Saturday, November 28, 2009

piiiiiiiiiie

Last year, we spent Thanksgiving sick in Massachusetts. We also bought a car--so I guess there was something good that came of that. We were in Michigan in 2007 for the lovely wedding shower my aunt threw for us. In 2006 we were on our own in Virginia Beach. In 2005 we went to see my sister in D.C., where she was interning at the time--that's when I told my family that I'd be engaged by Christmas. In 2004 I hadn't met Jason yet, so it was me, my roommate, and my mom and stepdad at my place in Norfolk.

This year we were on our own again, so I had the autonomy to make an entirely vegan feast. The ethical choices I've made are very important to me, so cooking an entire meal of delicious food that didn't hurt anyone brings me a lot of joy. And it was delicious. Jason requested traditional Thanksgiving food, and that's what he got. I made way too much food for only two people, so we're still picking away at the leftovers. I had stuffing for breakfast this morning and pie for lunch.


I made my pie first. No store-bought pie crust for me. I had a helper for all the prep work. He's an expert bean-snapper.


Lots and lots of chopping.


Our appetizer, artichoke puffs, and our main dish, a Tofurky roast (which is delicious--Jason specifically requested it).


The finished product, served on our wedding china reserved for special occasions: green beans, corn, Tofurky, cornbread stuffing, and mashed red bliss potatoes with mushroom gravy. And it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without a pumpkin pie!

We had a formal meal, but everything else was casual. We stayed in sweatpants all day and dinner was served on the couch. I miss my family, but I also enjoy making special times with Jason, the man I've chosen to be a part of my family.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Not only is she crazy, she also has horrible taste in holiday decor.

Jason is home!

He got back last Thursday. He was scheduled to arrive back in Lemoore at night, so I had planned to spend a few hours after work cleaning up the place and myself, and then going to pick him up looking super cute. Instead, he called from the airport here on base two hours before I expected him, while I was elbow-deep in dishwater. I scurried over there without putting on makeup, brushing my hair, or even brushing my teeth (I did chew a piece of gum on the way there so as to not be completely disgusting). Oh well. He was sick and had been awake for at least 26 hours at that point so he didn't notice. We went straight to bed.

When I woke up Friday morning, my poor man was sleeping at the very edge of our bed, scrunched up like he was still in his coffin-like rack on the ship. My heart just broke for him thinking about how uncomfortable it must have been. Since he's been home, he has been enjoying such luxuries as sunshine, soy milk, and sheets.

Over the weekend Jason witnessed another Crazy Navy Wife incident: he was out in the driveway when he heard her hollering at her son--and not a teenager, mind you, but a little boy--that he could never have his friends over to their house ever again. And just wait until I show you the Christmas monstrosity that is her yard.



Not only is she crazy, she also has horrible taste in holiday decor. From left to right, that's an inflatable Santa being pulled out of a chimney by a reindeer, an inflatable Santa on a motorcycle, and a light-up Santa hat-wearing dolphin that rocks back and forth. The front door is covered in shiny wrapping paper. It could be much worse. Luckily for the normal people on our street, hanging lights on upper levels and placing anything on the roof are strictly prohibited in base housing. Otherwise she'd probably have shit up there, too.

I'll be honest: I hate those inflatable yard things. Christmas, Halloween, Easter... I don't care what holiday they're for, they are beyond tacky. My cold, black heart swells with glee when I see one of them flopped over, half deflated and buried in snow. We don't get snow in this part of California, so some other arrangements will have to be made with Mother Nature. Perhaps some wind gusts? Hail? Locusts? Or maybe her son can just invite his friends over on the sly.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Things that are making me smile today

  • I just watched my Michigan State Spartans play basketball on ESPN in high definition, on Jason's most excellent TV. It was like being at the Breslin Center, except with a better view. And they won (and that article was written by a fellow MSU School of Journalism alum)! Spartan sports are central to my existence.


  • I got a shot in my arm today and the guy who gave it to me was shorter than me... I'm 5'3". I wanted to hug him. Then he put a neon yellow bandage on my arm and I wanted to hug him even more. But I didn't. Because he had needles.


