch the show. And then it started raining. And was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. When the visibility got bad enough, they stopped flying for a short period. We let E go see some of the helicopters and Army vehicles, snapped a few pictures, and then watched some more. I would have loved to stay until the very end, but E was getting cranky, needed a new diaper, and S had to get back to work.

It was nice to feel part of the military community for once. It felt good. Special. Cold and a little wet.... but I blame Washington for that last part.

And now for the fun part (sorry my pictures suck...I'm not much of a photographer):

Friday, July 20, 2012

A Little Known Fact About Moi

So, I have this really annoying habit. I tend to withhold information when I think the people that matter will look down on me because of that information... For example, I struggled with how to tell my parents I was pregnant for a couple weeks, simply because I was terrified they were going to mad, disappointed, condescending... I'm not entirely sure why I thought that, especially since I was twenty-four at the time, had a full-time job, was married, had a degree, was working on a MA, and was able to pay all of my bills. I suppose it's because in a lot of ways, I still feel like I am about 17 years old and need their permission and acceptance to exist. Even though that is not remotely true.

I welcome and value their opinions. I want them to be proud, support me and my decisions, love me and my family, and even though they have never withheld any of the above, something inside me thinks they might if I do something "reckless" enough (Does anyone else find it ironic that my idea of "reckless" is procreating? Obviously, I have issues).

Same thing with my husband. I have been wrestling with myself for two days, wanting to talk to him about something, but every time I open my mouth, I can't seem to do it. I am afraid that he will turn me down, think me unreasonable, crush my heart, stomp on my dreams... And for absolutely no good reason. He has never done that before, so I am not entirely sure why I think he's going to start all of a sudden.

Obviously, I have some sort of unresolved issues with something from my deep, dark past (pfftt, hahaha... yeah...right), but don't ask me what the heck those might be, because I have no idea. And if I want to get past this next hurdle, I'm going to have to talk to him about it... And after I get over that initial shock, I can move on to the paranoia that my parents will want to disown me. Which is really sad, because I am the heir to their vast estate (If you can find the one non-truth in the series of truth in that paragraph, hats off to you).

Why do I feel like a 14-year-old trying to talk to her parents about getting birth control? Seriously?

Ugh, anyway, while I eat myself up inside, you can be captivated by the most beautiful (and slightly damaged) smile in the world:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Planes Over My Hammy, Weird Smiles, and My Sad Mental State: Welcome to Thursday

This morning, we were rudely awakened by the sonic booming of fighter jets.

Okay, maybe we were already awake... But still, it was quite the shock.

You see, we live very near the Air Force Base... Well, technically, it's no longer an AFB because McChord AFB and Fort Lewis were consolidated into Joint Base Lewis-McChord a few years back. Aka JBLM... Or if you ask my husband, "Jiblam." Anyway, we're so close, we can hear the playing of Taps at the end of the day (we can hear the other stuff, too, I just have no idea what it is they play at 1700 and I am not awake for reveille... Dear lord, I had better not be awake for reveille). So, you see, we're used to the occasional flight formation training taking place up above (we also get a fair amount of Blackhawks, Chinooks, and C130s, but they are much, much quieter). However, this morning was different. This morning it did not stop. They were crazy loud, and had the dogs freaking the freak out, so we had to leave. E and I went for a walk, which was actually pretty fun, because we could really see them in action.

Later, come to find out, there is an air show this weekend.... HUGE surprise to me, since I was sure the air show was back in June. Oops. Well, I'm actually pretty excited to find out I didn't, in fact, miss it, and I think we are going to try to go, S's schedule permitting.

And while all of that is incredibly exciting, it certainly takes the back seat to what really set this day on it's ear: E chipped her top, left, front tooth.

I was mopping--never happens--and she was happily cleaning the top of our "coffee table" (it's an old steamer trunk) with baby wipes she swiped. The next thing I know, she's in the bathroom flushing the toilet (her new favorite activity), so I tell her to go sit down (in angry mom tone) and turn back around to finish the last corner of the kitchen.

Crash, bang, lots of screaming. I get to her, and she's flat on her face on the hardwood floor. I pick her up, assess the damage, but all I can see if the blood from where she bit her tongue. We have some water, calm down, cuddle with her favorite stuffed animal, and then I see it... or, rather, don't see it: the corner of her tooth... or lack thereof.

I, of course, immediately freak out and wonder what the hell I am supposed to do; do I take her to the ER? Do I call the pediatrician? We don't have a dentist here, yet (oops), so I am at a complete loss. Naturally, I do what any first-time mom does, and I call my husband and cry. A lot. He gets me to calm down enough that I call a local pediatric dentist and schedule an appointment for them to look at the tooth.

