Monday, April 30, 2012

Something That Makes Me Gag... Just a Little

I'm tired of the "I want to feel like a princess" talk that gets batted around all the time, especially in the wedding industry. Women and girls are always throwing that little gem out into conversation when talking about men, dating, engagements, weddings, anniversaries... "He makes me feel like a princess," "I want a princess dress," "today's my day to be the princess."


Usually, this statement comes up when talking about "stuff"and/or money. A "princess" has a certain kind of engagement ring (one that can be measured in multiple carats), a dress that is covered in crystals, a tiara (insert cock-eyed emoticon here), gets married in a castle, and gets to act like a complete Bridezilla... (I say all of this with the height of sarcasm).

I'm sorry, but has anyone actually stopped to contemplate what an actual princess does all day?

Last I checked, being a princess has a lot more to do with press conferences, little privacy, and a shitload of responsibility than it does wearing frivolously, gaudy wedding dresses and spending more on a wedding than some people make in a year (although that part may be true, regardless). All you had to do was flip on the 72 hour "William and Kate" special TLC played this last weekend for 5 minutes to see that it's not all about getting what you want 24/7 and getting to act like a bitch while you do it.

Those people are hounded every second of every day. So much so that the media (who is doing the hounding) thinks it's so refreshing to see their "princess" out grocery shopping. We all hate when people gossip about us... And they have the entire world gossiping about them all. the. time. Is that really what people want??? Sure, some of the perks are definitely nice to dream about, but they don't necessarily have to do with being a "princess."

Personally, I would rather be treated like a countess. I mean, let's think about this. When is the last time you heard about the Countess of Strathmore and Kinghorne in the media? I know I haven't heard her name thrown out there (at least not since 2005...). Vast estates? Check. Lovely castles? Check. Awesome jewels? Check. Wealth and prestige? Check. Whole life publicized to the the entire world? ...Not so much.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

You Know You're an Army Wife When...

I know there are about 500 of these lists creeping around the internets... And while most of them are true, they are also A) super sappy, B) overly-patriotic, C) trying too hard, D) not written by me, or E) all of the above. So, I have decided to put together a list that isn't sappy, overly-patriotic, trying... AT ALL, and totally written by me. Enjoy.

  1. You're in mental anguish when someone calls a Marine, Sailor, Airman, etc "soldier." That's dumb, I know, but I'm pretty sure a fireman would be pissed if I called him an EMT... So, we're just going to leave it at that.
  2. You pass thunder off as artillery. Apparently it's been storming here (which it rarely does, by the way), but I just figured the field artillery was at it, again. Woops.
  3. You'd prefer your husband smell to washing his uniform. Velcro is not cool and it helps NO ONE!
  4. You know that ACUs have a distinct smell, despite being newly clean. (Not even Febreeze can make it go away...)
  5. You call the Air Force Base "Post." Even though you just bitched about someone calling your soldier a Marine and threatened to call a fireman an EMT. (Dammit).
  6. You make "words" out of acronyms (AHRN is pronounced A-hern, BOLC is pronounce Bullock, the PX is the Pix, etc).
  7. Your husband has just as many, if not more, pairs of colored socks than you do. And he owns more hats than you. And he always wears a necklace. His clothing is always coordinated...You know what, your husband has more accessories than you do and he's more put together. Just forget trying; jeans and a sweatshirt--that's all you really need.  
  8. You quit watching Army Wives after season 2... Aside from that fact that those women would never have that kind of relationship in a million years, you know that for it to even be in the same realm as accurate, the whole cast would have been replaced by new characters by now. That, and it's sappy. And overly-patriotic. And not written by me.
  9. A 12-hour work day means your husband is coming home early. (Dinner before 7?! YESSS!)
  10. If you're husband is enlisted, you know that his job description includes cutting the grass outside the unit with scissors. And if he is an officer, he mostly likely spends a large portion of his day making power point slides.
  11. You need a whole closet in your house just to store "unit paraphenalia." T-shirts, sweat-shirts, coasters, coffee mugs, beer glasses... All with unit crests and motos plastered all over them... And from units your husband has not been a member of for over 5 YEARS!
  12. You know that mandatory fun events can only be held in extreme weather. Someone better have hypothermia or heat stroke at the end of the day, or it wasn't "fun"...
  13. ...
I miss anything? I'm sure I did. Just let me know, and I'll add it!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tasty Smothered Chicken

I should probably come up with a catchier name for this recipe. Like "Cowboy Chicken" or "Cluck Cluck Chicken" or "Chicken a La Oink." But I'm not that clever. And not that interested.

Anyway, this is a quick dinner that is always well-received. I'm sure I am not the only one to have a recipe in this vein. In fact, I am sure something similar is floating around pinterest even as I type this, but if there is... I didn't pin it. Or bother reading the recipe. This one is all me and it's pretty freakin' fantastic. According to my husband and kid, anyway (though, to be fair, the kid mostly just eats the barbecue sauce...). 

And just to tempt you some more, the critics (my husband) describe it as:


"Incredibly Delicious"



So, without further ado:

Tasty Smothered Chicken

What You'll Need:

2 large chicken breasts (4 small ones)
4 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup barbecue sauce (I use 1/2 cup of 2 separate sauces)
Garlic powder
Glass Pan

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease Pan (this is a tough recipe, did I mention that?)

