Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"We love our dad!"

I feel like the final post of Blog 365 should be some sort of deep look at the past year, but eh, that's what the archives are for. Instead, here's a picture I just took of Ginger and Eddie engaging in a little Fred-worship:

We were supposed to be having fondue for supper tonight, but neither the commissary nor Walmart had any French bread. So instead we're going to go out to Jailhouse Pizza in Brandenburg. The fondue will have to wait until Friday (dinner out with friends tomorrow).

I remember spending a New Year's Eve with my Grandma Jernigan when I was a kid. She took a bath around 8 that night and announced, "I'm not taking another bath until next year!" That totally cracked me up and has obviously stuck with me. In that spirit, this is the last you'll hear from me until next year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spent the day in Bowling Green

Fred and I journeyed down to Bowling Green today to watch a swim meet. This was the same meet where I last year took this amazing picture, thinking the swimmer was Annabelle (it wasn't):

Today we had more user-related camera problems. Fred agreed to shoot for me since my hands were especially shaky today, but I forgot to tell him that you shouldn't rotate the camera if you're shooting in video mode. I've figured out how to fix the file for playback on my computer, but when I upload it to YouTube it reverts back to sideways. So if you're eager to watch the 200-yard IM, rest your head on your own shoulder and check it out (with a time of 2:39.36, he placed 5th overall in the event):

My shaky hands and I took over for filming the 100-yard breaststroke, but for some reason stupid YouTube is taking its stupid time "processing" the file. Grrrrr! Oh, well, I'll add it on once it's available, but that might be sometime tomorrow. He finished sixth overall in the event with a time of 1:15.63, a .7-second improvement over his previous best time just .7 seconds over his best time.

Edited to add: It's finally finished!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tooth story

Annabelle went to the dentist today to have 8 teeth pulled. So watch this and then head over to her blog for the details:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another traveling coat

When my cousin Julie and I were in Europe back in college, we each had a coat. I bought mine at home before I left Florida, and the poor thing was pretty but just wasn't a match against the German winter. Julie, on the other hand, bought hers in France--a glorious men's wool overcoat, made in England and toasty warm. When the course of our lives led Julie to south Florida and me to chillier climates, we swapped coats. I am always grateful for its stylish warmth (after all these years, I guess it's "vintage"), and I make it a point to tell Julie where her coat has been. (She was especially honored recently to realize that her coat had been photographed with the Naked Cowboy in Times Square.)

When I think of Julie and the coat, I always think of one particular photo. I took this of her outside a hotel in Amsterdam:

When Fred and I (and the coat) went to NYC last month, I had to get my own lion picture:

That coat has a lot of miles on it!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A perfect winter day

Today was lovely. Sure, it was cloudy. Sure, it was a little windy. But the high was almost SEVENTY DEGREES! I was in heaven.

It's short lived though. Tomorrow's high is going to be 45, which is going to feel even worse than usual after spending today in such glorious warmth.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The strange story of Bruce and Kevin

Once upon a time, a nice Australian couple in Pennsylvania had a nice couple of light-up reindeer on their front lawn for Christmas. Their names (the reindeer's, not the Australians') were Bruce and Kevin. One evening the nice Australian couple arrived home to find Bruce and Kevin duct-taped in a . . . um . . . compromising position. They assumed that the trickery had been committed by their seminar mates, but the same thing happened the next night when said seminar mates were all at a party. Very mysterious . . .

(I've seen the photos, and they are hysterical, but alas, I don't have copies of them. So you'll just have to take my word for it.)

Anyway, on the THIRD night, everybody was at another holiday party, and this time there was a "Dirty Santa" game, where you get to steal other people's presents. For quite a while, I had a 2008 White House ornament in my hands, but then it got stolen back away from me. So Fred had to make a choice: would he take the light-up Hulk mask? the Mexican baseball cap and wallet? perhaps the Army tie? No, he zeroed in on the box labeled "Bruce's Cousin from Down Under."

We brought the cousin home to Kentucky, but he looked lonely all by himself in our yard, so Fred went out and bought him a family. And now we have a small herd in our front yard, but they don't have names. So if you have any suggestions, leave a comment.

The Australian cousin is the little one in the middle:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Normally I would post a scan of our Christmas card here to wish everybody a very merry Christmas, but we're doing New Year's cards this year, and they're still at Walgreens. So instead I will share the one and only photo I took today:

We had a nice, relaxing day that didn't even get started until well after 9. The kids emptied out their stockings and then Fred made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. After breakfast we opened presents, and then Fred, Mike, and I watched Mike's DVD of Anchorman while Annabelle arranged her new loot in her room. We had our big meal around 4, and we're going to spend the evening watching more movies.

I hope your Christmas has been just as relaxing!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fa la la la la

We are officially ready for Christmas, right down to the stockings. This has to be some sort of record for us, as usually Fred and I are wrapping well into the night on Christmas Eve.

We just got back from caroling. My friend Laura organized a serenade for a friend and neighbor of ours who is facing some pretty serious and scary health problems. I was worried that with it being Christmas Eve, we might have a small turnout. But there were at least 25 people there, and our music was well received. It felt good to be part of such a friendly, caring group!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's a valuable prize!

