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):