a girl, a guy, a tomato, a bean, and a bear

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Without Power; With Friends.

Snoklahoma 2010

Snoklahoma 2010

Snoklahoma 2010

About Wednesday of last week the town was a buzz with talk of a coming ice storm.

"It's supposed to be worse than the Christmas Eve storm!" someone said.

"Did you hear that they've cancelled school tomorrow in anticipation?" another countered.

"But it's nearly seventy degrees out!" a third chimed in.

Indeed, it all seemed a little rash, but when you're in Oklahoma, this kind of cold weather storm is sort of a big deal. They don't happen every day, and when they do, the town is left scrambling to salt the roads, plow the streets, and make all the preparations that are second nature in northern cities that experience this sort of thing multiple times every winter.

Thursday arrived and it didn't look quite so bad. Still, Justin was sent home around 11 am from class. Things began to pick up that afternoon; first wind and rain, and then the ice began to form. The wind blew so hard as to make the icicles form at an angle!

We had a couple of flickers in our power, but didn't think much of it...until at 4:45 when the lights went out and didn't come back on.

After a few minutes we looked up the number for the power company and called to report the outage and get an estimate on how long we could expect to wait before the power would be restored.

"I can't give you an accurate estimate at this time. Power should be restored by 11 am on Monday, but it could be sooner."

Monday was a bad answer. Without a working fireplace, four days was way too long to be in an unheated home with an 18 month old. Thankfully, K&J still had power and welcomed us into their home because every hotel we called in Lawton was already full to the brim.

Our stay included Wii golf, bowling, and The Price is Right, Syfy's Alice, a very competitive game of Scrabble, delicious cookies (and other food), hot coffee, a comfortable air mattress, and of course, a visit with good friends. When Justin and Kellen went to check on the status of our power Friday morning they discovered that it had been restored. We stayed another night with K&J anyway. It was that much fun.

After more than four years of growing friendship, I honestly don't know what I'm going to do when we go our separate ways in a few months. Trying to soak up every minute...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Falling down on the job.

I write this blog for several reasons. For one, I like to write, and I don't get to do it very often since college. I also know it's a way to keep the people we care about updated on news and events in our lives when it would be very difficult to share photos and stories otherwise. It's a small way for me to try and reach out to like minded people on topics like motherhood and crafting. And finally it's just a great place for me to reflect and share what I'm feeling and thinking. I find that writing things down often helps me recognize patterns and identify things that I like or don't like and want to change.

In terms of news sharing, then, I've definitely fallen down on the job. Two weeks ago Justin submitted our preferences for his next duty station. I think there were something like 39 people vying for the available positions that had been given by list in advance. The Order of Merit for who had the opportunity to select first was based on number of months deployed and dwell time (number of months at home since your last deployment). Thankfully, Justin's purple heart was factored in by including the months he would have completed from his first deployment and we were somewhere near the top of the OML with 23 months deployed and 9 months of dwell time since his last deployment.

Given the available slots, we had ranked our preferences something like this:

1. Fort Lewis (near Tacoma in WA)
2. Fort Carson (Colorado Springs, CO)
3. Fort Stewart (closest to Savannah, GA)
4. Fort Campbell (Clarksville, TN)
5. Fort Riley (closest to Topeka, KS)

We'd hoped to get one of our top three. On the day Justin was to submit his request, he called me, minutes before his meeting with the Branch Rep. He'd heard some information that made him seriously question ranking Lewis as number one. We decided quickly to swap Carson to our first choice, and then the waiting began.

We had anticipated at least two weeks of wait time, so we were surprised and thrilled last week when he got word of his assignment to one of the three available slots at Fort Carson, CO.

From everything I've heard (and from what I remember as a child--we took two vacations to the Springs growing up), Colorado Springs is absolutely lovely and should make a wonderful home for us in the coming years. We are very excited and I've already begun to research (of course) about the area.

I pray that when we make our move in a few months that we will have a smooth transition, find opportunities for our growth, make new friends, and have a new place to call home.

Friday, January 22, 2010

In which I nearly punch a woman in the face.

We live less than 10 minutes away from the drive thru Starbucks in town. I'm not going to say that's why we picked our place, but it certainly didn't hurt. Today while I was out I needed to pick up some more coffee beans and swung by Starbucks on my way home.

I chose a pound of the Pike Place Roast and got in line. The woman in line in front of me glanced over her shoulder at me and gave a quick forced grin. Her eyes rested on my bag of coffee beans for a moment as the guy behind the counter reached for it and asked if I'd like it ground.

"Sure," I replied.

The woman looked back at me and asked, "Was that from over here? How much is that?"

Thinking that she was considering some for herself, I replied, quite helpfully, "Yes, just there. I think it's $9.95?"

"Ah," she said with a knowing smirk and a raised eyebrow. Next she looked at me and said, pointedly, more like a statement than a question, "Is your husband in the military?"