My sister won a $50 Panera gift card in an ugly Christmas sweater contest! Here she is modeling the garment:

Fifty bucks at Panera beats a leg lamp any day!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Something about a man in uniform

I can't resist one:

Never could:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The long and winding (and windy) road

Nothing of substance to report today. Fred and I spent 10 and a half hours driving back from PA. All in all the weather was better than it could have been, but it was so WINDY!

We looked for a Starbucks for 377 miles before giving up and stopping at a Steak-n-Shake for milkshakes. Next exit? Yep, Starbucks.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Party report

Well, I was totally wrong about the sort of formal we were going to last night. I thought it was going to be one of those nights where you dress up pretty and have a receiving line and the whole "gentlemen, seat your ladies" thing and a million toasts and a speaker. I was right as far as "dress up pretty," but after that it diverged. This was a PARTY! No receiving line, no toasts, no boring speaker.

My first clue that things were going to be different was that each table had a marshmallow gun and a baggie of ammunition. You would think that anybody mature enough to be admitted to something as lofty as the War College would be way too mature to blow marshmallows at each other from across the room, right? Well, you would be wrong:

At the end of the evening, the DJ played "Freebird," sparking a wave of nostalgia for Fred and his friend Al:

We had a great time, and now we're off to another party, this one just for Fred's seminar group. Something tells me I don't need to worry about receiving lines or boring speakers at this party either.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Better do this now

Greetings from Pennsylvania! My flight was uneventful, and there was a rather festive air at the Louisville airport, as it was crawling with basic trainees on their way home on block leave. When the plane arrived at BWI, the flight attendant asked for a round of applause for the 20 or so on our flight, and then we all stayed seated and let them get off first. I thought that was nice.

Fred and I are getting ready to go over to Carlisle Barracks for the formal. I thought I better go ahead and blog now in case we're after midnight getting home.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ready as I'm gonna be

This always happens to me when I'm getting ready to go out of town. I run out of time and energy long before I run out of stuff to do. I hit that point about an hour ago.

Fortunately I have all the big stuff done. I am, for example, packed. But I was hoping to update the Quicken and get our Christmas cards in the mail, neither of which are going to happen this week. Quicken will still be here when I get back, and I had the brilliant (to me) idea that this year we will be sending New Year's cards instead. Clever, eh? That just bought me an extra week. Oh, and the vacuuming of the upstairs that I meant to do before my mom got here (on the 3rd of December) but that I never got around to? Yeah, not happening either.

In other news, Mike left this evening to visit a friend in California for a few days. He just called a little while ago from the Minneapolis airport with the shocking report that it is "cold like I have never felt cold before." Cold in Minneapolis? In December? Really?!

After we dropped Mike at the airport, Annabelle and I had to hustle ourselves down to E'town for her final holiday performance with the youth orchestra. They did their show at the food court at the mall, and it really sounded great! It's been a busy few weeks of various rehearsals and performances, and now they are all over. It's been fun, but it'll be nice to take a rest!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Call me Zippy

I did it! I faced the invisible zipper, and I won. I got the zipper in yesterday, and then today I had to do the facing and the hem. Oddly enough it was the hem that wound up really intimidating me. I decided that the skirt's lower-knee length was just a touch frumpy so I wanted to make it shorter, but the thought of cutting into the fabric when it was SO close to finished just terrified me. So I channeled my cousin Julie, who is the bravest seamstress I know, and set to work, and it all turned out great.

Here, I'll give you a peek if you promise to act like you're seeing it for the first time when I post pictures from the formal. Also, please pretend that I am wearing sheer black hose and fresh makeup:

Edited to add: I forgot to give a shout out to this tutorial for walking me through invisible zipper land! I don't think I would have ever figured out how to use the stupid zipper foot without it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ice dance

What's missing from this list?

I'll give you a hint. It starts with an F and ends with an O-R-T-K-N-O-X.

All counties surrounding us are closed. Jefferson County (Louisville) schools are open, but on the news they keep saying, "Well, we (meaning Louisville) got off easy, but south of us (meaning areas like Fort Knox) is a whole 'nother story!" And our forecast is for wintry mix in the morning, changing to freezing rain in the afternoon, so it's not like things are going to improve throughout the day.

Mike is incensed. On the off-chance that they would close school today, the high school compressed today's finals reviews with yesterday's. That means Mike's review for AP US History got condensed to a half-hour for nothing, and he's really nervous about that exam.

I don't know why I feel so disappointed. It really doesn't change MY day. I still get to stay home and refuse to go out. I love being snowbound with the kids though and feel bad for them that they have trudge off to school. And I feel especially bad for the faculty and staff who have to make their way here from Louisville and E'town!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Skirting the issue

When we first got the word about the upcoming deployment, I seriously considered changing my plans for going to Carlisle next weekend to attend the formal. Frankly I wasn't in much of a mood for fun of any sort and ESPECIALLY Army fun. Eventually I decided that I wasn't going for the Army; I was going for me and for Fred, so I got over myself and started hunting in my closet for something to wear.

I ultimately decided that in order to maximize warmth, I would wear my black velvet jacket that I bought a couple years ago, but I didn't really care for any of my skirts that go with it. They were all too church-dressy, as opposed to party-dressy. I could have gone out shopping for a skirt, but instead I opted to make one.