  • The Oatmeal's "How To Use An Apostrophe." Read it. It makes my journalism major spidey senses tingle.


  • The Oatmeal's "15(ish) Things Worth Knowing About Coffee." It makes my inner barista squeal with glee. "Clearly humanity has a thing for black drippy liquids."


  • The Oatmeal's "17 Things Worth Knowing About Your Cat." Because this blog seems to revolve around cats lately (sorry about that). Hell, I like everything on that site.


  • This is for that high school principal in Massachusetts who banned students from saying "meep":



  • Joey Mac's new solo video (I think I just drooled on myself):



  • Lastly but not leastly and best of all, Jason is coming home in a couple of days!

Monday, November 16, 2009

When I checked him, I saw balls and left it at that.

My Orange Boy Kitty stopped by this afternoon, so I grabbed the opportunity to run him down to the base vet to see if he was microchipped. Surprise, he wasn't. So off we went to animal control, orange boy yowling bloody murder all the way.


The intake officer double-checked for a chip (no dice), and then we discovered that he was neutered. When I checked him, I saw balls and left it at that. Turns out (and this might be kitty anatomy TMI for some of you), orange tomcats tend to have bigger scrotums than other cats, big enough that even after neutering they still look, well, ballsy. Sometimes the only way to tell for sure is to just give them a feel back there. I left that part to the intake officer. Luckily for this kitty, she took quite a shine to him, carrying him up to the front desk for all of the other girls to see. When she brought him back, thoroughly kissed and cooed at, she had him cradled in her arms like a big orange baby.

She said that since he's so sweet and already snip-snipped, they'll have no trouble finding him a spot at a rescue. I'll miss his evening visits, but I know I did what's best for him. There's no such thing as a safe outdoor cat.

There's also no such thing as a safe indoor cat... trash can. I had an unfortunate casualty tonight--the kitty bathroom trash can my family has had since I was in elementary school. That's almost 20 years! I picked it up to empty it, and it slipped out of my fingers. The bottom cracked and shattered when it hit the floor.


Ooooops. I do still have the toothbrush holder, shower curtain, and tissue box cover. Sorry, cute little trash can!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Creepy, Creepy Coco

Every night I sit in the living room wondering if I'll be watched tonight.

Visited.

By a specter so horrifying that she wears a bell around her neck to warn her victims that she is coming.

A phantasm known as COCO.

Our neighbors' cat.

I mentioned before that she likes to sit on our back patio and look inside. But she does more than look. She sits there, absolutely still, staring, eyes as wide as an Alice raccoon.

Frankly, it creeps me out. I'll glance away from my computer or the TV... and there she'll be, eyes locked on me like she's trying to mind-meld me. Last night she was sitting out there looking so pathetic--she was even meowing--that I let her inside. She had tried to let herself in, and has successfully done so before, but I keep the screen door latched now so she can't get in when I'm not right nearby. It was pretty chilly, too, so I thought she might like to warm up. She wandered around sniffing things for about ten minutes before Carmen, the nice mom from next door, came over looking for her. I 'fessed up that Coco was here, because, well, she was standing right behind me. Carmen leaned over to pick Coco up and she bolted into the kitchen. Carmen had to chase after her and get her in a sleeper hold to drag her home.

So now my neighbors probably think that I'm some weird child-hating cat stealer, but whatever, I can't help it that Coco likes it better over here than at her own house. She's not the only one.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We know we're cute, but you don't need to be acting all catarazzi on us all the time.

Happy Veterans Day! I've been busy missing my man in uniform today, but these videos of soldiers reunited with their doggies made me smile (...and sob).

I mentioned that the cats love our "office" bed... Well, here's proof:





Jacob says, "OK, lady, enough with the pictures already. We know we're cute, but you don't need to be acting all catarazzi on us all the time. Either pick me up or get into the kitchen and feed me."

My bad, dude.

The funny thing is, all three cats prefer to be in whatever room I'm in. When I leave my desk for the day, they migrate into the living room on my heels... and then promptly find a spot and go back to sleep. When I head to our bedroom for the night, it's the same. They orbit me.

It's nice to have little somebodies to make me feel loved.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jason needn't worry about my safety while he's gone.