Now I'd lost my footing a little. Relevance?


"Well, then, you should know that you can get that in the commissary for $5.95. AND last week they had a coupon for a dollar off," she snapped, again with the little knowing smirk.

"........." I said.

".....well, that's good to know," I finished, as I listened to the guy grinding my beans. That would have been great to know before the guy took them to be ground, I thought.

And then she gives me a little laugh and another self-satisfied, condescending little gesture, and places her order for a grande Pike Place Roast, after clarifying to a different barista that NO, the ground bag of Pike Place was NOT part of her order, as if she could be that foolish.

Okay, just a few things here. One, I totally need to not let myself get worked up about this sort of thing, but I do.

Two, I was polite, but what I should have said was, "Gee, first of all, that's none of your business. Secondly, I live not far from here, so the time (40 minutes to get there and back with no traffic) and gas (16 miles round trip) it takes to go on post just doesn't seem to make the savings worth it to me. And even if I did want to save $4, I'd do just about anything to avoid going on post and having to talk to know-it-all busy bodies like YOU."

Point number three: If she was really interested in saving on her coffee, maybe she'd like to know that her little brewed cup of coffee cost her about 6 times (something like $.31 vs. $1.95) what it does to brew a cup at home. So if she buys a cup even three times a month, guess what? Her little commissary savings tip didn't make such a difference.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wrist action

wrist work

wrist work

wrist work

wrist work

wrist work

Justin gave me some fantastic yarn as part of my Christmas present. He chose several colors, and got me one skein in each, so I needed a project that would not require too much yarn. After long admiring Sandra Juto's Wrist Worms, I thought I would try my hand making something similar for myself.

It took me several tries, experimenting with different stitches, circumferences and lengths, but I finally arrived at a pattern that works for me. I chose to make mine are lengthier than Sandra's, but I wanted to retain the beautiful simplicity of her design.

Sadly, for both the heathered grey and the burnt orange colors, I need a second skein in order to have one for each hand! I'd rush to order another, but Justin and I are experimenting with a personal spending hiatus in order to focus on what we already have (but that's another story...), so I'll have to wait a little while in order to complete the pairs.

I suppose, however, that really I'm just fine with only one for now, seeing as my left wrist is living in a brace these days. I was diagnosed with tenosynovitis last week when I finally broke down and saw the doctor after about 6 months of chronic wrist pain. It's been mostly in my left hand, although my right hand will occasionally begin to hurt too. It's funny to me, because Justin and I had termed it "Mommy Wrist," to know that apparently it's a common ailment among mothers because of all that baby-liftin'. I am supposed to wear the brace for three weeks. If there has not been improvement by that point they do a steroid injection into the place where the tendons are inflamed. Yikes! I am looking to avoid that, so I've been dutifully wearing my brace, although I feel rather silly doing so as it is such a lame injury. People have been asking me with concern what happened and I feel sheepish giving the ultimately boring explanation of "inflamed tendons from baby lifting."

I was thinking of spicing up my explanation...maybe instead I could tell of...arm wrestling with Katee Sackhoff...my new hobby watermelon juggling...or an unfortunate encounter with a wild turkey at the OKC zoo.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Kitty cats and staircases

Evie and Olive

Evie and Olive

On our family trip to NJ/NY a few weeks ago, Justin and I were able to go see a matinee of Ragtime on Broadway thanks to some of my closest friends from Rutgers. They watched Evie for us one day and did all kinds of fun things at their house, like make banana zucchini bread, climb stairs, and pet the two cats that reside there. Did I mention there were STAIRS and CATS? Okay, just making sure. Evie wanted to make it clear that those were important elements in the story.

One of my friends, Brad, took some great shots of E during the day that he's shared on his blog Through the Pinhole Lens. You should check it out, and while you're there, look at his other fantastic photography. I especially enjoyed the pictures from his recent trip to D.C.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

No way

I've been trying (once again) to do the whole "get up at 5:30 am to work out thing," but some mornings (like this morning) I don't manage it. On mornings like this one, I only get out of bed when Evie wakes and groggily calls to me. She's not much of a morning person. I get some milk for her and bring her back to bed with me where I pathetically lie in bed, both of us awake (Justin out being hooah at PT), trying to eek out a few more horizontal minutes.

One of my tactics to lengthen this time has been to let Evie play with the ringtones on my phone. (Insert that pathetic part again...) She has thus began calling the phone "Bah bah bah bah bah!" after her favorite ringtone entitled "Sunny Day." The rhythm is something like three eighth notes, a dotted quarter, then another eighth, to give you the full context--E says the 'bah bahs' in rhythm. This is usually a very innocent activity in the early hours of the morning, but on occasion she has accidentally exited out of the ringtone menu and, before I have noticed, activated my speed dial (sorry Momma, Denise, and an apology in advance to Julia...it's bound to happen to you one of these days...).