I am making this pattern (but the knee-length version):

Out of this fabric:

So far, so good. Mom and I cut it out together while she was up here, and today I started sewing. I have the front and back sewn together at one side, and all that remains is to put in the invisible zipper, finish that side seam, put in the facing, and do the hem. I'm nervous about the zipper though. I don't think I've ever done an invisible one, and I had to buy this little set of special feet for the sewing machine, which makes me think it might be some sort of Big Deal.

I think I am going to stop for the night while I am ahead and face the zipper in the morning.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sh! Do you hear that?

There's a box of Cinnabons on my kitchen counter, and I think they are calling my name. Must. Be. Strong.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I got together with a couple of friends tonight for wine, munchies, and fun conversation. We had a great time! I need to do stuff like that more often.

Mom left this morning, which was a bummer. Annabelle went with us to the airport, and then she and I went shopping (the mall was just normal Saturday morning crowded as opposed to a week and a half before Christmas crowded, which was nice), had lunch, and got our hair cut.

I have a lot of stuff to do tomorrow but nothing that has to be done at any particular time. I'm hoping to sleep until 9.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Space case?

My dad has been getting some cool night sky photos lately! The other day he sent me this one, which is Jupiter, Venus, and the moon:

And then tonight he sent me this one, which is the moon at its closest orbital point to Earth:

I'm impressed!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Strangest dream last night

It's kind of a running joke between Fred and me that I always have the most bizarre dreams, and the next morning I always say, "I had the strangest dream last night." But last night I really did!

I dreamed that I decided my fingers were too long, so I took a guillotine-style nail trimmer like you might use on a large dog's claws, and I snipped off the tip of each finger on my left hand. Then I thought, "Well, that was a stupid thing to do," and I gathered up the pieces and took them to the doctor, who glued them back on.

When I say I had the strangest dream last night, I speak the truth.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Where did today go?

Today has been a blur. Mom and I spent most of the school day down in E'town, doing some Christmas shopping and having lunch. I have introduced Mom to the wonders of Panera, and she seems to like it a lot. Which is good, as we will most likely be eating lunch there again tomorrow.

When we got home in the afternoon, I went into full-on chauffeur mode. 3:15--take Mike to swim practice. 4:30--take Annabelle to musical theater class. 4:45--pick Mike up from swim practice. 6:15--pick Annabelle up from musical theater class. Then I had a swim boosters meeting at 7:00, and somewhere in all that, Mom made supper. We had Laredo, which is basically just chili with cheese, but hers is the best. It's what I always request when I go home to Florida, so it's nice to get to enjoy it up here as well. Especially in this ICKY weather!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Well, I managed to tell 2 friends our news today without crying, which is an improvement over yesterday. In fact, I haven't cried at all today.

This may sound crazy, but I blame a paint chip for our current troubles. Back at the beginning of the school year when we thought we would be staying here through 2010, I had a wild desire to paint my bathroom. So I went to Lowe's and picked out some paint chips and taped the best one to the bathroom wall so that I could live with it for a while and see how I liked it. When they first said Germany to us, I decided that there was no point in painting if we were just going to be moving out in a matter of months, but I still left the chip on the wall . . . until this week when I threw it away. I threw it away, and the next thing you know Germany is off the table and Fred is headed for another deployment.

I'm going to stop by Lowe's tomorrow and get another paint chip. And once I've ascertained that it's the right color, I'm buying paint, and I'm painting the bathroom. I might just paint the whole stupid house while I'm at it.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Stress code

While we have been reasonably satisfied with the schools here on post, there is one aspect that has been a constant source of frustration for the past 3+ years: the dress code. It's crazy! It's huge and unwieldy and full of bizarre rules, such as no capris for girls and turtleneck shirts only if worn under a school-approved sweater or sweatshirt. Why, why, why?! There's also laughable language such as, "Authorized school logos and naturally occurring logos found on some apparel such as Polo, Tommy Hilfiger, etc., are permitted provided the logo is no larger than 2 inches square." Naturally occurring logos? Are you kidding me?! It is a nightmare trying to find clothes that fit the code and that kids want to wear.

It looks like this year something might finally be done about this Frankenregulation (at 3.5 pages, compared to other schools' 1 or 2-page codes, it is indeed a monster). Tonight they held a meeting to get parent input. I had planned on going anyway even though up until Friday (sob!), I didn't think I'd have a dog in that fight as of next year. Now that my dogs and I will still be here, I was extra-enthusiastic about putting in my 2 cents.

I had to leave the meeting a little before the end to make it to the high-school band concert. Annabelle had told me to feel free to miss the concert in order to fight the code, but I didn't want to do that! The concert was great, and I think I got some good video. I'll try to get it uploaded soon.

If you want to look at the dress code for yourself, you can check it out here on the middle school's website.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Eyewitless traffic report

Mom and I drove up to Louisville this morning to watch Mike's swim meet and then to take him to get a haircut. The meet was great! Mike dropped his time in his 100 freestyle to 1 minute 1 second--this was without starting blocks, so with blocks he could probably shave that down a bit more.

When we came out of the meet, the weather had turned icky, and it was doing some weird combination of light snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Not my kind of weather at all but not nearly bad enough to account for the carnage we witnessed as we drove across town. EVERY overpass had at least one wreck. We estimate that we saw between 15 and 20 wrecks, with one truck being entirely upside down and one car being completely burnt out inside. People, when they say that the bridge ices before the road, THEY ARE NOT KIDDING!