I have guard cats:







(They were actually watching a bird.)

Jasper is on the left, with one spot, and Jacob is on the right, with many spots. Don't they look like brothers sitting there like that? (They are.) Jasper has lost so much weight since we started him on insulin. I wouldn't be surprised if they were the same weight now.

I know it looks like the same exact picture over and over again, but they actually sat there stock-still and silent for 15 minutes. That has to be some sort of record. It's my low-tech version of time-lapse photography!

I can't imagine life without my kitties.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Office Space

The other day (okay, it was last week, and I'm just lazy) Bev asked us to play a little game and post pictures of our office/desk/work space. I've been meaning to do just that for a while, so here goes! (Oh, and I promise I'm still going to do another Cribs episode... pinky swear!)

Since I telecommute, my "office" is actually tucked into a corner of our spare room. I've had that desk for nine years and it has survived eight moves. In and out of a dorm room at MSU, from Michigan to Virginia, from my Virginia apartment to Jason's, from Virginia to Massachusetts, to a new apartment in Massachusetts, from Massachusetts to California, and from the fail apartment into base housing.

I hung my college diplomas and some work certificates on the walls to make it look professional up in there, but I'm pretty sure I'm not fooling anyone, what with the little rubber ducky, toy handcuffs, Teletubbies kiddie meal prizes, and R2-D2 Taco Bell drink cup.

There are windows on both sides of my desk so I can keep an eye on the outside world (translation: watch for crazy Navy wives so I can hide if necessary) and see Jason's car when he comes home for lunch. Most of the time at least one of my furry coworkers is sitting in the window, covering lookout duty for me (translation: watching birds). But if they aren't in the window, then they're probably...

...On the bed! That bed comes quite in handy whenever I get a case of the afternoon napsies. I don't have to hide in the bathroom or crawl under my desk like the rest of you poor office-working schmucks.

So that's my office. I love it!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sesame Ginger Stir-Fried Noodles

I made this for dinner Saturday night.

Ingredients:



1 box whole wheat spaghetti
yellow onion
mushrooms
asparagus
1 can sliced bamboo shoots
1 can sliced water chesnuts
seasoned bean curd (optional)
Newman's Own Lighten Up Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing
sesame seeds
olive oil

Get a pot of water boiling for the pasta--it will take the longest to cook, so start the water first! Drop in the noodles as soon as the water is boiling to your satisfaction. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (for asparagus). Coat the bottom of a wok (or a large pan if you don't have a wok) with olive oil and warm it with your burner on low heat. Slice the onion and add it to the wok, stirring until it's coated. Wash and slice mushrooms and add to wok. Add chopped garlic to taste (I like a lot). Add a splash of soy sauce and stir until ingredients are thoroughly mixed.



Wash asparagus and chop into bite-sized pieces, disposing of tough ends. Put into a pan and coat pieces with olive oil (and salt and pepper, if you like). Stick the pan in the oven.



If you're using bean curd/tofu (I buy a pre-seasoned, pre-fried canned variety) slice it into bite-sized pieces and add it to the wok. I don't recommend using plain white tofu.



Drain the bamboo and water chesnuts and add to wok. Dump in enough sesame ginger dressing to lightly coat all of the ingredients and add another splash of soy sauce. Mix everything together well.



Remove asparagus from oven and add to wok. Drain pasta and add to wok. Add more sesame ginger dressing--enough to coat pasta. Add more soy sauce if you like a saltier taste. Toss pasta and other ingredients until evenly mixed. Allow to cook for a few more minutes so pasta can absorb dressing.



Serve in a large bowl and garnish with sesame seeds.



This is a recipe I made up one night a few months ago when we were craving Chinese food. The only problem is, all of the Chinese takeout places we've tried around here are disgusting! So I improvised, using what I had sitting in the pantry. I made it again last night to see if I couldn't tweak the recipe a little bit more. It doesn't have the umami I'm shooting for, and I think it's because I didn't use any MSG--which is what makes most Americanized Chinese food so delicious. But, considering that I got all of my ingredients at the commissary on base, I'm pretty satisfied with the result. If I'd had it, I think mixing in a touch of nutritional yeast might have improved the overall taste.

