Monday, August 31, 2009

the Navy Ball that wasn't

Every year in October, there's a Navy Ball. It's like prom. For grownups. With (legal) booze. At a casino out in town. The men wear dress uniforms (be still, my heart), and the women wear typical prom attire.

When I found out about it, going to it became my mission. Nay, my obsession. I went to three high school proms (and countless other school dances). I LOVED THEM. Jason didn't go to a single one. Oh no, thought I, this cannot be. I must be the one to make him endure a formal dance.

And how bad can it be for the guys? They'll be surrounded by beer and tipsy, well-dressed women.

So I wheedled. I brought it up incessantly. I begged. I may even have whined. Whatever, it worked. Jason bought our tickets. I splurged $200 on a dress. I took the day after off from work.

And then he checked the duty schedule. Guess who's on duty on ball night? Guess who has to be sober and at his recall number in case he's needed? JUST GUESS.

That's right, HIM. -------------------->

(Please feel free to shake your fingers in a scolding manner at this time...

...OK, done?)

So we can't go. I returned the dress on Saturday. I loved that dress. It looked good in all the right places and covered up all the bad places. It was two sizes smaller than I thought I needed. It dipped so low in the back that I was contemplating double-sided tape to keep my buttcrack under wraps (you're welcome). It was a gorgeous deep purple, like an eggplant--a color I never would have dared to wear in high school. And, holy boobs, Batman (Batman is also to blame for the blurry picture). It was, dare I say it... SEXY for a big girl-sized dress. My desire to avoid any unfortunate back fat spillage even prompted me to start eating healthier--and I dropped three pounds, just like that.

Alas. Woe is me.

Maybe by next October I'll have lost enough weight to fit into one of the formal dresses I still have from high school.

(I hear you laughing. Stop it.)


Perhaps this one. It's a size 4.

(OK, I know. I'm laughing with you this time. I would have to wire my jaw shut to fit into that.)

But I would promise to leave the awful ex-boyfriend at home if I ever got to wear it again.

I have significantly better taste in men these days. See the above one in uniform.

And this time, feel free to cyber-pat him on the back for being a good sport and trying to take me to the Ball in the first place.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's alive. ALIIIIIIVE!

Let's talk about someone who is alive and well. It will be a nice change of pace around here.

You may remember that I worked very hard to prepare Plant for the drive out to California, and that once we arrived, it was not very happy.

Well, I am please to report that Plant has survived. I wasn't sure it would. Back while we were living at the fail apartment, Plant dropped every single leaf. Literally, EVERY. SINGLE. LEAF. All that was left were branches. I was sure that it wasn't going to bounce back, but I chopped off the dead branches, put the pot in a sunny window, and hoped for the best. As if by magic, little green shoots began to appear along the branches where there had previously not been any leaves. This was it! Plant was making a comeback! I was thrilled, because I did not want to be the one who killed Plant. That would have been like offing a member of the family!

Plant is now living happily in the corner of our kitchen, having survived a cross-country trek and the fail apartment's cow water.

P.S. Velveteen loved Plant.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just as we adjusted the kitchen, we also adjusted our lives.

Thanks, everyone, for the kind comments, tweets, and e-mails over the past week. You guys are the best!

I've been keeping myself busy to avoid dwelling. Saturday night after I got the bad news I threw myself into helping Jason finish his final paper for the college class he was taking. I needed to think about something else--even if it meant doing someone else's homework. He got a perfect score on the paper (and an A in the class!), so I guess I'm still semi-good at what I went to college for.

Speaking of that, here's something I wrote in my college journal back in January 2004.

I’ve never been much of a morning person. I would much rather stay nestled under the covers than drag myself out of bed to face a cold, dark winter morning in Michigan. If the sun hasn’t made an appearance, why should I?

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for early morning activity of any kind, weekday mornings find me stumbling down the stairs and into the kitchen for what has come to be known as my “appointment.” If I show up late, I can expect to be greeted with an irritated tilt of the head, a displeased sniff or – in the case of egregious tardiness – a well-aimed bite to my sock or pants.

The party so offended by my occasional lack of punctuality is none other than a four-year-old Holland Lop rabbit. He has the personality of a stand-up comic, the appetite of a truck driver and the vengeance of a shunned lover, all packed into 10 pounds of fluffy tail, white belly and suspiciously long ears. He answers to Velveteen.

When Velveteen moved in during my senior year of high school, it was apparent to my family that he would not be a caged bunny. With the addition of a baby gate, a flannel sheet and my mom’s old bathrobe, our kitchen was converted into Velveteen’s living area. The pantry is now a hay closet, the desk alcove is a cozy place to flop on a pet bed, and the rolling tea cart is a bunny balcony.

Just as we adjusted the kitchen, we also adjusted our lives. As with any relationship, there are expectations involved. Velveteen’s expectation is that he be the center of attention when my mom and I wake up in the morning. Though our schedules vary greatly, she and I always make sure to have a morning rendezvous in the kitchen – an “appointment” cannot continue without all parties present.

I make coffee while Velveteen prances around underfoot, basking in our attention and standing up on his hind legs to request a morning treat. When the goodies have been doled out to his satisfaction and the coffee has been doctored with cream, we open the baby gate and follow Velveteen lippity-lippity to the living room, where we take our appointed seats – Mom on the couch, Velveteen cuddled next to her slippered feet and Heidi sprawled on the floor within arm’s reach.