I read online that in a 2-hour time period, there were 62 injury accidents and 123 non-injury accidents. That is just crazy!

Friday, December 05, 2008


I've been looking forward to writing tonight's post for a really long time, since mid-October, I guess. I had a title picked out for it, and it was going to be called: "This blog is about to get a lot more exciting." And it was going to say, "Today Fred finally got the call about his assignment for next year, and we're going back to Germany! We've known about it for several weeks, and it has looked more and more certain as time has gone by, but I just didn't want to risk jinxing it by putting it on the blog." Well, fat fucking lot of good that did.

Instead you can see the title of the post for yourself and instead it goes like this:

Fred finally got the call about his assignment for next year, and he's deploying to Afghanistan. The kids and I will stay here. We're all pretty much devastated.

It's going to take a while to process this. I will say though that I have gone from the stunned phase to pissed off remarkably quickly.

Wake me up in 18 months.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Annabelle and Big Red

Tonight was the Christmas performance for the youth orchestra and the ECTC choir. You will have to believe me when I say it was fantastic! I took the video camera and even went to the trouble of purchasing a new tape. But it quickly became apparent that with the audience and the orchestra all sitting on the same level and with Annabelle tucked away towards the back with the rest of her bass buddies that the tape was not going to show anything except a lot of heads and music stands and some violin bows sweeping up and down. Fortunately the county school system had a professional there recording the whole thing, and I got the phone number. I'm going to call tomorrow and order their DVD and when I get it, I'll share highlights.

In the meantime here's a still photo for you:

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I want my mommy!

So I'm going to go up to Louisville and pick her up from the airport. :-D

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Can I do it?

I have one paper standing between me and the end of the semester. It's technically due by midnight on Friday, but I just want it DONE, the sooner the better. I've finished up all my research and sat down at 8:00 to knock it out. My goal is to be finished by midnight. Here it is already 10:15 though, and I'm just finishing up page 3 (out of 8). Stand by for updates . . .

Oh, before I forget! Go check out Annabelle's post from today. It's a supercute song parody that she did for a school assignment. I'd like it noted for the record that I did too know what "demur" meant--I just didn't understand her use of it in the song when she was singing it for me.

Update: I hear the 11:00 bugle, and I am just at the top of page 5. Midnight is looking less and less likely as a goal.

Update: 11:22, and I just finished page 5. I skipped ahead and wrote the third section of the paper before writing the second. Right now I'm trying to decide between writing the conclusion and skipping back to section 2.

Update: 11:47, and I'm just hitting the bottom of page 6. So yeah, midnight isn't going to work.

Update: 12:21, and I have a half dozen lines to go before reaching my required 8 pages. Fortunately (?) I still have my conclusion left to write, and it should be good for at least that much space. I'm beat and am going to head for bed. Even if I could knock it out right now, it would probably not be a good idea for me to submit it without taking another look at it with fresher eyes tomorrow. Oh, well, I'm satisfied. It's almost over.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The one that got away

Today was colder than a well-digger's monkey or something like that. I got home from my doings in Louisville, and the sky opened up, shooting forth a torrent of snow just as I needed to take the dog out. I decided no way was I going to go out in that mess with her, so I was just going to stand inside the front door and let her run out on the flexi-leash to take care of her business.

Anyway, as I opened the door, I was greeted by a sight of unspeakable cuteness. A SQUIRREL was sitting on the pumpkin that I just haven't gotten around to pitching yet, and he was eating it. I shut the door and ran upstairs for my camera, and when I got back he was STILL there (greedy little bugger), but I only got to fire off one shot before he took off. And that one shot was horribly, awfully, terribly out of focus:

Does that not suck? Would that not have been such a great picture? I haven't been this bummed photographically speaking since I took that awesome picture of a swimmer who turned out NOT to be my daughter.

Victory will be mine! I will leave that pumpkin there until next Christmas if I have to. He has to come back. And when he does, I'll be waiting for him . . .

Edited to add: My dad said this in the comments to this post: "You can't fool me. That front-porch 'photo' is of the famous Monet painting 'le petit rodent mange sur le grand jacques au laterne.' (I saw the original hangin' in the Loover!)"

Sorry, Dad, but you are mistaken. I believe this is the famous Monet painting to which you are referring:

They are admittedly very similar. It's an easy mistake to make.


I have knitted a cheeseload of socks in the past few years, and with one exception I always come back to my same old reliable pattern. This time, however, I wanted to shake things up a little bit, so I am still using Old Reliable BUT I am knitting both socks at once as outlined here:

I'm hoping this will prevent Second Sock Syndrome, that dreaded condition in which you have completed one sock and can't think of anything you'd rather do less than knit the second sock.

Oh, and did I mention that I finished my green sweater in time for my NYC trip? I'm really happy with how it turned out:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I feel like such a teeny bopper

I took a break from writing my final paper for this semester's class to take Annabelle to see the new Twilight movie. I was not looking forward to it, but it was MUCH better than I expected. The main vampire was quite hawt in a big-haired, eye-lined, stalkerish sort of way. And Kristen Stewart did not come across nearly as ditzy as she did on the Letterman show last week.