Well, today, while excitedly dancing to the "bah bah bah bah bahs" Evie lost grip on the phone and it fell between the mattress and the wall behind the bed. In the dead center. I tried reaching for it, but it was no good, so I simply abandoned it there for most of the morning. (Suddenly it's WAY less cool since I got my ipod touch.)

Mid afternoon or so I decided I really needed to make an effort to get it back out. This was going to involve me finding something long to reach and poke with, and a lot of wiggling on my stomach, face in the carpet. So what did I do? I told Chokydar to go get it.

Now here's the crazy part. She made for going under the bed. I was like WHAAA??? No way!!! We've never trained her to do tricks really and, although I suspect her of speaking English fairly fluently, the response was so immediate and unexpected, it took me completely by surprise. I do this sort of thing all the time now with Evelyn (try new suggestions, not send her under the bed) because she is more and more capable every day. She often will surprise me by being able to do something I wasn't really sure that she could. It's almost as if Choky had been observing this phenomenon and was afraid that Evie was showing her up.

So I got the phone back. But no thanks to Chokydar. Apparently one of her toys was just under the edge of the bed, so she's not a super genius after all. She's still a Super Puli, though.

And I discovered Justin's missing ipod under the bed as well!! It had presumable suffered the same fate as my phone, but no one knew it. We've been looking for that thing for weeks!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A dangerous pastime...

So I've been thinking...

In comparing this year's holidays to last year I was struck by a couple of things. Last year I was not super excited about Christmas; even thought about not putting up the tree (I did put it up, with Julia's help!). Without Justin home and Evie not old enough to know what was going on it just didn't feel the same. This year however, I was super psyched for Christmas, started decorating and crafting and wrapping and singing ASAP and yet I felt like the 25th came and went not unlike a steam engine. It was a wonderful holiday, don't get me wrong, but I felt a bit railroaded by the whole thing and have some ideas of how I may want to do things differently in the future.

Similarly, last New Year's I was incredibly excited. Again, I think it had much to do with turning the page onto the calendar year in which Justin would return from deployment. I was full of hope and enthusiasm and excitement and possibilities. This year, on the other hand, I'm having a harder time getting off the ground. I don't want to mislead you; I'm not without excitement for the new year. I think my major problem is that I look around and see so many things I'd like to improve, I don't know where to begin. And then I get exhausted just thinking about it all.

There are some small things off the top of my head that I want to do for myself. This year I want to:

-Read more. I used to be an avid reader, and nowadays I simply don't sit down to read. Anything counts, but I'd like to focus on new fiction (reading Harry Potter over and over doesn't count).
-Drink more water. Some days I go a whole day without drinking any. Unless you count the water used to make my coffee. No? I didn't think that counted.
-Declutter. Especially my wardrobe. Goodbye wishful thinking size 8 pants.
-Draw. Anything.
-Take more walks with Chokydar and Evie. (Justin too of course, but he's not just wild about them, whereas the other two can't get enough.

I'd also like to get rid of some of my emotional crutches. For instance, when I'm stressed or avoiding something, I have the tendency to gobble candy. When I say "gobble" think entire boxes in a day. Then I'll go out and get more. I thought it would be a good idea to give up candy altogether for a year, as I see myself more of an abstainer than a moderator, but this idea was not greeted enthusiastically by anyone I tested it on. ("You're going to do WHAT?!?!?") So that idea is on hold, although I'm still debating instituting it.

I came across some useful looking resolution/goal worksheets (I NEED spreadsheets, charts, calendars, check lists, etc.) and think I will look over them to try and get myself geared up and open to renewal. They are both from Simplemom.net and have gotten me thinking. This one is maybe a little too in depth for me, but is a good jumping off point, and I like the philosophy behind this post that says "winter is the time for setting goals, not starting goals."

Are you making resolutions/goals for 2010?

Monday, January 4, 2010

There and back again


Knocked out on the train


Plan B

We got back Sunday afternoon from our "vacation" (i.e. lots of enjoyable hard work) to Houston and New Jersey/New York. The trip included treacherous icy road conditions, snow storms, family, the best of friends, catching up, Evie's first encounter with stairs, excellent fondue, wii golf and bowling, a diverted excursion to Menlo Park mall instead of West Point, Cinnamon crunch bagels (with hazelnut cream cheese) from Panera, the NJ Transit, taking the wrong train for the first time ever, Ragtime on Broadway, fantastic Greek food on 56th and 7th, and the flight from hell, and much, much more. Well, nevermind...after hearing of the debacle at Newark airport this week, suddenly our trip didn't seem nearly so bad.

And through all of that (or perhaps because of), I somehow managed to take only a handful of pictures. Thankfully the drive back up to OK was the best we've had in months and we're using the week to unpack, settle back into routine, play with Christmas toys, and welcome the new year!

Hope yours has started well!

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