Saturday, December 25, 2010

. . . and to all a good night!

Great Christmas here in Kansas! We slept until a reasonable hour and then attacked the presents under the tree. We balanced out the remainder of the day by eating way too much and plowing through several episodes of Dexter on DVD.

A couple of my favorite parts of Christmas:

The wreath that the kids and I made out of clothespins in Hawaii. We use ours to display cards received throughout the season:

And the stockings my grandmother knitted for the kids:

Each year I love shopping for stocking stuffers. I keep 2 bags going in the weeks leading up to Christmas and toss in goodies as I find them. Then on Christmas Eve, Fred and I wrap what we can of it in special paper (you know, so the kids won't wonder why Santa is using the same paper that we are) and fill up the stockings, which are the first thing the kids head for on Christmas morning. This year's stocking stuffers included some yummy stuff (chocolate-covered espresso beans and a few Reeses products), some sensible stuff (hand sanitizer, pencils, and printer ink, some fun stuff (books and movies I find on sale), and some bizarre stuff (Battle Hamsters).

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Fred is downstairs finishing up some last-minute wrapping, and the kids are waiting upstairs for us to come up to the man-cave for our marathon Dexter viewing session. I just wanted to pop in here quickly to wish everybody a Merry Christmas!

We're having a low-key holiday and are mostly just happy to all be home together:

I thought we were going to have a white Christmas this year. It briefly looked like this from my office window:

But it mostly looked like this:

And then it all just kind of washed away.

Annabelle just came in to inform me that our friends in Kentucky ARE getting a white Christmas. Hmmm . . . they had one here last year. Maybe I really am bad luck when it comes to weather?

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New meaning to the phrase "cat's pajamas"

Eddie likes to burrow down under the covers on our bed during the night. He hangs out there for a while and then slinks out when he gets too warm. Well, last night he was under the covers between me and Fred. I was lying on my side with my back to him, blissfully unaware that he was even there . . . until he tried to crawl out and wound up crawling into my pajama top. All of a sudden, I had a frantic cat trying to make his way out the neck hole of my top! Somehow I managed to get him out of there and went right back to sleep, and Fred slept through the whole thing.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hunkered down

Oh, lordy, it's cold out there! Today has been fiercely windy--right now, for example, it's 24 degrees with 24 m.p.h. winds. Yuck. The kids and I ventured out briefly around noon to hit the commissary for a few much-needed items, but aside from that we've all stayed inside.

Mike got home Thursday night and went shopping with me yesterday. One of the things we did was stop by Oklahoma Joe's, which is this amazing BBQ place in Kansas City. It's in an honest-to-goodness gas station. Fred and I tried it out last weekend--I couldn't believe I stood in line 30 minutes to eat in a gas station, but it was so worth it. Anyway, Mike and I called in a carry-out order yesterday and brought home smoked chicken gumbo for last night's supper and 2 racks of ribs for tonight's. This morning I tossed the ribs in my crockpot with a little bit of water, and they were just perfect by the time we got around to eating them.

This afternoon I sat in the man cave with the guys. They were watching the Army-Navy game, and I was using it as an excuse to sit down for a couple hours with my knitting. I cast off the collar of the sweater that I started a year ago, and now all I have to do is graft the underarm seams closed and weave in my loose ends. I'm hoping to wear it to the library holiday party next Friday.

I had a little excitement after supper, but it turned out to be nothing. I was taking the trash out through the basement so I wouldn't have to go down the back stairs in this horrible wind. Our basement, which is usually fairly toasty even if it is creepy, was FREEZING! And then I saw these glittery flakes floating in the air. I thought for a moment that perhaps I was seeing some sort of supernatural happening, but then I realized that, no, it was SNOWING in our basement. Turns out the wind had blown a window open (the window opens inward like a door). So much for my spooky encounter!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Ha ha, you stupid computer, who's laughing now? Me! That's who!

I did it. It wasn't easy, but I did it. I reformatted that sucker (multiple times) and reinstalled the operating system. I am now downloading 5 years worth of Windows updates and will soon start reinstalling the basic software.

One thing that was immensely helpful to me in this whole horrendous process was the Ultimate Boot CD. It is a set of free programs including the Western Digital diagnostic tools. (I tried getting the WD tools from their website, but it was an exercise in frustration, as the instructions and the experience seemed to have little to do with each other.) It was this set of tools, however, that assured me that the hard drive was in fact fine and allowed me to do that one final reformat.