2. Place chicken in pan, pretty side up. I used two large chicken breasts, cut in half.

3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

4. As I mentioned above, I like to mix two barbecue sauces together--a sweet, molasses-based sauce like Sweet Baby Rays, and a more southern, spicy sauce (I love Stubbs, and was just able to get it in the PNW... but only at Costco).

5. Spoon about a third of the barbecue sauce [mixture] over the chicken.

6. Place half of the cheese (I used a spicy buffalo cheddar) over the chicken and sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

7. Smother with the remaining barbecue sauce, being sure to cover the cheese, and place in oven on the middle rack. Let cook through (about 30 minutes).

8. Remove chicken and set oven to broil.

9. Place remaining cheese over the chicken and return to oven.

10. Let cheese melt under broiler (< 5 minutes).

11. Serve!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Potty Time

I feel like I have accomplished some sort of remarkable feat: E wants to sit on her potty.

I know, that's just really... weird and a little gross. But a little over a month ago, we started "potty training." Her little tush was getting so ravished by diaper rash, I finally just told myself I had to get her out of the diapers. We had tried creams, ointments, anti-biotics, diet changes, diaper changes, wipes, no wipes, naked time... And nothing was working.

So, for a few days, we tried potty training. Every 30-45 minutes or so, we would pull down the panties, sit on the potty, and wait until there was something to clap about. We had some accidents, we had some successes.... we ate a lot of raisins and chocolate chips (hey, who says bribing isn't good every once in awhile?). But in the end, it was me who was becoming trained, and not her. We saw a huge improvement with the diaper rash (as in GONE!), and decided to keep it up when we were conveniently at home.

And then we went to visit the grandparents, got out of the groove, and really haven't looked at the potty since getting home. It's been sitting all alone in the corner, untouched, unused, and stinking slightly of bleach. Yes, that corner of my downstairs has the faint aroma of swimming pool.


Anyway, so, yesterday, we're finishing up dinner when E brings me her potty. It's a nifty little travel potty that's about the size of a large Honey Baked Ham, but not nearly as heavy. It seals shut when closed and has a nice little carrying handle, making it fun for her to lug over to me. She hands it over and says, "Yeah?"

I asked her if she needed to go potty, to which she nodded and said "Uh huh!" (She used to say "Yes, please," but her manners vanished one night only to be replaced by teen-aged forms of grunting). I opened up the potty, got her naked from the waist down, and she sat on it all by herself.

Cue huge welling of parental pride followed by gleeful praises. And plenty of "did you go potty?"

She stood up to show me an empty potty, ran around the great room, and then sat back down. And then repeat. Again, and again, and again. There was a lot of this. We eventually rolled our eyes, agreed that she is still pretty young, and decided that her liking the potty was at least a start.

Two seconds later, she peed on the hardwood floor.

Well, her fascination with the potty continued this afternoon. She had a grand old time sitting on it, standing up from it, sitting on it... Not actually using it... (Again, she peed on the floor and then promptly slipped in it. And, in case you were wondering, this was about an hour after her bath). But I feel like she is getting somewhere. Like she is starting to recognize that there is some correlation between "that feeling" and the potty, even if she hasn't quite been able to put two and two together. And that gives me hope that I may have actually done something right...

...Even if I have no idea what it is or how I did it.

So, in the meantime, I am hoping for a huge epiphany followed by many trips to the potty, little pink girl panties, and tons and tons of bleach....

... It really is amazing what excites you when you become a parent...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What to Expect When You're Not Expecting

I'm going to honest here. I never once read What to Expect When You're Expecting while I was expecting.

As soon as we found out I was pregnant with E, Steve made me rush out to Borders (may they rest in peace) to buy said coveted baby bible. I think I made it through about three pages when he snatched it up and made it his own personal companion... And I never saw the book, again. He took it with him to school, to work, to... well, he was mostly just at school and work all the time, so that's probably it. But it went with him. In fact, people started coming up to me to congratulate us when I was only six weeks pregnant because they had seen him reading the book... Yeah. So much for keeping the little bundle of joy under wraps for the first trimester.

Anyway, the book mysteriously resurfaced a few days ago. E's new favorite thing to do is remove books from the bookshelf and bring them to me. Mostly, she ends up dropping them off with me for a quick visit before reacquiring them and placing them someplace random on the bookcase (as though there is actually a rhyme or reason to that particular mess). Her favorites today were some of my old text books from college: Into That Darkness (Nazi commandant memoir), A Compiled History of Australia (I think that one is pretty obvious), and Les Liaisons Dangereuse (an English translation. Because, even after 10 gazillions semesters of French, I still would need a French-English dictionary to make it through that one). Luckily, she doesn't really want me to read any of those to her. When she wants to be read to, she brings board books, thankyouverymuch (she likes But Not the Hippopotamus the best these days). I just don't think I could read holocaust histories to my 18-month-old.

So... Anyway. The other day, while I was trying to enjoy 24 blissful seconds alone in the bathroom while her father kept an eye on her (ha), she waltzed right up to the door, knocked on it very politely, and then proceeded to push it open and present me with What to Expect While You're Expecting.

And, for the first time since coming into possession of said book, I have begun to read it.