Now it's back to work for me!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


We're back at Fort Knox! It was an uneventful drive north, and we kept Fred with us up to Nashville. He's on a plane to Philly as I'm typing this.

I've got a ton of stuff to catch up on around here, but I wanted to go ahead and post a picture of the kids with all their Taylor cousins. It's not often that we're able to drag this crowd all together at once, so this Thanksgiving was extra special. Everybody had a blast!

Ginger enjoyed getting to know her dog cousins, Daisy and Roux. There was no hope of getting them all to hold still on their own for a group photo, so we forcibly restrained them for this shot:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fun, fun, fun!

We're having a great holiday weekend. Plenty of cousins, plenty of dogs, plenty of yummy food. One thing we're a little short on though is Internet access, so I'm just signing on briefly to Fred's dad's computer to post this. The kids and I will be back at Knox tomorrow night, and I hope to start posting photos then.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm blogging now from the hotel in Birmingham to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving. I figure it's hard to stuff my face and type at the same time, so I better take care of this now. Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas in the Park

Hi from Birmingham! We're at the Embassy Suites, waiting for Fred, whose plane is due in at 11 tonight. By and large the hotel is a bargain--roughly $100 with the military rate, and I'm enjoying my complimentary cocktail right now. The only bummer is that whereas the Hyatt in NYC charged $9.95 for 24 hours of Internet access, Embassy Suites charges $9.95 for 24 hours of Internet access PER CONNECTION. So I've ponied up 20 bucks to hook the kids up to the electronic teat, but oh well. I'm checking in briefly from Mike's computer while he changes into his swimsuit. We're going to go down to the swimming pool in a minute and then ordering pizza because I like to never have found this joint in the first place and I'm not taking a chance by leaving again. Besides there's probably another complimentary cocktail in my future.

I thought I would share a couple of pics from Annabelle's performance last night. Her musical theater group performed at the opening of E'town's Christmas in the Park. It was c-c-cold, but they did a great job!

Next stop Dadeville!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Paper boy

When I got home from New York, I tossed out all the daily papers that came while I was away. I figured our post newspaper The Turret was still good, however, so I flipped through it. Imagine my surprise when I found Mike's grinning mug twice on page A6:

The business seminar thing, I knew about. I had no clue, however, that he was last week's athlete of the week! (If you click on the picture, the page will get larger, and you can read the text.)

Way to go, Mike!

Monday, November 24, 2008

How do you get to Broadway?

Practice, practice, practice!

I got home around 11 last night and was out the door at 8 to take Annabelle down to Elizabethtown for the first of 2 days of school performances with her musical theater class. I've got a project deadline tomorrow, so I dropped her off at the PAC and headed for Panera, my home-office away from home. Fortunately I finished up in time to get back to the PAC and sneak into the back row. It dawned on me that I still had my camera in my purse from the trip, so I grabbed a couple of pictures and video clips. The clip isn't very clear because, hello, back row, and also because people kept walking in front of me. Still you can get an idea of how the show is:

After the performance, I ambushed Annabelle outside the dressing room to get a picture of her in her snazzy dress:

She has another morning of school shows tomorrow and then an outdoor performance at the opening of the light display out at the lake tomorrow night. Then she's off until after Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Airport blogging

Well, my trip is almost over. I am sitting at the gate at the Harrisburg airport, killing time and taking advantage of the free WiFi.

I had such a nice time! Of course it was great to see Fred and to visit NYC, but it was also wonderful to meet his friends here at the War College. Everybody was so kind and welcoming! And now when Fred tells me who said or did what, I'll know who he's talking about.

I'll get back to Fort Knox late tonight. No rest for the weary though--I've got 2 days to get us ready to leave for Alabama on Wednesday. We're meeting Fred in Birmingham late Wednesday night and then continuing on to Dadeville Thursday morning. We will drop Fred off at the Nashville airport on our way home on Saturday. Then we just have 3 weeks or so until Fred comes home for winter break.

Friday, November 21, 2008


I never thought I would actually be able to make it out of bed in time this morning to meet some friends in the hotel lobby at 7:30, but I did. We wandered over to Rockefeller Center to see if we could get on TV during the Today Show. We were way too late to get a decent spot, so we never did get any camera time. We did see some cute dogs though:

Also, if you click on this photo and look at it full sized, you should be able to see Al Roker in the red jacket and Meredith Vieira next to him:

I got back to the hotel around mid-morning and crawled into bed for a 2-hour nap. My feet and legs were aching, and I just couldn't get warm. When I pulled myself back to the land of the living at around 1:30, I was feeling much better. I got on the subway at Grand Central and went north 2 stops. There's a button store up there, Tender Buttons, that I've been dying to visit. Sure enough, it's a really cool store, and I found pewter buttons to replace the icky ones on an otherwise amazing coat I bought at Goodwill.

This evening we ventured as a group to Brooklyn for a dinner to celebrate the promotion of one of Fred's classmates. We had an amazing meal at Mambo Italiano--it seemed like the food (and wine!) would never stop coming. Then we shared a cab with another couple and made it back to the hotel. We're just about packed up to leave tomorrow (wow, I guess that's actually today now--hey, this now officially counts as Saturday's post instead of a second Friday post). This trip has flown by!