I think the CD drive might be on its last legs. Reinstallation of the operating system hung up at disc 2 (of 16), so I wound up plugging an external CD drive into a USB port and installing from that. Worked like a charm!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Caution: hall-decking in progress

The big news from around here this weekend is that Fred and Annabelle put up our Christmas tree. We established a couple years ago that Mike and I are not very enthusiastic tree decorators, so it kind of became their thing. They did a very nice job:

That's not the best picture though. If I use my flash, you can't tell that the tree lights are on. So I did it without flash, using the fireworks mode on my camera.

I've spent the past 2 days engaged in an activity I figured would take me 2 hours at most. Now that I have a new desktop computer, I wanted to reformat the hard drive on the old one. Well, I reformatted it, all right. I reformatted it so hard that apparently it doesn't know it's a computer anymore. So now I'm busily tracking down fixes and trying this and that. It's kind of become a point of pride that I SHALL conquer this stupid computer.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Let there be lights!

Hello, again! I took a few days off to recover from blogging every day in November. I also had to recover from the cold from hell, which hit me like a ton of bricks on Saturday and stayed with me through Tuesday. I slept until 10 Wednesday morning but have felt pretty good since then. Tuesday night I swabbed the inside of my nose with some of the medicine we give the cat when he gets a cold, and I swear I think that's what did the trick.

Tonight was the official kick off to the holiday season here on post. We live right across the street from the park where they were having the big tree lighting, so Annabelle and I took the dog for a walk to check out the scene. I took my camera along to capture some of the festivities and decorations.

This is the Thomas Custer house, which is just down the street from us. It is a DVQ (Distinguished Visitors Quarters), and sometimes you can tell when foreign DVs are visiting from the flags that hang outside. A few weeks ago, for example, we saw the Israeli flag flying there. Anyway, here it is all decked for the season:

They had carriage rides around the park tonight:

Annabelle made a green friend:

We got bored waiting around for the park lights to come on, so we took Ginger and walked around the parade field to see those houses. I liked this one:

Just a little while ago, Fred and I went out to see the lights in the park. Here is the chapel on the other side of the park:

Another nicely decorated home:

And the gazebo in the middle of the park:

Very pretty!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is it possible that I have a "man cold"?

This pretty much sums up my current state:


Monday, November 29, 2010


I still have a couple more weeks to finish up my hours for my library internship, but the final project and supervisor evaluation are all due on Wednesday. For the final project, I had a choice between writing yet another essay or doing a short visual presentation about my experience. I wound up going for the latter and actually had fun doing it. Of course, it sounds like Suzanne Pleshette is doing the voiceover, thanks to my horrendous cold, but I still think it turned out well:

The photos I talk about are both US Army photos from the end of WWII. I had a tough time choosing just those 2 as my samples. It was hard to pass up the picture of the sinking Japanese battleship that was shot through the periscope of the sub that fired the fatal torpedo. And what about the squadron of pilots who commissioned a dog as a major and made him their mascot? In the end though, I loved these 2 the best. Let's have a closer look, shall we?

I like this one because the soldier and the sailor look so young and fresh-faced and the British woman looks so old, but they all look positively, radiant happy:

I was as taken by the back of this photo as I was by the front:

The back says:

LONDON, ENGLAND: Two American soldiers in the London newspaper office of the Evening Standard read two issues of the paper 27 years apart which announce the end of war with Germany. Pfc. Earl V. Moore, Linwood Park, Linwood, Pa., left, reads edition of May 7, 1945, which tells of German surrender in World War II, and Sgt. Eddie H. Green,305 Whittier St., Washington, D.C., a veteran of World War I, reads edition of 11 November, 1918, announcing signing of the Armistice and the end of first World War.
I kind of wonder if Earl and Eddie (or their families) ever even got to see the picture. It's not like the photographer could just post the pic on their Facebook walls, you know?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is November over yet?

Today is definitely one of those days I would skip out on blogging were it not for NaBloPoMo. I have been down most of the day with a horrible cold, so most of my activity has been crawling out of bed for a cup of tea. I didn't even go with Fred to take Mike to the airport.

Mike is on his way back to Tally right now by way of Atlanta. He has one more week of classes and then finals. He should be back here for winter break in 11 days--can't wait!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dude, where's my car?