I will say, it's a lot less daunting when you're actually not expecting. I mean, really, most of the book is comprised of "1001 defects your baby could exhibit." But since my baby is here and driving me crazy without any of those crazy defects, I can read it without hyperventilating, vomiting, and wanting to pass out (but, I guess that could have been the morning sickness, as well... Hmm). I just sort of wander through the passages all the while muttering "haha, suckers!" in my mind whenever something unpleasant comes up that I didn't have to deal with.

Sorry to any of you who did experience those unpleasant side effects.

Yes, it is a much more jolly read when there aren't any little critters bumping around your uterus. I even read up on twins and multiples. How those pregnancies are different, how they're the same. How you "get" to gain more weight (5 lbs...really? This is even noteworthy? Come on!). How incredibly stretched out your uterus becomes. And how your morning sickness and heartburn will double. Beautiful stuff like that. And I can safely say: I have a plan should that ever be me (it includes lots of chocolate, a PCS request to the East Coast, and a winning lottery ticket....(Sounds likes my plan for just about everything, actually, Bad weather, Monday mornings, what to have for dinner, evenings that end in Y...)).

So, my advice? Read it when you don't need it. Especially if you are in need of birth control and no one wants to run out to the store for more condoms.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Spice Things Up in the Kitchen

Obviously, I have been less than stellar at updating this past weekend. But, I have good enough reason: Game of Thrones, True Blood, sunny days, and my husband's birthday.

We've been a little caught up with HBO. Which I am definitely not complaining about; Game of Thrones has finally helped me get back into writing. After being gone visiting my parents, I had been a little out of the habit and in need of a little push. I am on the verge of breaking 60,000 words, which gets me about halfway. Getting some good-ole-fashioned fantasy on the brain has helped immensely to get me to the peak of halfway.

Anyway, since I have nothing of real worth to post about, I thought I would make a quick list of some fast dinner fixes I tried this last week (completely made up from my own head, so there really is no "recipe" to write up).

  • Grilled vegetables brushed with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce and cilantro. I made a spicy coconut-and-pecan crusted shrimp for dinner last night to go with ginger and lemongrass rice. I threw some zucchini and yellow squash onto the grill  with the shrimp and used the left over chili sauce and cilantro marinade over the veggies--it was fantastic and a nice departure from the usual olive oil and Italian herbs approach I normally take. (Seriously. Chopped cilantro and that sauce. That's it. Done).
  • That ginger and lemongrass rice I mentioned? Yeah, throw some fresh lemon grass, a tablespoon or so of minced ginger, a couple cloves of garlic, chopped cilantro, and fresh basil into the pot (or rice cooker) and just let it go. Great flavor.
  • Cream cheese stuffed chicken. Don't tell my vegan mother. She might have a heart attack. I had planned to use mascapone I had left over from the quiche I made a couple weeks ago, but it had grown some rather unappealing looking spots, so I ended up using regular Philadelphia brand cream cheese instead. I mixed it with some pepper, a little salt, minced garlic, fresh basil, shredded spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. I rolled it up into a couple chicken breasts, and voila. Dinner. It was fantastic with a brandy reduction sauce and steamed mix of broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots.
  • Savory whipped sweet potatoes. I usually make my sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, but changing it up a bit was actually a pretty good idea. Try them with a little salt, scallions, and paprika. Very tasty.
  • Real Guac. One of my friends posted about getting real guacamole a few weeks ago. It reminded me how much I love a real, fresh guacamole. And it makes a great side or salad. Just chop up a couple avocados, a large tomato, mince up about about a quarter of a red onion, a clove of garlic, and stir. Spritz the juice of half a lime and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Fantastic.

I'm trying to come up with some new and exciting things for dinner around here, so keep your eye out for new recipes. Next time I promise I will have colorful pictures and actual recipes (not just my usual "that looks about right" approach).

Friday, April 20, 2012

How Tofu Murdered My Kettle

So... No more kettle. It's in about 5 different pieces in the trash right now. All because I decided we needed to have tofu for dinner one night this weekend.

I really like tofu, especially when it's cooked right. I'm sure a lot of people could argue with me over what is "right," but unless they agree with me, they're wrong. I prefer my tofu crispy on the outside and firm on the inside. I really can't stand when it's too soft, runny, and not even browned on the outside. If it looks like flan, I'd rather not touch it.

Unfortunately, when we were eating vegan last year, it took a lot of trial and error to figure out how to get the tofu that way. There is a Vietnamese/Thai/Japanese restaurant around the corner that cooked it just right--I could eat their tofu all day long (and with their peanut sauce... oh, yum). But spending $30 for dinner for two was just getting expensive, so I set out to do it on my own. I mean, how hard could it be?

Hard. Very, very hard.

(That's what she said).

Anyway, after about 5 attempts, I learned that the type of tofu is very important (hint: buy the stuff found in your produce section, not the stuff you find with the soy sauce). After buying the right stuff, you want to suck as much moisture out of the tofu as possible. The best way to do that is treat the tofu like an eggplant: salt it, lay it over some paper towels, and press it with something heavy.

And, as you guessed it, my kettle makes a perfect heavy pressing object. I filled that sucker up, put it on top of one of my cutting boards, and stacked it on the tofu. After about an hour, I changed out the paper towels (which were soaking wet--score!), flipped the tofu over, and went back on my merry way. And about 30 minutes later, there was a loud crash and my kettle was dead on the floor, little pieces of black handle everywhere and water flooding the kitchen.