Thursday morning was dedicated to small group visits to various local institutions. In our case, our small group wound up visiting the Department of Homeland Security/Customs and Immigrations Enforcement. I thought it would be really dull, as I can't think of anything more boring than going through Customs, but it was actually quite interesting. We learned about human smuggling and trafficking as well as the narcotics trade, and the agents who talked to us shared a lot of "war stories."

When we came out of the building at lunch time and walked down the block, we saw this enormous inflatable rat:

From what I can gather, it's a union rat, and he makes appearances in front of businesses that a particular union feels is behaving in a rodentlike manner.

In the afternoon, we walked over to Times Square, where we encountered a local celebrity. I got my picture taken with the Naked Cowboy:

Then it was time to pick up our tickets for the Late Show With David Letterman:

The show was fun, and I'm glad we did it, but it was strange also. For one thing, there's a lot of pressure on the audience to do a good job. We stood in line in the freezing cold and listened to the pages tell us how much the previous night's crowd had sucked, and I wondered if they say that to everyone. Also, as much as you are prodded to clap, laugh, and make general merriment, you are also strictly forbidden from making high-pitched noises. A friend of ours got pulled out for making a "woot" noise, so after that it was kind of nerve-wracking wondering whether or not you might make a forbidden noise. We got to see Steven Colbert and the chick from the new Twilight movie. I had to keep reminding myself to watch them on the stage instead of on the monitor overhead. I could see them so much better on the monitor though.

Afterwards we had supper at Gallagher's Steakhouse. It was good, but the steaks were just HUGE. I ate half my prime rib and then took the other half to go even though I had no clue how I might possibly go about keeping it cool or reheating it.

After supper we went to the Broadway Comedy Club. Fred and I almost cancelled out of going to that, but I'm so glad we didn't. It was a lot of fun! After the show I gave my left-over steak to one of the coomics who said he had the same problem as far as not having a refrigerator or microwave, but he said he would give it to one of the guys who worked there who would, he assured me, love to have it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Taking care of business

Greetings from the Hyatt's lobby. Fred and I ran out and grabbed breakfast from a street vendor--coffee and a muffin (Fred), Coke and a bagel (me). I figured I would take advantage of the time remaining on my Internet pass to let you know I am still alive.

This morning we have official meetings and tours, but the afternoon promises more touristy fun and adventures. I will try to get details posted later tonight.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Puttin' on the Ritz

You didn't think I'd let a little thing like a trip to NYC come between me and my blog, did you? I haven't blogged every day this year to be put off by paying 10 bucks for 24 hours of Internet access!

Yes, we're here in the Big Apple and having a wonderful time. The bus ride this morning was lots of fun. It's great meeting all of Fred's friends, but my head is swimming with new faces and names.

We got to town around lunchtime but had to hurry off for our 1:00 appointment to go to the top of the Empire State Building. Impressive sight!

Afterwards Fred and I broke off from the group to head for the half-price ticket booth in Times Square. We scarfed down hotdogs from a street vendor's cart on the walk over.

We decided to try something different, so we opted for Young Frankenstein. After we snagged our bargain tickets (row D, orchestra level, thank you very much!), we walked back to the hotel to get the keys to the room and move the luggage upstairs. Then we joined a group of friends and walked (and walked and walked and walked) from our hotel by Grand Central Station to a really awesome Afghan restaurant on Ninth Avenue between 52nd and 53rd Streets. We had a wonderful meal, and then Fred and I walked (and walked and walked) back to 42nd Street to see our show.

Young Frankenstein was lots of fun! Remember George, the psycho pharmacist from Desperate Housewives? He played Dr. Frankenstein! The guy who played Igor was hysterical, and we enjoyed watching Dr. Frankenstein and the rest of the cast try--sometimes successfully, sometimes not--to keep straight faces. Here's a little clip that features clips from the show from when it firt opened:

After the show, we walked back to the hotel, which is where I'm blogging from right now. I need to sign off though, as we have an early day tomorrow. I'll be back sometime in the next 24 hours before my current wireless day pass runs out to let you in on the latest adventures.

In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures I snapped in Times Square this afternoon that I thought Annabelle might like:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Start spreading the news . . .

. . . I'm leaving today!

It's time for the War College's annual field trip to NYC. Spouses are invited, and if you think I'm missing a chance to go to the Big Apple, well, then you don't know me as well as you think. With the Army picking up the tab for the hotel room, how can I afford NOT to go?

I'm flying to Pennsylvania today, so I'll finally get to check out Fred's home away from home. Then tomorrow we board motor coaches for the journey to Oz. We'll be staying at the Hyatt at Grand Central, which is the same hotel we stayed at when we took the kids a couple years ago.

I'm not taking my computer, but Fred will have his and I'll also have my iPod Touch, so I'll be blogging daily and checking email regularly. I probably won't post many photos though until I get home.

I have to give a huge shout out to my friends Sandy and Laura. They are making this trip possible by taking care of my babies, furry and otherwise, for me.

I need to go finish my packing. Ten pounds of crap, 5-pound bag and all that . . .

These little town blues are melting away . . .