These signs in the parking lot at Legends (an amazing shopping center 30 minutes away from us in Kansas City) just crack me up:

Friday, November 26, 2010

Carousel museum

Having young house guests was the perfect reason to head for the C. W. Parker Carousel Museum in Leavenworth today. We learned all about the history of merry-go-round making and saw carousel horses (and rabbits and even a French pig) in a variety of conditions. Our short visit culminated in a ride on a restored carousel from 1913. Annabelle and I opted to ride in the carriage, but Fred and Mike climbed aboard the ponies:

Mike monkeyed around:

All my photos are here:

After the museum, we took some munchies up to the man cave and settled in for an afternoon of football:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have had a lovely, low-key day. It has been downright frigid outside, so I have stayed in. Most of the day we were busy getting ready for our big meal: ham, regular mashed potatoes, cheesy mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, etc. Michelle and I have gone through most of a gallon of Russian tea.

After dinner, we dragged out some of Mike and Annabelle's old toys. The girls have had a blast putting together the Playmobil fairy tale castle. It has been a long time since we've heard the sound of hands pawing through boxes of plastic bits in search of just the right piece!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

American girls in Kansas City

Fred's brother John and his wife Michelle and their 3 girls are visiting us for the Thanksgiving holiday. Mike and Annabelle and I drove over to Kansas City this afternoon to meet up with them at the new American Girl store there. Mike and John had to fake their enthusiasm:

but the girls had a good time:

Happy birthday to my dad, who missed having a Thanksgiving birthday by one day this year!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Whoa, Nellie!

My friend Laura is visiting from Kentucky, and she took me to an amazing store today. Nell Hill's in Atchison, KS, is packed top to bottom with really cool home decor items. I managed to restrain myself for the most part, but I did have to buy one ornament--a glittery green frog who is holding a Christmas bell:

We ate in our dining room for the first time ever tonight. Mike had his friend's (from left to right) Ben, Mark, and Nolan over to dinner, and we just couldn't fit in the kitchen. It was a fun dinner with lots of joking around and laughing:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mike's home!

Let the Thanksgiving holiday commence! He will be here until next Sunday afternoon, so almost a whole week. Then 2 weeks later, he'll be back again for the better part of a month. :-)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Nothing to report

I feel like I spent most of today grocery shopping. First Fred and I made a huge commissary run and then a slightly smaller Walmart run. I think I have just about everything I need for Thanksgiving. Mike flies in tomorrow night, and Fred's brother John is coming with his family on Wednesday. Can't wait!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Grease was the word

The third and final performance of Grease was tonight, and it was the best yet! I borrowed a mas macho camera from Mike's friend Mark and took a lot of pictures during the play. Wow, it's hard to take good pics during live theater! This will give you an idea though of what a fun show it was:

After the show, I persuaded Annabelle to slip into her circle skirt one last time for a picture:

She's at IHOP right now celebrating with her castmates.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Grease is the word

We just got back from night 2 of the Leavenworth High School production of Grease. It's a great show, and Annabelle has really enjoyed digging in and getting involved right away in the drama department. I took some video, but I'm not sure how good it will be. Annabelle is on stage mostly in act 2, by which point the children behind us were in dire need of a trip to the lobby. I'm afraid probably what you'll hear is a lot of whining followed by a woman stage-whispering, "Hush! It's almost over!" But here she is after the show in her costume from the song "Beauty School Dropout."

Perhaps tomorrow night I'll send my camera backstage with her so that she can get a picture of herself in her circle skirt I made. Oh, I know! Even if the video doesn't work, I should be able to at least grab still photos from it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Parade rest

Last week, Mike and his AFROTC detachment marched in Tallahassee's Veterans' Day parade. Mike sent me this picture of a couple of his friends and him:

Lookin' sharp, fellas!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Phoning it in again

Oops! I almost forgot to blog today. It was a cold, rainy day, and I spent most of it working on an indexing deadline. Looking forward to Fred's office Thanksgiving tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Phone blogging

Wow, I haven't posted by phone in ages! I am riding home from the furniture store now and wanted to give an update. Nebraska Furniture Mart could not have been easier to deal with. They are exchanging the giant bed for a more normal-sized one, refunding the price difference, and comping the delivery charge. We will be devoted NFM customers for life!

Monday, November 15, 2010

New (big!) furniture

I was going to wait to post pictures of our new bedroom furniture until I had a chance to really make up the room. I'm in too much shock, however, over the height of the bed, so I'm just posting these photos now and will post a shot of the finished product later on.