Sad for my kettle.

So, the lesson to take from this story: If you want to murder your kettle, make tofu for dinner.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Chili

A couple weeks ago, I found a recipe on pinterest for a buffalo chicken chili. I pinned the recipe, but never actually went to read the it. The idea, however, stuck in my head, and since the hubby thought the idea sounded pretty good, too, I decided to make up my own for dinner. It could be exactly like the one I found on pinterest. It could be totally different. I have no idea. It's actually pretty freaking fantastic--even Endelyn had seconds!--so I thought I would share.

(Also, I think you could probably easily do this in the crock pot... but since I prefer mine to just sit around gathering dust, I couldn't tell you for sure.)

What You'll Need:

2 chicken breasts
1 large, white onion diced
3 garlic cloves diced
1 red bell pepper diced
2 strips bacon chopped
2 cans navy beans
1 can northern white beans
4 small tomatoes
1 bottle buffalo wing sauce
Chili powder
4 QT pot

Place chicken in the pot and cover with water. Cover and bring water to a boil, cooking chicken through.

Remove Chicken and shred. I like to shred mine in the Kitchen Aid mixer.

Pour out most of the broth, leaving about 3 tablespoons in the pot. Add the garlic and let simmer for about a minute.

Add onions and bacon, stirring until the onions start to soften.

 Add bell pepper and tomatoes.

Add the entire contents of the canned beans--juice and all.

Stir in chicken

Add buffalo wing sauce, chili powder to taste (I used less than a teaspoon), salt and pepper. Let simmer at least an hour so that all of the flavors mix.

Serve with crumbled blue cheese (I also threw in some Yancy's Buffalo Cheddar because I had it).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Doctor Anxiety

I have an ENT appointment in 36 hours. I am horrendously worried that they will decide I have some sort of cancer of the throat. Even though I have no symptoms.

I think I have given myself acid reflux over this whole thing. Or maybe it's an ulcer. Or cancer.


I wish I didn't have to go alone. I really, really, really want someone there with me.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Lemonade. Better than Addictive

We don't have Chick-Fil-A in Washington, which can only be described as a travesty. Being a Georgia girl, I have been sucking down their lemonade since before I can remember. It's the perfect mixture of sweet and sour, bordering more on the sour side, making it perfect for lazily sipping throughout the day. All other lemonades pale in comparison, and none of them even come close to quelling my lemonade craving. It's my guilt-free pleasure. Their chicken being my guilty one. There just really is nothing better than a hot chicken biscuit or chicken sandwich on a sunny day (I'm not entirely sure why I equate Chick-Fil-A to sunny days, but I do).

Unfortunately, the closest Chick-Fil-A to us is at Boise State University.... A day's drive away. In their student center. I'm not going to lie, I really have no desire to go to Boise State for anything, other than to watch the Yellow Jackets utterly destroy them on that hideous blue football field. I'm not really sure how people in the Pacific Northworst survive without Chick-Fil-A, but I hypothesize their lack of the greatest fast-food restaurant in the world has something to do with the dreary weather (disclaimer: I really do like the dreary weather... But it needs to go away once in awhile to be fully appreciated). So, whenever we go home to Georgia, we make sure to have at least one meal at Chick-Fil-A and get a few gallons of their diet lemonade to share.

Well, Steve and I decided--like any good parents--that Endelyn should be treated to her very first Chick-Fil-A breakfast. We got her a triplicate of mini chicken biscuits, potato medallions, and her very own medium lemonade (not diet). She was perfectly happy to munch on a biscuit, three potato medallions, and a whole container of Polynesian sauce until she discovered that she got an entire Styrofoam cup of lemonade all to herself. She sucked that thing down like she had be wandering through a desert with no water for days. I've never seen her get so excited about something since we let her have her first taste of chocolate.

I'm not sure what it is about that lemonade, but I'm pretty sure they have a new addict for life. Which couldn't make me happier... she could have a lot worse taste in fast food.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Sign of a Terrible Movie Sequel

One of my guilty pleasures is a mediocre romance movie. I have a particular fondness for the teenage-audience variety, which I could get away with when I was a teenager, but now that I am an adult, it just seems a little pathetic. So, instead of seeing them in the theater, I just secretly watch them at home, hoping I don't get caught by anyone other than my husband.

I guess I have defeated the purpose of keeping that little secret by letting the cat out of the bag, here. Oh, well.

Anyway, my love for the teen-movie started with 16 Candles. It's one of my all-time favorites. I remember seeing it the first time with my dad when it came on tv. I asked him to change the channel, but he said, "But this is a classic!" and we watched it, anyway.

Instant love. I went to Media Play (yes, this was so long ago, Media Play still existed) and bought it for myself. And watched it about 3 times a day for a year. I had the entire thing memorized--actually, I probably still do--and was half in love with Jake Ryan, myself.

The love for the teenage fairy tale movie continued when 10 Things I Hate About You came out. Again, lots of watching, even more memorizing, and...

I have no idea where I am going with this. I guess it's just one of those train of thought things (consider this a look into the way my mind works). This particular train left the station when I started watching The Prince & I on tv. I went from that to Julie Stiles to 10 Things I Hate About You to teen movies to I LOVE ME SOME TEENIE BOPPER SHIT! to 16 Candles. WTF, me? Right?