Monday, November 17, 2008

Wanted: new keyboard

My stupid keyboard up and quit on me today. Of course, as I type this it's working fine, but earlier today I could get only every other letter out and it was putting some letters up 4 and 5 times as if to make up for its deficiencies. I love my keyboard--it's a Logitech wireless one that came with a wireless mouse as well. I can do all kinds of neat things like adjust my speaker volume and launch my calculator and even scroll up and down, right from the keyboard! I had to spring for the Logitech one because my indexing software does not play well with Microsoft products.

Hmmm, I cannot believe I've gotten this far without it acting up. My sister suggested that I blog using it after I sent her a mangled email explaining why I've been so out of touch this morning. Perhaps it was just a temporary demonic possession?

Of course, now it'll never be the same again. Even if it continues to work as it should, I'll always be waiting for a relapse. Stupid keyboard.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The rocking of the blocks

Last night we attended an invitational swim meet put on here at Fort Knox by an off-post team with whom we share the pool. There were TEN teams, which is a huge number of people to cram into our little facility. Apparently the hosting team has put on this meet for several years, and I have to say it was really well run.

Because it was so crowded and hard to move around, I attempted to get video only of Mike's 50 yard breaststroke. About halfway through though, so many people had walked in front of the camera that I gave it up and just cheered him on. He did 2 relays and 2 individual events--the 50 breaststroke and the 100 IM. Overall, he placed third in the IM with a time of 1:09.83 and SECOND in the breaststroke with a time of 33.25 seconds (first place was 31.68 seconds). This is consistent with his breaststroke leg of the 200 medley relay, where he had a time of 32.47 seconds. It's also worth noting that he did his leg of the 200 freestyle relay in 27.15 seconds. That water must have been mighty slippery last night!

After the meet, most of the team left, but Mike and some of his buddies were camped out on the floor of the weight room, waiting for the team results to be posted. Were they ever stunned to see the coach's husband walk out with a trophy! We have a great team, but it is definitely an up and coming team--the fact that we had 12 kids stay for the second day of Regionals last year was HUGE for us. So the kids really aren't all that used to trophies, and at first we thought maybe it was the award for best team spirit or nicest personality or maybe even prettiest swimsuits. But no, it was for THIRD PLACE!

Are those some happy looking swimmers, or what?!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I demand a recount!

Yesterday the high was near 70, and it was clear and sunny. I wore sandals on my first trip to Louisville, and I didn't even take a jacket with me. Now it's 39 and raining. Wah!

This would have been the perfect day to stay inside and hibernate. I had errands to run in the morning, however, and Annabelle had a 3-hour orchestra rehearsal in E'town this afternoon. Tonight Mike has another swim meet (in fact, he's at the pool right now for warm ups).

It's days like today where running away to the Bahamas sounds like a reasonable idea.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Into the woods and out of the woods . . .

. . . and home before dark! Well, not exactly. Barely home by midnight is more like it. It's been a long but fun day.

The day started for me at 6:00 a.m. when I was sitting at my computer, working feverishly to meet my deadlines. By 7:00 I had both my editing project and my school paper turned in, and by 8:00 I was on the road up to Louisville.

I have treated myself to a series of 5 private pilates lessons at a studio up there, and today at 9:00 was the third session. I am really enjoying it a lot! I swear I feel taller when I leave the studio.

I ran errands between 10:00 and 11:00 (dropped off rejected shoes at UPS, exchanged Mike's drag suit at the swim store, hit Starbucks), and at 11 I had my hair done. After that it was lunch and more errands and racing home to pick Mike up from swim practice at 4:30.

At 6:00 p.m. I was back on the road to Louisville once again, this time with Annabelle to see Presentation Academy's production of Into the Woods. I'm not nearly the Sondheim fan that Annabelle is, but it was really a top-notch show and an excellent way to spend a Friday evening.

Into the woods, and out of the woods, and happily ever after!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Snaps for Mike!

Mike was one of several kids from his school chosen to attend a program put on by the agricultural college of UK down in E'town for the past 2 days. I'm still fuzzy on exactly what they did, but this is from the website: "The American Private Enterprise Youth Program is developed and coordinated by the Kentucky Council of Cooperatives and the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Agricultural Economics Department. A primary program objective is to provide high school juniors, sometimes seniors, with an appreciation of cooperatives as one of the important forms of doing business in the American enterprise system."

The kids competed against each other, and the top 3 are going to go to the next level program in Lexington this summer. Mike came in third, and one of his friends came in first, so he's really happy. He had a great time and said it was very educational! He's looking forward to the summer program already.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Look, ma, no cavities!

The kids and I went to the dentist this afternoon and all came out with good report cards. That doesn't make for very exciting blogging, but I was pleased.

Right now I have all of my attention aimed at Friday. I've got 3 deadlines on Friday--a paper for school, an indexing project, and phase one of an editing project. Fortunately I turned in the indexing project yesterday, so that's off my desk. This paper is killing me though, and even though it's not due until midnight on Friday, I couldn't work on it that day anyway. I have a pilates class and a hair appointment scheduled, and I plan on enjoying them both secure in the knowledge that I've already met all my obligations. So even if it makes what little is left of today and all of tomorrow extremely busy and stressful, I am determined to make it happen!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In my yard right now

You will never believe this (especially if you're Fred), but there are 4 guys in my yard right now with leaf blowers! This must be some sort of autumnal miracle.