We are all creatures of habit, and Velveteen has us trained as much as we do him. The bond between the three of us, one little and two big bunnies, is the thing that makes those early mornings bearable, and getting up at dawn worth it.
I miss those times.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


We lost Velveteen today.

Mommy was with him at the end.

He would have been ten years old in October.

I am devastated.


There is so much that I could say about how much he meant to me, my sister, and my mom. Us girls and our rabbit.

Perhaps in time I'll say more.

Goodbye, you darling bunny. When you left us, I hope you were hopping down the porch steps at our old house in Okemos, heading out to play in the backyard hosta bed and munch on your favorite crunchy fall leaves.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Goodbye, Pretty Girl.

My dad and stepmom had to euthanize another one of their cats today. You might recall that they lost Darcie in January. Like him, Alice had been on the decline for some time, but they kept her hanging on with lots of TLC. She was 17.

You can't tell from the picture because she's doing a lovey blinky face, but Alice had the biggest, roundest eyes I have ever seen on a cat. Most of the time she looked scared out of her wits--and she sometimes was. She spent more time hiding than she did doing anything else. I remember a story about how once there was a repairman at the house, and he had to check something under the stairs in the basement. He emerged with a strange look on his face, and told them that there was a raccoon hiding down there. A raccoon with giant, round, glowing eyes. Oh no, they said, that's just Alice. She would often sit in a doorway or hallway watching the goings on from afar--leaving her escape options open.

Despite being timid, she was very friendly and loved to be petted. She'd walk in circles while I stroked her fur, then lie down and stick her backside in the air to have her tail scratched, then get up and walk in circles again. Oh, how she purred--especially when there were treats involved. And, after years of special attention, she had even started sleeping next to my dad at night--ousting anyone else who coveted that spot with what must have been sheer power of seniority.

Goodbye, Pretty Girl.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Big Reveal

Here's what you've all been waiting for: an invitation into my bedroom!

Ew, not like that. I meant to see our new furniture. What were you thinking?

I finally got around to neatening up our room just enough to not be too ashamed to let the people of the internet see it. Behold:

My birthday on Friday was nice. In addition to coming home from work bearing roses, Jason also got me the director's cut of Amadeus on Blu-ray. It's one of my favorite movies (the music! the costumes! the intrigue!). We picked up Little Caesars pizza and Crazy Bread and treats from Starbucks for dinner. He kept it sweet and simple after a very long work week for us both.

Tonight he's off standing watch, so I'm on my own. I made another cucumber tomato salad for my dinner, this time with corn, water chestnuts, and honey-roasted peanuts as the bonus ingredients.

I'm going to settle into the couch, watch my movie and eat my dinner.

PS - Who remembers this video?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Of course she came back. I fed her.

And then I fed her again tonight, so she'll probably be back tomorrow.

Shame on the people who dumped her. I know she didn't run away. I can already tell she's not the type. And she's not the type to get scared away from home, either. Tonight she chased me, a German shepherd, and a car. This cat is not afraid of ANYTHING. And if she can find her way back to my house, she could find her way back to her own if it were around here (or if her people were still there to let her in). She HAS to have been abandoned.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cucumber salad. Also, another cat.

I know you're probably expecting bedroom pictures (that's what she said).

Well you'll just have to wait, because it turns out that Jason and I are lazy old and have fallen asleep on the couch before and after dinner for the past few days. So pictures of my salad from tonight's dinner are all you're going to get.

I was looking at recipes online to get some new ideas, thinking that I would make one. But I'll be honest (and I think I've said this before): I suck at following recipes for anything that's not a baked good. So I decided to start with a tomato and cucumber base and walk the aisles at the commissary until something jumped out at me. Something always does.


one cucumber
four roma tomatoes
one can corn
one can chickpeas
one can artichoke hearts
honey-roasted peanuts

Quarter cucumber and slice into pie pieces. Quarter roma tomatoes and slice into pie pieces. Combine in a large bowl and salt lightly to absorb excess moisture. Drain corn and add to bowl. Drain chickpeas, rinse, and add to bowl. Drain artichoke hearts, cut into bite-sized pieces (I halved them), and add to bowl. If serving immediately, add salt, pepper, and honey-roasted peanuts to taste. If not serving immediately, refrigerate and add peanuts at serving time.

You could add dressing, but I don't think it needs it. The cucumber and tomatoes are a traditional salad-y base, but the other ingredients make it interesting enough to not drown it in dressing.

Jason ate every bite--and without being reminded to finish his salad. That's more success than I've ever had with a lettuce-based salad.

As a side note, a gorgeous tannish-orange cat showed up at the door, meowing mightily, while I was writing this. I'm surprised, actually, that it has taken this long for a cat to discover us. We've lived on base for 38 days already. We gave her food and water in bowls on the porch and she came right to me when I clucked at her. She even let me pick her up and cuddle her. After she ate and rolled around in the dirt under our bushes, I followed her into the back yard where she chased invisible mice and caught me a Capri Sun bag. I adore her already.*

Here we go again.

* I know, I know, we can't keep her.