And then the other shoe drops... Either we messed up and didn't enroll her with dental coverage when we enrolled me (it's separate from regular Tricare), or they messed up and didn't add her. Either way, she has no dental coverage, and won't until August 1 when they fix the situation. Dollar signs begin to flash in my head, and I can just see our entire savings account down the tube.

Fortunately for us (and unfortunately for the tooth), there is nothing they can or really want to do about it, so we're only out the cost of a dental check-up. It turned out to be a relatively harmless $61--they had prepared us for $84 just for the "emergency evaluation of a single tooth," but someone somewhere took pity on us, and we eeked out just under the cost of a dinner out to Outback (super expensive... I totally make a better steak at home, too, and for so much less money!). I feel so bad, I have vowed never to mop the floor again. I know, it's a real sacrifice, but it's for the safety of my family.

My poor baby :-(.

This whole episode only served to remind me how little money we actually "have." I mean, we're making it, and we save pretty consistently, we are able to pay all of our bills, clothe ourselves and E, buy groceries, but there isn't a whole lot left over for extras... Now, this is completely a self-imposed limit on funds. When S got promoted, we started doubling the payments we made towards our car in an attempt to pay it off early (4 years early, I might add), but it's a good practice... You know, pretending we don't have money we actually do have. I also started saving twice as much of his paycheck, as well. Good stuff, but totally makes me feel like we have no money (which we don't... because it's gone. And the savings account counts).

Anyway, in freaking out about how I will pay the thousands of dollars of dental work E will need ($61!!!! $61!!!!!), I realize how hopeless the whole adoption thing is. Which really isn't the conclusion I want to come to, since I go check on the darling little girl's status about twenty times a day (also, I have to go back and change "my" to "the"... bad times, guys. Bad times). It's terrible and I know I shouldn't do it, but I do anyway: I type in Reece's Rainbow's URL, and hold myself back from entering her "name" into the search box. Instead, I go see if anyone else has found their forever family, read through the newly listed children, and then seek her out. And even then, I'm not sure if I feel relieved she hasn't found another family or incredibly saddened that she hasn't found another family.

I'm not sure what this says about me, but I have a feeling whatever it is isn't good...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mom Moments

Moms, ever heard of Wittlebee?? It sounds like fun! I am debating about whether or not I am going to order next month... If you're interested, follow the link and we can both get some credits!

Speaking of momming it up, I'm struggling a little bit here. At least in the family planning aspect. I find myself incredibly confused about what I want the "family plan" to be over the next few years, and I feel like that decision needs to be made. And soon.

After E was born, the plan was to wait 2 years, try again, and hope for another Autumn birthday. I was down with that plan up until about, oh... 3, 4 months ago. All of a sudden, I am not feeling the getting pregnant thing. I'm not excited about having another newborn, or losing my body (half-fixed as it is), and going through all of the health issues that followed the last pregnancy. I'm not excited about a million wake-ups and feedings and the whining... Oh dear pepper-poppers, the whining.

And I'm excited about adopting. But I'm not sure if that is because I am excited about adopting, or just not excited about all of that crap I listed above. Against my better judgement, I seem to have gotten hooked by the picture of a little girl orphaned somewhere in Eastern Europe. Unfortunately for me, I followed one too many blog links, saw her picture, and just want to be able to give her a hug. A real hug. I look at her list of issues and find myself saying "I could take that on," when really, a sane person would be talking themselves out getting caring for a small child with those physical needs.

Last night, I may have gone a little insane and asked my husband if we could swing it. Now, normally, I would say he's the more emotional of the two of us. I'm always very methodological about the decisions I make, whereas he's more of a go-with-your-gut sort. However, when it comes to the underdog, I usually fling all of that out the window... which is how I ended up with three dogs and a cat (damn you, animal shelters!). His response, of course, was "we don't have $25,000." Which is true. We don't have a spare $25,000 lying around. And what little money we do have stashed away is earmarked for other things. Well played, reason. Well played.

So, I pouted for awhile, looked at her pictures some more, and dreamed about her half of the night. The other half of the night, I dreamed about E. And when I woke up, I felt a little reluctance at letting someone else--anyone else--take any of my time away from her. Perhaps for selfish reasons--OMG, there could be two of them!--and perhaps for the same unselfish reasons parents the world 'round go through when they begin to plan for another child. I'm not sure what it is or what I want or why everything has changed so suddenly.

Part of me wants to say "to hell with the plan," get on the phone, and contact the adoption agency at the top of the list and get this show on the road. If we were to do that, we could probably get it done before it will interfere with Captain's Career Course (wherever that may be...). I just can't see the Army saying "Yeah, take 3 weeks off of school for personal reasons! We'd love that!", so any adoption plan would have to come after he finished it (right?).... And that could be 2-3 years down the road. Another part of me wants to just say "okay, the plan has been the plan for awhile. You made those decisions for a reason, stick to it." Who knows, maybe I'll get the baby fever, again, and all of this worry will be superfluous. And part of me wants to say "to hell with it all."