Anyway, so, I'm watching Julie Stiles in The Prince & Me (which I really do like...I can't believe I just admitted that). It's all happy and sweet and awesome. It ends and they start the sequel.

Now, I'm pretty sure the sequel went straight from the cutting table to DVD. It's... not good. But, that's not enough to keep me from watching it. And, in the event that you haven't seen this particular "gem," I'm going to let you in on a little secret:

You can tell that a sequel is going to be less than stellar when the headlining actor/actress is replaced for the sequel.

That's right. Move over, Julie Stiles, we've got Kam Heskin! (Who?!)

So, I thought about compiling a list of signs of a truly bad sequel.
  1. Replacing the stars (obviously).
  2. Straight to video... I mean. Really?
  3. A sequel following a movie that had a decisive ending. (Think Transformers. That shit was over. Yet, somehow they managed to resurrect the dead dudes? What?!)
  4. It's a Disney Cartoon sequel. The Beast, who is no longer a beast, is suddenly a beast again? I'm confused...
  5. The first movie was bad. *cough*Twilight*cough* (although, to be fair, I have seen all of them...oops).
  6. I don't know how to say this other than: allowing George Lucas to get ahold of CGI... Star Wars I-III... what a disaster.
Did I miss any?

(Photo from

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why I Shouldn't be Allowed to Watch HGTV

I'm a huge fan of House Hunters and House Hunters International (I also love Income Property, but not for the reasons you would think... Who knew a Canadian could be so attractive *wink, wink*). I actually really like the International version better, but I'll take what I can get. HGTV, The Food Network, and TLC are usually my summer fare; there's just never anything else on in the summer (most of the time), and I am one of those sad individuals who always have the television on--I don't usually watch it, but I like having the noise.

Anyway, since I have been at my parents and don't have my usual stash of horrible television to watch via DVR during the day (if you read my post about My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, you know I am an unbiased DVR-er), I have been lounging around watching House Hunters and House Hunters International while they are working and E is napping. Not really the right season for me, but hey--it's as warm here as it ever is in the Pacific Northworst--I have a good imagination. I can pretend.

However, I should probably get back to my original point: Why I shouldn't be allowed to watch these shows.

Why? Because then I go house shopping.

It's really pretty ridiculous, but it gives me something to do while I mentally groan over the house hunters' decisions (let me give you a hint: they're usually wrong). I map out all of the installations to which we could be sent, do a BAH calculation, and go crazy on I make mental checklists as I go:
  • What will our mortgage be?
  • Will we be able to rent this out when we move next?
  • Is this a "me" house or is it a "rental" house
  • How far to post?
  • How much will have to be done to it?
  • How much will renovations cost me?
  • How much painting/wallpaper-ripping would I have to do? <--this is so super important, it doesn't get categorized with what will have to be done to it.
I'd like to remind you: we have at least another 18 months in my own personal hell.

It's gotten worse, too. I now have a list of "favorites" that I have saved to my account. Like I have a reason to believe those houses will even still be around in 2 years. I'm like those girls who post wedding stuff on and don't have a boyfriend, much less a proposal. I'm the girl who goes house shopping for a house in a place in which she will probably never set foot. Yes, has become my house-pinterest. I have an odd mix of highly-rentable-yet-sort-of-cookie-cutter, omg-that's-just-cool-and-has-deeded-beach-access, and historical-monstrosities-that-need-hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars-of-renovation-but-only-have-asking-prices-of-twelve-thousand-dollars houses.

But, to let you in on a little secret--most of them are all in the Fort Lee, VA and Fort Eustis, VA areas (E and I will just have to live in Colonial Williamsburg for the next several years. Because I love it that much).

Anyway, if my impulsive "pinning" isn't bad enough, I have even started looking across the pond.... Okay, fine, you're right, I was doing that, anyway, but I was looking at unreasonable I-will-win-the-lottery-and-own-you  palaces.... Not anything that I would actually ever live in as a mewling peasant. I kid you not, I just looked up Overseas Housing Allowances (OHA) and Cost of Living Allowances (COLA) for every Royal Air Force Base (RAF) in the United Kingdom... and then went shopping.

I mean, WTF, me?

... I did find a few places I really liked, though... Well, for Britain. If those houses had been here in the United States, I would have wondered what the hell people were thinking.

So, I have a list of places in which I could live in the one places in the entire world the Army will most likely never send us.


I really need a new hobby. Maybe I'll start collecting taxidermied mice wearing clothing. Oh, wait... Someone beat me to that one.

BIWNNR: A YA Fairy Tale

I'm a huge fan of fairy tales. I love them, even when Disney decides to destroy them with crazy departures from the original stories and meanings (this could possibly end up being a huge rant about the real role of fairy tales in European history, but I am going to try to control myself and not go there). In fact, I am attempting to write my own for an adult audience. And since I have taken on the task of writing in a genre in with which I am not particularly familiar, I have been attempting to read more fantasy.

Now, the book I just finished, Awake by Jessica Grey, was a modern Young Adult fairy tale, so it isn't really even that close to what I am writing, but I was floundering with what to read after finishing my last BIWNNR (Book[s] I Would Not Normally Read for anyone who missed my last BIWNNR post) and this looked like it had potential...