A couple of years ago, housing here on Knox was privatized. There has been a lot of grumbling since then when things that we were promised failed to materialize--like having somebody else take care of your leaves in the fall.

I've been feeling really bad about the leaves for at least a week. I know if Fred were here, he never would have let them get so deep, but let's just say that lawncare is not one of my top priorities. So I never got around to raking them, and now I don't have to!

It's really true what they say: Hard work may pay off in the future, but procrastination pays off today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shield your eyes from the unspeakable cuteness

Here, go watch some puppies.

Edited to add: Oh, I think I can embed this!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Cold and busy

Today was gray, damp, and pretty cold. It would have been the perfect day to stay home, but Annabelle had a Youth Theatre board meeting in E'town. The meeting was at Shoney's, so I got a table for myself and sat there doing homework and a little bit of my latest freelance project.

This is going to be a busy week. Besides the usual stuff, I've got 2 work deadlines on Friday as well as a paper due for class that same day. I've been working hard all weekend, chipping away at bits and pieces of all of them. Working on my madd juggling skillz . . .

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A case of mistaken identity

As I was shivering in the wind while filling my gas tank up in Louisville this afternoon, the fellow in the pickup truck on the other side of the pump called me over. "You look just like . . . like . . . aw, man, I can't think of her name right now! The lady from Alaska."

"Sarah Palin?" I asked.

"Yeah, that's it! You look just like her. Anybody ever tell you that before?"

I twisted up my hair real quick, gave him a wink, and said, "You betcha!"

Friday, November 07, 2008

It pays to have talented neighbors!

One of my neighbors is an incredible photographer. He managed to snap a couple of excellent shots of Mike at last night's swim meet:

I didn't even try to get still shots, but I did record 3 of his 4 events. First he swam the breaststroke leg of the 200-yard medley relay:

Then he swam the 200-yard IM:

Next was the 100-yard breaststroke, which is his favorite event:

He finished that one in a minute and fifteen seconds, which is over a second off his time at Regionals at the end of last season. That's a great place to be starting this season!

His final event was as anchor for the 400-yard freestyle relay, but I didn't get to record that one, as I was running out of battery.

Looks like it'll be a great season!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Very important appointment

My friend Laura and I have been talking for ages about getting together to knit, but something always seems to get in our way. This week, however, we actually set a date and time (1 o'clock this afternoon) to work on our projects, and it looks like this time we might actually make it! I just have to finish the sleeve I'm working on right now and then sew the sleeves to the body, and then my sweater will be finished. Can't wait! Just in time for the onset of cold weather . . .

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The day after

The kids and I stayed up until the very end last night. I feel like I should have something profound to say, but really I'm just happy that it's over and that it all turned out so well. I'm especially proud of Indiana and glad to have been a part of the effort to get out the vote across the river.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy election day!

Today was a beautiful day--nice and warm with beautiful leaves:

I actually wore sandals and went out for a pedicure!

This evening Mike had his first swim meet of the season. His best scores were 35 seconds for his 50 breaststroke and 1:06 for the 100 free. He was happy, I was happy. This little girl didn't seem quite as thrilled though:

Time to watch TV and bite my nails for the next few hours!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Happy Monday

I've been thinking lately that I need to pump up my social life a bit to include interactions that revolve around neither the kids nor any volunteer obligation. Today's activities fit perfectly into that plan! I spent most of the day in Louisville with a couple of good friends. We were going to go out for Thai food for lunch, but it turns out that our targeted restaurant isn't open on Mondays. So we went for Indian instead, and it was delish. Then we hit Whole Foods for our favorite grocery items that we can't find locally. And we finished the day off with some really good ice cream. I need to get out like this more often!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Showing a little leg

If every November day could be like this one, I wouldn't have to fake my enthusiasm for fall. The temps climbed into the mid-70s, and I was able to run around in shorts and sandals.

Today was the swim team's swimathon. We're trying to raise money to buy an electronic scoreboard for the pool, and that'll take some serious dough. The swimathon lasted an hour and 45 minutes. Mike managed to complete 102 50-yard laps, which I'm told is just under 3 miles. I was impressed!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Obama mama and crew

The kids and I and Mike's friend Gabe spent this afternoon canvassing again in Indiana:

To paraphrase an oldie but goodie, I've looked at New Albany from both sides now. When we went up last weekend, we were assigned to a Section 8 housing project; today we were in a neighborhood that included some high-priced real estate with an amazing view of the river. We found that one thing the very rich and the very poor have in common is that by and large they're not home on Saturday afternoon. We did make contact with some people though and got favorable responses. All the "targets" were previously identified as Obama supporters, so our role was simply to encourage people to make sure that their support manifests itself in an actual vote.

Last weekend we were able to park at a community center and hit all of our houses on foot. Today's list was much more spread out, which is tricky when you're in unfamiliar territory. Mike wound up driving so that I could navigate. When we got to a destination, he would park as best he could and wait with the car while Gabe and Annabelle and I went up to the door to do our spiel. He is getting much more confident with his driving, and I am getting much more confident as his passenger.

On our way back to the headquarters, we saw this restaurant, and I just had to get a picture for my sister Jenny ("Ninny" to Mike and Annabelle):