It's like I am being pulled by my arms and a leg, and the leg I am left to stand on is getting a cramp. Pretty soon, I'm going to fall on my ass and it isn't going to be pretty.

As an aside, I have been thinking about adding ads to my page to generate a little extra adoption mullah... Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Blog Challenge Week 1

Me 10 years ago vs. Me now.

Ten years ago, I was sixteen. I'm not going to lie, I was not, in any way, a glamorous sixteen-year-old. I wasn't even a semi-glamorous sixteen-year-old. You know in high school drama/comedies there is always that pretty-but-doesn't-know-she-is-pretty-extremely-smart-and-talented female lead? Yeah, not me, either. If I even made it on camera, I was the chubby one wearing bad clothes, trying to be cutting edge, and failing miserably.

Teenage me was awkward at best and lost, lost, lost.

At this time 10 years ago, I was getting ready to go to a new school. Not because we had moved or anything, but because the school district changed and we were re-routed to a brand new high school. I was to be in the first graduating class, so I was one of only 200 juniors making the move. I thought it was going to be a good experience. I could "start over," reinvent myself. Did that happen? In a round-about sort of way.

The summer of my sixteenth year, I was lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons full-time at an outdoor YMCA. I was driving a 1981 Volvo that had no air conditioning and a sunroof that cranked open. That car was wonderful and a nightmare all at the same time. It had hideous blue upholstery, the powder-blue paint was cracking and peeling, and I had to duct tape the front left headlight to keep it from falling out of the car. Every once in awhile, the turn signal would quit working, so I would have to pull over to kick it back into submission.

I was no longer swimming at that point. I can't remember when I officially gave up, but know it was by the time I had reached that summer. I often wonder why or how I lasted that long in a sport... Any sport. I'm just not much of an athlete, even when I was training and competing all of the time. I often wonder if I should have continued dancing, but I never really had the body for it, and well, let's face it, that's the kind of thing that you look back on and say "what the hell was I thinking?" but in reality, would I have actually enjoyed it? Who knows?

Oh, well.

I loved to read, I was in love with Coldplay, in love with Scotland, and in love with the idea of writing. I hadn't done much of it at that point, but I wanted to. I would write little snippets and dream up entire novels in my mind. The discipline that actually came with writing came later. I'm not sure when, but it took me awhile, but when it did happen, it didn't stop.

At sixteen, college was a near-distant mystery; something to plan for, but something so far away, it might as well be light-years. I had no idea what I wanted to do, where I wanted to do it, or why. I was 16... why should I know? I didn't actually think I would end up at Georgia Tech, that's for sure. And I certainly didn't think I would be an historian. At sixteen, I liked history, but my academic strengths were pretty all over the place, then.

Ten years later, I wish I could go back and have a nice long chat with that girl. Not necessarily to tell her how wrong she was, because,  for the most part, I think I made a lot of the right decisions. That new school was simultaneously the best and worst thing that had ever happened to me... In being a horrible decision, it led to amazing decisions. Decisions that made me a far better student, scholar, and probably person. It sent me across the world to the one place I have ever fallen in love with, to the one place that taught me how to write. But I would ask her to work on the clothes. And the hair. And definitely the make-up. I'd ask her to be a little more outgoing and a little less completely terrified of people.

Amazingly, a lot of my goals then are the same they were when I was sixteen. I wanted to be a writer when I was sixteen, and that desire has only increased in the past decade. I probably appreciate the craft much more than I ever did as a teenager, but then, what teenager isn't overly optimistic about the work involved in life (don't answer that)?

But if you had told me at sixteen that I would be married and have a child in ten years, I would have laughed. And laughed. And laughed. I was convinced I was one of those women who would be well into her thirties before she ever settled down. And an Army wife? Pfft. I was an anti-war hippy. Besides, I was convinced I was going to do something extraordinary... at twenty-six, I can honestly say: being extraordinary is over-rated and requires a lot of work.

And work has never really been my strong suit...

I'm still going to be extraordinary... It's just going to take me a little longer than I had originally planned, and it might not come with as much money as I planned in my head. If one of my books becomes an international success, you better believe I'm going to be all over that... But sometimes, there are a few more important things that should come first.

In the event that you made it this far, perhaps you would like to drown out my incessant rambling by checking out one of the blogs I faithfully read: Working On My Moon Tan.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Blogging Challenge: Intro!

This seems incredibly cheesy, so I am going to apologize in advance. But what it all really boils down to is: I need something to do while I procrastinate from working on my writing, and writing is the only thing I can think of. Ironic? Yeah, I thought so, too.