So . . . if you ordered this bed, would you expect the salesman to tell you that you are going to need a ladder to get in it???

Poor Ginger! I'm not sure how she'll get up there.

Here's the rest. This is my dresser, kind of hiding behind the BIG FREAKIN' BED:

LOL, how 'bout this one for perspective?

And Fred's dresser:

On the positive side, we wanted drawer space, and we do have that.

UPDATE: Oh, look! Put on the bedding, and the headboard completely disappears:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Guys' weekend

Sounds like Fred and Mike had a great time together in Tallahassee this weekend. I understand that the football game Saturday night was "epic." Here's a pic of the 2 of them, taken on Fred's Blackberry:

It's hard to believe the semester is almost over. Mike will be home for Thanksgiving in a little over a week and then again 2 weeks later for winter break.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Football worth watching

I wrote last fall about the progress Fort Knox High School's football team had made. Apparently good things are still happening there. Watch the following clip, but you might want a tissue handy for the end:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Girls gone mild

Fred is in Tally for the weekend, visiting Mike. They are going to a basketball game tonight and a football game tomorrow night. Meanwhile Annabelle and I are living the bachelorette life.

Every Friday afternoon we stop at a cute little local bakery and pick up brownies for a snack. Today I splurged and got brownies AND cupcakes, and we ate chocolate for supper. We also left the plates in the sink for tomorrow.

We were going to go to the on-post theater tonight to see a movie, but it is POURING out there. We walked the dog and came home drenched and decided our PJs were calling to us. So instead of going to the movies, we are watching TV in the comfort of our own home.

The rest of the weekend? Doing lunch, shopping a little, and doing homework (Annabelle) and working on a freelance project (me).

Yes, we are truly wild women!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Uniformly handsome (again)

I do love me some men in uniform! Here are some photos in celebration of Veterans' Day.

It appears that service to country runs in the family! Here is my grandfather with my father when Dad was just a wee tyke:

Then Dad in flight school in the Marine Corps back in the day:

As you can see, Dad hasn't outgrown his love of planes:

And then we've got Fred's family. There aren't a lot of photos of Fred's dad from his Army days, but he served in Germany during the 1950s. We are pretty sure that Don is third row, third from the right in this one:

In this one, we think he is second row, third from the left:

Then of course there's Fred! I have so many pictures of Fred in uniform that it's kind of hard to choose. These are a couple of favorites though. This was at a drop zone at the Law Day festivities at Fort Bragg back in 1998:

This remains my all-time favorite family photo, the day he returned from his deployment to Iraq:

And then last but not least, we have Mike, who is marching with his AFROTC detachment in Tallahasse's Veterans' Day parade today:

Hug a veteran today! (I know I will!)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Virtual tour: foyer and living room

One of the frustrating things about getting settled in a new house is how lots of things wind up ALMOST done but getting any one room all the way done seems nearly impossible. We did the impossible last weekend and put the finishing touches on the foyer and living room. Wanna see? Walk this way . . .

You enter our home through a vestibule, really kind of a walk-through coat closet. We put up a quote that seems pertinent both to Kansas and to Army life in general:

Enter through the front door and turn right at the quote, and you will go through yet another door and find yourself standing in our freakishly large foyer:

And here is the living room:

I'm hoping to get the rest of the main floor done by Thanksgiving (except for the kitchen curtains, as my sewing machine needs to go into the shop for some work).

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mr. Stinky tries again

Mr. Stinky has yet another potential bloom. He had one a couple months ago that I never bothered posting, and it dried up and fell off before it ever opened. Then about a week ago, he popped out with 2 more. One of these took off, and the other one withered away. I'm hoping this will be the blossom that finally opens. Not that I really NEED a flower in my kitchen that smells like carrion; I'm just tired of being thwarted. Also, one of his arms is turning yellow. I'm not sure if I should cut it off, but I hesitate to do anything while he's trying to flower:

Monday, November 08, 2010

Halloween leftovers

I've been watching one of the pumpkins in our front yard gradually disintegrate and was pretty sure a squirrel was enjoying it. I caught him in action through the living room window yesterday:

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Skirting the issue

I love to sew. Sometimes I wonder why I don't sew more often. Then I try, and suddenly I remember:

Still, I did manage to make Annabelle's skirt for Grease this afternoon:

As you can see, it's a Harvey skirt instead of a poodle skirt.