Potential is definitely what this book had, in my opinion. But, to be fair, I am an adult reading a novel geared towards girls in their mid-teens. If you look at the reviews of other readers, they liked it enough to give it 4.5 stars (no one gave it anything below 3 stars). I would probably put myself in that 3 star area, myself.

The book had an interesting enough premise. It follows a girl, Alex, who is in the transition between high school and going off to college as she starts a summer internship with a geology museum in Los Angeles. The story begins with her attending the intern orientation, even though she has interned with the museum the previous three summers, as well. When she arrives, it's to find--to her surprise--one of the most popular boys from her high school and MLB draftee, Luke, also interning with the gem and minerals museum. The two had been best friends as children and drifted apart in high school.

A few days later, Alex and Becca discover Luke "asleep" (and unable to wake up) on a massive jewel- and gold-encrusted bed that was newly arrived in the museum, and a beautiful blonde girl awake in his place. The girl, who is the princess of a fictitious Medieval country located to the southeast of France, explains that she is a demi-fairy and was put under a spell by her aunt. Asleep for almost a century, the girl was awakened by a kiss--however, because Luke, who kissed her, didn't love her, the curse was transferred to him.

The story continues to make twists on the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty, and of course the three girls must figure out how to release Luke from the curse without transferring the curse, again. It managed to keep my interest simply because I wanted to see where the author was going. The story was interesting enough, but in the end, it still fell flat for me--like I said, based on the other reviews, apparently teen aged girls loved it.

So, why was this not a five-star book?

A few things:
  • The author relied heavily on Disney's re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty for her story. There was some mention that there was a book in which the story could be found, but the only element of it divulged to readers was something along the lines of: "well, it could be worse. In some fairy tales, the princess wakes up to find herself pregnant." Otherwise, only other departure was the prick of a rose thorn, not a spinning wheel.
  • The characters spent a lot of time arguing with one another rather than doing something. There was one conversation that took almost three pages and be summed up with: "I'm going." "No, you're not." "Yes, I am." "No, you're not." "Yes, I am." "No, you're not. "Yes, I am." Etc. Etc. It was as though they had to repeat the same thing twenty times before they "got it." In other words, the characters were thick.
  • The characters were thick (ha), especially the main character. It didn't matter what kind of "proof" they had, they refused to believe it.
  • The pace was rather slow.
  • Overall, I really think the story could have used a few workshops to work on a few of those things. It just felt... un-tried.
It was definitely a different take on the Sleeping Beauty story, especially while adding a modern twist. I liked that the female characters were strong, they were smart, and they were relatively resourceful. It was refreshing to see female characters who were more interested in their education, research, and intelligence than how to be popular, get a boyfriend, fashion, or how to deal with their vampire/werewolf/ghost/shape-shifter boyfriend. I really did want to see what was going to end up happening, which is why I kept  reading. I would definitely recommend this story to a teenage girl over some of the other popular YA fantasy fare. And I would recommend an adult pick it up free/at a library if she needed something light and slightly magical to get lost in for awhile.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Crash Course in What You're Missing on TV... and Probably Don't Want to Watch, Anyway

My friend Jamie is one of my blogging heroes. She has actual reoccurring topics on which she likes to write, and unlike me, she actually writes more than one post pertaining to any particular theme. I, on the other hand, ramble on about who-the-hell-knows what, and hope for the best (by the way, I think Jamie might be my only follower. I couldn't even convince the twenty followers from my previous blog to follow. Further proof that I have nothing interesting to say).

Anyway, today she talked some about the television shows she likes. It got me thinking that I, too, could expound on my own incredibly random television addictions. I'm really not particularly picky, I do follow some of the more popular shows, but I also have a few quirky favorites, as well. I love the NBC comedies, am in love with Smash, and record all of the Once Upon a Time episodes. My husband and I both got into Spartacus on Starz, have some catching up to do on True Blood, and plan to start watch Game of Thrones once we have True Blood out of the way.

When I first sat down to write this, I thought about trying to convince you that The Big Bang Theory is the greatest show to ever make it on the small screen. But then I realized that if you haven't been caught up in that gem, yet, there is no hope for you, anyway (this is totally me being snarky and sarcastic... my sense of humour is probably why I have no followers). So, instead, be prepared to be wowed by Irish Travelers/Romani.

Yeah. I'm totally talking about TLC's My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.

I know this probably makes me look like a big fat loser for A) watching reality television and B) watching reality television about weddings... But I still love it. I love it so much, I actually DVR it.

So, if you haven't seen it, I guess I should give you a little bit of background information. The show was originally produced and aired in the United Kingdom. It follows the traditions of British Irish Travelers mostly, but every once in awhile, they will have a segment about the Romani, as well. Most of the episodes are about weddings, christenings, or other large family events. The major draw is the amount of extravagance: think along the lines of an estimated $140,000 wedding, dresses that weigh up to 300 lbs, illegal street racing of the horse and carriage variety... The "gypsies" are unwanted and unwelcome, and the laws and actions of "mainstream" Brits is prevalent.