So, I was talking with a few of my lady-friends (and no, not in the 70-year-old man in a nursing home sense of "lady-friends") and it has been decided that a blog challenge is in order. I've never actually done a blogging challenge before, and the ones I have seen seem kind of lame, so we're coming up with our own.

Here are the rules:
  • The blog-every-single-day thing seems to be a little... scary for a lot of people. So, we're shooting for once-a-week blogging for 8 weeks.
  • Blog challenges will be "due"/rollover on Sunday nights at midnight. I know this sounds a lot like a class project, but hey, we're all gluttons for punishment, anyway, right?
  • Post the challenge/challenge rules before you write your first blog-challenge blog, and link back to it with each blog-challenge post (then say blog challenge ten times fast!). This way, your readers can join in on the fun.
  • And, just to shake things up, at the bottom of each blog challenge blog, post the link to another blog you read regularly. Think of it as a grab bag for your readers. Or just utter ridiculousness on my part.
  • Try to comment on other blogs doing the challenge. Let the blogger know you're reading and doing the challenge, too!
  • Take the topics as seriously or as lightly as you would like.
  • Write as much or as little as you would like.
  • Use visuals if and how you see fit.
  • Have fun and share!

Now... For the topics!

  • Week 1: Compare and contrast: yourself now vs. yourself ten years ago.
  • Week 2: How are you like your parents? How are you different?
  • Week 3: Who and what makes up your "community?" How do you define that community?
  • Week 4: A social situation you struggle with and why.
  • Week 5: How do you define yourself?
  • Week 6: What is a goal you have or want to set for yourself? How are you going to achieve it?
  • Week 7: A funny story about something dumb you have done.
  • Week 8: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reason No. 435 I need to Move

There is this volcano approximately an hour away from my house. It's pretty famous. Perhaps you've heard of it before?

Mt Rainier

I'm not going to lie. This bad boy scares the crap out of me.

Friends and acquaintances are always telling me that we must go hike it. Or see it. Or be near to it. Touch it, feel it, be one with the mountain. Um... No. It's a volcano, not a yurt. I am not going near that thing with a 20 mile pole. In fact, one of my friends invited me out to the river in Orting, and we went... I was terrified the entire time I was there. And yesterday, when thunderstorms began sweeping the area (they are very rare here... something to do with the mountains?), I was sure the thing was exploding.

Now that I come off as a complete nutjob, here just a few fun-filled facts about the active volcano that is lurking in the not-so-distant distance.
  • I can see the VOLCANO Rainier from my house. Or, at least the street. I kind of sort of have to go outside and walk up the hill to see it over the trees, but it's there. Being a giant asshole.
  • It's considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world. Great.
  • It's on the Decades Volcano list. Meaning: YOU DON'T WANT TO LIVE ANYWHERE NEAR IT. (Also, who doesn't love a wikipedia source?)
  • The thing is covered in glaciers, which means when it does erupt, all that ice is going to melt, rush down the volcano, and take out everything around it. And that's just the ice. Forget the fiery, molten stuff.
  • An average of 30 earthquakes take place at the peak every year (source)... That thing isn't joking around.
When I respectfully decline going near that giant death trap, someone always tells me "it hasn't erupted in over a century. It's fine."

My response: It's due.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Get Ready People! It's Almost Time to Celebrate!

'Cause we have $49.39 in the adoption fund! Yes, folks, that's $0.61 away from a whopping $50. Or, for those of you who are percentage whores: an exact 0.2%.

fundraiser ideas
to track your green fundraisers

Putting it this way, just makes it seem all that much more pathetic.


I have somehow gotten sucked into an Australian teen drama called Dance Academy. I needed something to watch the other day, and it was suggested on Netflix... Not that I am entirely sure why it was suggested on Netflix. S has been watching buttloads of Psych, and most of my Netflix watching has been period British dramas.

Also: I need to remember that E must go down for her nap around the same time every day... otherwise, she'll never sleep and she becomes a complete mess.

So much for an hour of adult time...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On The Fringes of Army Life

S has been under a lot of stress since the beginning of June with the battalion's current mission. It's a lot of really weird hours and work, and on top of that, his current commander is getting ready to leave, so he's also doing a lot of inventory for his platoon. Last night while eating dinner, S mentioned that he and the other officers in his company had been given the in-coming commander's mission statement--this is totally not about the mission statement, but I think the new commander's enthusiasm and excitement is a little much for the already exhausted company to take in...

...Anyway, that reminded me of the upcoming change of command ceremony, which he had previously mentioned he would like me to come to. I have gone to all of the change of command ceremonies since we got to this battalion a year and a half ago... which seems kind of weird. I am the only one, other than the battalion commander's wife, who has gone to them all. Or... any of them? I was feeling kind of concerned that perhaps I really wasn't supposed to be going to all those events since, well... no one else does.

He assures me that not only am I invited, but that the fact that I go to everything has been noted, is very much appreciated, and even the battalion commander has commented on how wonderful it is that I participate in that kind of event. I'm still a little skeptical, but S was quite adamant that it's a good thing. Okay, well.... cool.

This got us talking about the changing social climate of the Army. It's changing, it's been changing, and it's going to continue to change. Apparently, having spouses at change of command ceremonies was not only welcomed in the past, but it was expected. A lot of things were expected, even in the last 6 years, when he left his enlisted obligation for ROTC. Now? Not so much... If your spouse comes, great. Otherwise, no biggie.

It made me realize that I had no idea what it is to be an "Army Wife" anymore. I mean, obviously, the basics are true: be female, be married to someone in the Army. Duh. But there used to be so much more than that... For frontier Army wives, it meant being married to a West Pointer (enlisted personnel were unable to marry), having horrible living conditions, traveling in a rocking chair in the back of a wagon, and befriending woodland creatures (I kid you not... One of the best-kept frontier Army wife diaries chronicles all of the pets the woman kept... to include a squirrel and a deer). In the twentieth century, it included a lot of social obligations, especially if you were an officer's wife, donning a hat and gloves... Drinking lots of coffee... Even when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started, it meant FRG meetings, yellow ribbon magnets, strong sisterly-bonding.

But, now... Now, I have no idea. I have a few friends who are Army wives here at Fort Lewis, but none of them are in the same unit as S. My husband hasn't deployed since 2006 and there is not even rumor that he is going to in the next couple years. FRG meetings are quarterly affairs, and when they do happen, only a small handful of the other spouses bother coming, and those that do come are rarely people with whom I can be friendly without getting my husband in trouble for fraternization. Once a month, I am lucky enough to get together with the other officer wives for our coffee group, which is wonderful, but it just doesn't feel like enough to make an "Army life."

I've often wondered if the fact that we don't live on post has something to do with it. I don't feel like much of an Army wife because I am so far removed from it. I don't know what it's like to have neighbors in my same situation. Or hear the bugle at 1700 or Taps at 2300 (although, sometimes we can hear those things coming from the AFB). I want to have friendly neighborhood barbecues and watch my kid walk to school in the morning. Really, I'm probably looking to live in a small town in the South sometime during the 1950s minus sexism, racism, and more high tech gear--you know, people sitting on their front porch at dusk, watching their children catch fireflies and yelling to the neighbors across the street. But you know what I mean.

So, I guess this leaves me somewhere on the fringes of the Army life. I'd like to blame the lack of on-post housing (or even adequate on-post housing... but that's neither here nor there), but I'm not sure that would make a difference. It could... but who's to say for sure? It'd be nice to say "we'll just give it a try at our next duty station," but that's unlikely. Even if we didn't want to try to buy the next time around, we have too many pets to get on-post housing at most installations. Fort Lewis is the only one to take more than 2. It's just not in the cards for us, at least not in the near future.

Anyway, this is an identity question I have been trying to answer for myself for awhile. Am I an Army wife? Or am I just married to someone who happens to serve in the Army?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Extreme Art of Re-Purposing

The blog... Still under construction. But, we'll just consider it one of those minor construction jobs like when a road crew repaves or a building gets a new coat of paint. Much less severe than, say, taking a wrecking ball to a building and then starting over from scratch.

But, the blogging can still go on even if the windows are being washed (yeah... I really need to stop trying to make construction analogies).

A few days ago, I announced that we have officially started our adoption fund. At the time, we had $41.39, but I think the amount is now closer to $46.48(give or take some change). In case you were wondering, the fund looks something like this:

Crafting at its finest

I'm oddly proud of my empty, washed-out iced tea jug. We actually had the idea to take some of the leftover chalkboard paint from one of our DIY projects (blog to follow... if we ever finish the last 10%!) and paint a little square on there so we can manually keep count. If nothing else, it might cut back on the number of times I dump all those coins on the living room floor and count them by hand (tons of fun at midnight, by the way).

However, I'm also feeling a little... overwhelmed. The task of raising somewhere upwards of $25,000 is a daunting task, especially when you're sitting at $45.39. In case you were wondering, that's somewhere in the realm of 0.2%. As in: no where near 1%. This was put into huge perspective when I read Lora's post this afternoon. (For her full site, click the My Camo Kids button on the right!)

And here's one of the reasons why (warning, this made me cry for about 10 minutes straight... so, viewers beware):

I'm really not sure where to go from here. I mean, obviously, I am going to continue to drop dimes (and pennies, nickles, quarters, dollar bills...) into my pathetic plastic jug, and maybe in about five years, I will have raised enough to get a home study done. I'm seriously considering having a yard sale and sticking whatever money we make doing that into the adoption bottle, but it seems like a lot of work for the very limited amount of stuff I want to get rid of (it would be nice to get that stuff out of my garage, though! And it needs to happen before the next PCS, because I am not hauling it back across the country).