I love it because it shows a glimpse of another culture that is so uniquely out of place in our idea of western society. The sociologist in me squees over it all the time. I find myself equally disgusted and impressed with the girls the show usually follows. Most of the brides are in their late teens--anywhere from 16 to 19. The oldest, I believe, was 23, and she was considered an "old maid." They have what I would describe as being horrendously tacky taste, and plan weddings that are the stuff of young girls' fantasies. It's like Barbie threw up all over the semi-adult/real world. They wear dresses that don't fit in vehicles, weigh hundreds of pounds, and give them physical scars. They dress their younger siblings like mini-brides. Their street clothes look like something a Julie Roberts would wear in Pretty Woman before she meets Richard Gere... And all while remaining very strict morally--no premarital sex, no being in the company of men, no socializing with a boy unless without an escort--I'm talking Jane Austen-style.

But, like I said, I can't help but admire them at the same time. I mean, here we have a group of people that the rest of society hates. The mainstreamers look down on them, refuse to work with them, refuse to hire them... They struggle to find venues and cake decorators and seamstresses for their outrageous weddings. They are treated unfairly by the police, laws are passed to limit their way of life. And yet they keep at it. They find ways to make things work, and even though the rest of their country is "making fun" of them via television, they just keep right at it in an effort to keep their traditions alive.

It's fascinating. And kind of like watching a train wreck.

Anyway, if you have nothing better to do, watch an episode. There's definitely more there than meets the eye. And if you have weird taste in television like me, you might actually enjoy it.

...Or give yourself something new to make fun of. Either way.

The Passover [Easter] Egg Hunt Disaster

E and I just so happened to be visiting my parents over the Passover/Easter holiday. The university for which my mother works (which just so happens to be the university for which I used to work) hosted a big Egg Hunt and festival. We thought it would be great fun to take the little lady, allow her to have some fun, and maybe pick up an egg of two.

They asked that anyone wanting to participate arrive at least half an hour before the hunt began so they knew how many eggs to put out for each age group. We arrived a little more than half an hour early, which turned out to be great. E got to run around (she particularly liked falling and rolling around in some mulch) and pet some bunnies before it got too crowded. She even tried to take home the smaller of the two rabbits (the bunny's owner picked her up for E to pet, and E tried to just take her away... she would have one it, too, if we hadn't stopped her). For the older kids, they had a cake walk, the Passover [Easter] Bunny was there and ready for pictures, and there was a bubble station--so no one was left with nothing to do for that half hour. We met up with some of our friends--one couple who has an 11-month-old and a 2.5-year-old and the other who have a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old.

So, the time comes and they "break-up" the kids by age: 1-3, 4-6, 7-10... or something there-abouts. Except, they didn't wait long enough for the youngest to get situated before they called the others, so here was a lot of confusion. We finally got to the 1-3 year old area... behind another 85 1-3 year olds, their multiple parents and grandparents.

And there were 30 eggs.

My mom got separated from us and ended up in the area before we managed to get there. She said she counted the eggs (which were just laid out on the grass) and then started counting the children; she stopped counting when she got to almost 70, and there were still children coming.

So, of course, they said "go," the eggs were gone 20 seconds later (about enough time for E to lose her balance and fall over) and that was that. Ewas perfectly happy running around the green space--she didn't care if she had eggs or not. But I was a little disappointed. A) Because we wouldn't have gotten up that early and wasted our whole morning there (although, the picture I took of her attempting to rabbit-nap the bunny was probably worth it) and B) because I really wanted her to have the chance to at least touch an egg. I didn't expect her to come away with many, but one or two would have been nice for her first Egg Hunt.

But that wasn't the worst of it; like I said, E didn't give a flying flip. But most of the children who were there left with nothing and they were VERY upset. Parents were having to console their 4 and 5 year olds because they left with nothing; they didn't understand why they had come to an Egg Hunt and there were no eggs for them--not even one. None of the 5 children we knew that were there (E included) even touched an egg.

My mother and I thought this was a travesty. There should have been enough eggs for each child to leave with at least one--not for most children to leave with nothing. My dad disagreed. He thinks that it's just part of life, and if a child leaves with nothing and they're upset, it's a good teaching moment. I can agree with that assessment... when applied to a child being upset that he only found 3 eggs when his sister found 20.


I asked some of the other officers' wives what they thought of the situation--because, let's face it, if I am ever in a position to run an egg hunt, it will be on post with the FRG. There were a lot of stories about: kids were only allowed to find a certain number of eggs. Or they had to give up eggs so that everyone left with same number. I find that just as obnoxious as not having enough eggs--and I think it's that kind of behavior from which my father was trying to distance himself.

BUT! Have no fear: we stopped by Target on our way home, bought a good 50+ eggs, and hid them around my parents' front yard. E had a great time hunting eggs with my brother. She found about 10, sat down on the grass, and ate all of the jelly beans out of them. We've been hunting for days now, and she's been having a great time. So, or us, at least, it was a happy ending.

So, lesson's learned:
  • If I ever "run" an egg hunt, I will be sure to have an over-abundance of eggs. If we expect 30 kids to show up, I will have enough eggs for 130--I would rather everyone go home with a billion eggs than no eggs.
  • Don't go to big egg hunts unless organized by someone who doesn't suck.
  • Have egg hunts at home with only a few others will probably be the most fun and the least sucky.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

It's Like My Husband Actually Knows Me!

I just received a text message from my husband that read "you should use pinterest for jewelry wish lists."

You don't have to tell this girl twice!