If you have any fundraising ideas that don't scream "pathetic!" and "You're-getting-way-ahead-of-yourself!" please let me know...

Still Under Construction

I think I have most of the bugs worked out... I would consider myself about 80% done at this point. But, I need your help...

... Does my layout look totally jacked up? Or have I finally gotten the HTML worked out to fit anybodies screen?

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Bear with me while I completely mess up my blog. I see I am going to have to pull out the good ole Computer Science textbook to refresh my HTML skillz.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


That's the amount that currently exists in the adoption fund.

Just When You Think You Know Where You Stand With the Army...

... They go and change the game.

I mentioned this in passing a few days before, but didn't go into a whole lot of detail. S got a form letter from "the Army" saying he had been pre-qualified to apply for Special Forces, Psychological Operations, or Civil Affairs. I am pretty sure this is one of those things where if you are a 1LT and breathing, you are "pre-qualified," but I actually have absolutely no idea how this whole process works... Other than the fact that there are quite a few catches.
  • He has to apply to these schools by December 2012.
  • To apply, he will have had to already taken a few assessment tests
  • This will be his only chance to move into one of these specialties.
  • He will leave the Logistics field.
I think that last one is the real kicker for him. He really likes Logistics and was fully prepared to make that his career for the rest of forever. We have been planning for the inevitable move to the Logistics Captain's Career Course in Virginia, and he's gone all gung-ho mustlearneverything!!! about it. But this came up, and he looked into them a little, and I think he really likes the idea of Civil Affairs.

I did some asking around with the Army Officers' Wives board, and based on the answers some of the CA wives gave, he really likes the types of missions the CA officers seem to do; they "speak" to him and his philosophy on how the Army should be working as a whole. We're still trying to figure out a lot of things about the branch, how it works, etc, but right now, at least, we're proceeding as though he will apply (which obviously doesn't mean he will be accepted...).

Some of the things that are making this a hard decision:
  • Civil Affairs is growing while the rest of the military is shrinking. Pro
  • The missions seem very rewarding. Pro
  • The main installations would bring us close to home. Pro
  • The main installations are not installations we would really ever choose. Con
  • It sounds like their deployments are shorter than most Army deployments. Pro
  • It sounds like they deploy more often than most units. Con
  • He would have a year of schooling. Pro (school time is usually really low key and means lots of family time).
  • We have been given the impression that the Army would be more likely to pay for his graduate degree while in that branch. Pro
  • He would have to leave the Quartermaster Corps. Con (also, I would have to change my URL. DUMB!)
We're really hoping to find some people who are already familiar with the Civil Affairs Corps to give us some more info. So, if you know anyone, please send them my way!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Music to Write to

When I'm writing, the right music can really set the tone for the scene I am writing. Since I've switched gears from the fantasy I have been working on (stuck! writer's block! Argh!) to the urban fantasy that I started writing about three years ago (it's been redraughted and redraughted and workshopped several times, and it still doesn't feel "right." I think I am almost there), I have had to switch around my music playlists.

The new playlist (in no particular order):
Don't worry. I don't expect you to care. But in the event that you find yourself drawn to any of these songs, purchase the song and support the artist[s]!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Random Post

I have a lot of little things I could write about, but nothing terribly substantial. So here are some short thoughts:
  • My cook-out for the platoon went well. We have a lot of left over potato salad, but not much of anything else. I even left some food for some of the guys who live in the barracks, can't barbecue themselves, etc. It turned out pretty freakin' fantastic if I do say so myself, and I might write a post in a few days about how to smoke using your regular charcoal grill. Because my dad taught me and he will never in a million years write a blog post.
  • It sounds like a war zone out there. Here in WA, there are very few laws about fire works (it's so wet, fires aren't much of a concern), so everyone shoots them off. We were invited to go to our friends', but since we weren't sure about S's schedule, we declined (sort of wish we went, anyway!). Instead, we watched 360 degrees of fireworks from our back porch. E was unimpressed.
  • When I wasn't cooking, I celebrated the 4th by watching House Hunters on HGTV.
  • I never really ate a meal today. I sampled the cooking to make sure it tasted okay, had a piece of pizza, and too much cookie cake. Why do soldiers hate cookie cake??? Bastards.
  • S got a letter from the powers that be telling him he has been pre-qualified to apply for Special Forces, Psychological Operations, or Civil Affairs (this essentially means that if he were to apply, they wouldn't immediately laugh his application off the table... I think). We're trying to get more information, but he decides to apply to anything, it will probably be Civil Affairs. If he were to get it, we would have to move to CA for at least a year. That sounds like balls.
  • I really wanted a cocktail while I watched free fireworks from the freezing cold comfort of my backyard, but the Class Six (military liquor store) didn't have any of the ingredients I needed. They failed to provide the one service they exist to provide. Fail.
  • My child loves sitting on the dog bed. Eww.
  • Apparently, toddlers don't sleep through fireworks.
  • Dogs don't like fireworks, either.
  • Speaking of dogs, one of the dogs escaped the fence this afternoon. I was close to freaking out. Thankfully, he made a reappearance. Life was suddenly okay, again. Until he ate some of the leftover pulled pork. Asshole.
  • The terrible twos kill the baby blues.
  • Oh yeah... Happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Barbecue for a Brood