Fine jewelry is my one weakness. I don't consider myself an overly "girly girl." I like clothes and shoes well enough, but I don't have any designs on expensive pieces. I don't need Chanel or Yves St. Laurent. I think spending more than $50 on a purse is ridiculous. I'm not into knick knacks, everyday accessories...unless we're talking about diamonds. Or emeralds. Or sapphires. Rubies...Platinum. Gold.

Those are my weaknesses.

Thankfully, I have a husband who is willing to indulge that particular flight of fancy. He spoils me with beautiful necklaces, rings, earrings... And I really don't even have to ask.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Query Letters

I guess I need to write a query letter... And then send it out to agents.

I have one that I wrote a few years ago, but I hate talking about myself, my writing... etc. I just feel like I am bragging, and that makes me uncomfortable. But, I guess I just have to face the fact that it's something I have to do if I want to find an agent... Which is really pretty much the path towards publication in the fiction world (well, you CAN go straight to a publisher, but that is rare... And self-publishing is just frowned upon). (Could I have used "which" any more times in this paragraph?)

I'm feeling a little more optimistic about my fantasy novel. I sent it to my mom to read (well... most of it. I've written more since I sent it) and she's a couple chapters through and likes it. Part of me wants to believe that's just because she's my mother and she has to say nice things--yes, I am that pessimistic. But then I remember that she really doesn't do that well... If something sucks, she'll tell you (not in those words, but she'll make a face, say "eh..." and tell me that it needs to be fixed). Which is better, because then I know she means it when she's being supportive. She even said she "likes the language."

So, that makes me feel like I am doing something right. I mean... at least the language is good, right?

Ok... Query letters. They are supposed to be short, sweet, to the point... And have a hook. I guess I need to do some research (the last one I wrote was in 2009, and it was for a YA novel... One that I have since reworked into a non-YA novel), so I know what a "good" one reads like. I have this desire to be humorous, but I really think my sense of humor really just tends to fall flat with most people. Yet, I feel like serious is dry and boring.

Frankly, if it were up to me, it would be an illustration. That's it.

Ugh... And I need a title.

Damn this sucks.

Anyone want to write one for me?



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Have Nothing Exciting to Say

I promised myself I would try to blog once a day. Unfortunately, I can't come up with anything good to write about for an entire post, so I am just going to make a list of random shit.

You're welcome.
  • I started writing a new novel based on my dream the other night. Dangerous, I know, but I can't get it out of my head. Might as well make use of it.
  • I have a whole stack of 18-24 month summer clothes my child doesn't fit in. Well... They fit around. But they are too short. Yet another reason I need to have another girl: make use of all the unused clothes.
  • We're catching up on Season 3 of True Blood, and randomly, one of us will growl "Sookie" like Bill does.
  • I'm flying back to GA and nervous that my plane will crash; I am a horrible wife, because if I die, I kind of don't want my husband to get remarried.
  • 20 lbs down, 30 to go. I just wish it would go faster. Next pregnancy, I am not allowing myself to have cravings.
  • I don't understand the whole juice/shake diet fad. It's a liquid diet, dude.
  • I miss the south; the way the trees canopy over the road, the fireflies, the sound of the insects in the twilight. However, I don't miss the roaches. Eww.
  • I miss Scotland. All of it. If it had roaches, I would miss them, too.
  • I think I have really bad taste in television. I get a kick out of the teeny bopper shows on ABC Family (except Secret Life... It's dumb and the acting's bad), My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and 16 & Pregnant. But I do watch good stuff, too. Like Smash and Once Upon A Time. Among other shit.
  • I really have to pee, so....

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sometimes Writing Is Harder Than It Should Be

I've had a pretty big "breakthrough" in the fantasy novel I am currently working on. I was having some trouble figuring out how I wanted to get from point B to C, and then, one night, it came to me. I have a pretty good picture in my head what will happen next...

I just can't seem to actually write it.

I know that sounds pretty weird, but I pull up my word processor and just stare at it like an idiot for about 6 minutes. Sometimes I write a sentence. Or two. And then I click over to Facebook or Pinterest and procrastinate for an hour.

It's actually pretty annoying.

However, I have decided that one of my main-ish characters looks like Eric Northman. Or Alexander Skarsgard. Same thing, right? So, when Universal Pictures decided to buy the rights to said novel and make the movie, they came save some money on casting calls. Just imagine this image (from, but with long hair... And a little less pasty. Maybe not so much with the whole Vampire thing. But otherwise. That guy.

Also, on a totally unrelated (yet related) subject: I have been known to get some of my story ideas from dreams. I had a pretty amazing dream last night that I think could write itself into a pretty good story... The problem with this is: it makes much more sense as a dream than it does as "real life." Oh, well. I wrote it down "to be used in the future." (Now that I have shared that... I'm not entirely sure why I shared it. Oh, well. Just forget it and feast your eyes on Eric Northman/Alexander Skarsgard.)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

HBO, I Own You

Well, we finally got HBO. I think it may be the first time in my life that HBO comes streaming to my house for more than a long weekend of You-Must-Buy-Us! The best part? It's actually going to save us $10 a month--we got rid of Starz--to watch True Blood and Game of Thrones.


I thought I would be clever and have a Game of Thrones marathon, then start the new season... But we aren't caught up on True Blood, yet, and the OnDemand availability for the first 4 episodes of Season 3 ends tomorrow. So, we're catching up on True Blood, now.

I'm not sure, but I think this might be the most depressing post I have ever written...