I'm pretty sure I have mentioned this before, but S has an odd work schedule this summer. His unit's mission this summer is to provide logistical support for the training every ROTC cadet must complete in order to commission as an officer, so he and his soldiers are working 6 days on, 2 days off schedule. There is no break for July 4th, and so, he'll be working.

This makes me sad, but not just for him, but for his soldiers, too. It's so depressing, at least in my mind, to have to work a regular work day on a holiday that everyone else in the nation is getting to celebrate (okay, so obviously not everyone, but you understand what I mean. I feel bad for the police officers, firemen, EMTs, doctors, nurses, and anyone else pulling duty on a major holiday, too). So, I have decided to bring a little taste of July 4th to them!

I know that sounds sort of lame, but if you aren't getting a full day off to enjoy the sun (clouds), warmth (cough*sixtydegreeweather*cough), and fun (err, see above), you might as well get some barbecue. Which is why I have a 13 lb pork shoulder soaking in a brine in my fridge, a huge bag of hickory chips sitting on my counter, enough cheese to fill my entire crisper, and a huge pile of other ingredients hanging out on the dryer--beans, mustard, macaroni, dill relish, potatoes, etc.

Tomorrow, E and I are going to be making enough potato salad, macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and pulled pork to feed at least 30 people. I hope.

I am most worried about two things: will I have enough food for everyone? And how the heck am I going to smoke a whole pork shoulder???

I have directions from my dad, and I am sure I can call him if I end up in a panic, but this will be my first adventure in smoking... and I don't mean a cigarette. I have no intention of ever trying that. Here's the kicker: the smoker we inherited from the last renters (seriously, they left their smoker and their fire pit in the back yard. Score!) turned in a giant crumbling pile of rust, so I will be trying this on our charcoal grill.

Wish me luck.

Oh, and if anyone wants to send me a desser, that would be great! (wink, wink)

7th Anniversary Weekend: Part 5

After our wonderful breakfast, we decided to do a little window shopping. Port Angeles has a lot of nice looking antique shops, several book stores, a couple boutiques, a sweets shop, among other things. Prom dresses? Not so much. Unfortunately, not many of those establishments were open at 0945, so we decided to make another visit to the Olympic National Park, and try a few of the shops again as we came back through to go home.

So, we headed west a little bit to see the Elwha River valley. There is another park entrance and trails there, and since we had already paid for the week, we were able to go right on in. Unfortunately, E fell asleep on the way there, so there wasn't a whole lot of exploring, despite the gorgeous (but cold) weather. I am sad about the lack of on-foot exploring that ended up happening, so we are going to visit some other Olympic National Park locations this weekend, too.

Since hiking wasn't happening, we took the Whisky Bend Road through the valley, and it was gorgeous. We drove about 5 miles at 15 miles an hour, came in contact with some deer, some birds we dubbed "turkey quails" (have no idea what they were), and some gorgeous little waterfalls.


Turkey Quail

Turkey Quail baby


Our awesome driver

Our gas milage coming off the mountain

We headed back into town and made a few stops, the most important being the one in which we picked up some fudge and a present for my brother. And then it was time to say goodbye to Port Angeles.

As we headed back down the 101, we stopped by the Dungeness (think crab!) Wildlife Refuge. We were hoping to find a beach, but we did find some incredible views, instead.

So, there you have it. Our mini-vacation in pictures. It was a really good weekend, and I feel like The Olympic National Park has managed to redeem the rest of Washington. I can't wait to go back a little more prepared for some hiking, and just explore. We got home and exchanged gifts (actually, I gave S most of his before we left--new golf clubs, golf shoes, and a driver cover shaped like Buzz)--he gave me a beautiful diamond and blue topaz pendent and I gave him a rare Scotch (which is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself). And, for the first time in quite awhile, I feel a little better about being stuck here in Washington. I know this is partly because it's summer and I can finally find some things to do, but I'll take it (and hope that this time next year, I am getting ready for a move!)

7th Anniversary Weekend: Part 4

After our amazing dinner, we headed back to the hotel to get E ready for bed. Having had only a semblence of a nap, we knew she had to be exhausted. So, we changed into pajamas, had some of that dessert we brought home, and tried to settle her down for bed. We turned out the lights, laid her down, and promptly went to hide in the closet in hopes that she would go right to sleep.


We thought she had finally settled down after about half an hour and crawled across the floor and into the bed. S, however, isn't nearly as silent in his slithering as I am, and as he climbed into bed, she lifted her little head up and decided it was time to jump and play... I think I may have drifted off to sleep well before she ever did, and I have no idea what time it actually was.

0700 came and she was up like a shot. I hoped against hope that she would go back to sleep, but it just didn't happen. So, I got up, and the two of us went to take a bath and a shower. We had S up by 9, got everything packed up, checked out, and went in search of breakfast.

We had planned to eat at the restaurant in the hotel, but I thought it sounded a little overpriced. After actually finally finding food, I discovered they were just about on par. Oh, well. Since the hotel was out, we decided to head into town (it was a 5 minute drive, at most). One restaurant seemed to be pretty popular, so we headed in. However, after 10 minutes, it became evident that there wasn't going to be a table any time soon, so we left in search of breakfast, elsewhere.

Enter: The New Day Cafe.

It was really quite wonderful. They, too, were very accomodating to E, and brought her a coloring book and her own cup of lemon-and-cucumber-infused water (so delicious! I am going to have to make my water like this all the time!). The menu is very vegan and vegetarian friendly, they get all of their food locally, and use organic meats, etc. E and I shared their Mediterranean omelet and S got sweet apple pancakes.

I think that was the first time I had an omelet from a restaurant that I didn't think "I could have made this better." I could have made it, but it would have been tough to make it as well. It was served with a fresh fruit salad (canteloupe, orange, kiwi, and some other fruit that E ate all of) and crispy potato slices.

I swear I took a picture of S's superb pancakes, but apparently I was wrong. They were perhaps the best pancakes I have ever had. There were thin slices of granny smile apples all through it, and was served with a homemade apple syrup. I am kind of jealous that I got the omelet, but it was so good, I'll live.

I am so glad we didn't stay at the other restaurant, because if we had, we never would have gotten to try New Day. If you're ever in Port Angeles, you should definitely stop in!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

7th Anniversary Weekend: Part 3

After exploring the Olympic National Park, we decided E needed some down time. We took her back to the hotel, laid her down in her pack-n-play, and hoped she would nap for awhile. We even stepped out onto the patio for awhile in hopes that the quiet would lull her to sleep, but between it being about 55 degrees and E discovering she could reach the pulls on the dresser, it just never happened.

We had some down time, and then made our way back into downtown for dinner. If you ever find yourself in Port Angeles, keep in mind that the night life seems to be much busier than than the day life--it took us quite a while to find a parking spot! But find one we did.

S had made reservations for us at Micheal's Seafood and Steakhouse. When we drove through earlier, we were afraid they had closed or were no longer open due to renovations, but it turns out the restaurant is just located in the basement/cellar of the building. They were absolutely wonderful. Not only was the food amazing, they were very accomadating towards E. They have a children's menu, and the staff continually stopped by to loan her toys, books, color sheets, and crayons. She was pretty restless while we waited for our food, so the distractions were very welcome!

They brought E a t-rex, a horse, a car, and a little girl person toy...

S ordered a "Red Sky at Night." It was amazing, and I will definitely be trying to recreate one of these bad boys. It was scotch, cherry liqueur, and some other tasty juices... I might have a new favorie.

Adults can have fun with toys, too.

S had their sirloin special with a Bourdeaulaise (sp?) sauce, seasonal veggies (carrots and asparagus), and perhaps the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had. It was all pretty amazing.

E's cheese pizza. That girl loves everything, but it's always a guessing game as to what she is willing to eat at any particular time. She did eat about half of her pizza (the middle half). I was impressed.

I had the seafood stew. O.M.G. Our of this world. It was about 6 mussels, 6 clams, a fish filet, 6 giant prawns, calamari, squid, roasted red peppers, potatoes, mushrooms, all in a fennel-based cream sauce.I was stuffed, but I managed to eat all of the seafood....And what I didn't manage, E ate. She was a huge fan of the leftover cream sause/soup.

We ordered dessert to go, and ate it later in the room. E was just done with sitting [relatively] quietly in the restaurant. We ordered a chocolate pudding cake and bread pudding. Both were good, but not as good as we were expecting. I think that Chef Henry's Bread Pudding recipe has ruined it for everyone else in the world.

After we finished dinner, we walked around a little (mostly, we tried to find our car, since we were parked in a 2 hour parking zone, and had been there for 2 hours and 5 minutes. The sun came out for the first time all day, and we got some fun pictures of the town.

Canada (aka, that little bump in the bottom, lefthand corner)