One benefit of Jason being gone is that I can tinker in the kitchen without having to make a second dinner when the first doesn't suit his palate. He casts a dubious eye on some of my experiments in vegan cooking, so the more kinks I can work out before I put something in front of him, the better!

Friday, November 6, 2009

low-key Friday

Thanks to everyone who left a comment on my last post. I am not used to being accosted or having my character attacked, so I was seriously shaken by the whole thing. I was very glad to know that everyone else thinks that woman has a screw loose, too.

It's a quiet Friday night for me. Jason's gone, so I'm just chilling, eating cereal for dinner. I dropped him off at the base airport yesterday afternoon, feeling pretty smug that we hadn't forgotten to pack anything. Then I got home and realized he had left his jacket in the back seat of the car. I panicked and turned around immediately to take it to him before his plane left, but I didn't make it. I had a knot in my stomach the rest of the evening because I didn't want him to get in trouble for not having a required uniform item. Luckily, he called last night just before boarding the ship in San Diego to say that it didn't matter. So, crisis averted.

Our house is turning into cat central. I know I encourage it by leaving food out, but I can't not when I know that there are hungry cats like Princess out there who just need someone to look out for them. Right now our neighbor's cat Coco is standing watch on our back patio. She has already let herself inside once tonight by sticking her claws through the screen door and sliding it, and now she's sitting there STARING in at me while I sit on the couch. Honestly, it's kind of creepy. And last night, I made another orange cat friend. This time, an unneutered male. I'm calling him Tom. Tom Cat Izzo. Get it? They both have balls. He hasn't been back yet today, but judging by how hungry and friendly he was last night, I'll be seeing him again.

Since Jason isn't here to amuse me, here are some things that are keeping me smiling in his absence:
  • This article about a groper getting caught on the T in Boston. It's not so much the article itself that I like, or even that he was caught (although that is great), but this paragraph: "On Oct. 19, an Orange Line passenger was allegedly groped twice by Hernandez. The woman responded by punching him in the face." I love it when reporters tell it like it is, rather than saying something vague, like "The woman retaliated with force." So points to you, Laura Crimaldi, for making this erstwhile journalist's day with your accurate and (probably unintentionally) humorous reporting.
  • This video of a rabbit and hamster chewing. The song makes it even better. Nom nom, nom nom, nom nom nom.
  • I'm going home to Michigan for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Beware: Crazy Navy Wife

And no, it's not me. Settle in, kids, for I have a tale to tell.

Monday afternoon I was coming home from my exile at Starbucks. I pulled into the driveway and got out of the car. I was fumbling with my purse, travel mug, and cell phone (my mom had called as I turned off the car), and trying to get the car door closed when this woman came marching up to me. She stopped at the edge of the driveway and began berating me about how we (or maybe just I) need to drive slower on our street because there are children playing and every single parent on the street is angry with us but no one else "has the balls" to say anything.

I had never seen this woman before in my life. Not once! And there she was, yelling... yes, yelling... at me to be more careful when HER children were playing in the street. As if I'm not already careful because I'm completely paranoid about the children who just sit themselves down IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET like it's storytime at the library.

She continued her tirade, harping that she was going to call the base police on us and screaming--it escalated to scuh-REAMing--that if we hit a child "it's OVER for you." I think at this point I snapped my cell phone closed because this was clearly going to take a while. She continued to say that we obviously don't care as much about driving safely because we don't have children of our own, and that we'd been going at least 30 down our street when the speed limit is 15. Then she veered into a personal attack on me, saying that I'm a bad neighbor because I "never come out" of the house.

Throughout this, I did my best to remain calm and tell her that I was sorry if either of us had caused anyone on the street any concern, and that we'd be more vigilant about our speed from now on. (For what it's worth, I did an experiment yesterday, and there's no way that my car could get up to 30 on our little cul-de-sac without busting through the last house's garage door before I hit 20. It's just not long enough to accelerate that much!) I also told her that I'm inside a lot because I work all day doing MY JOB (a very foreign concept to these women who do nothing but pump out ill-behaved, street-playing children like one-woman puppy mills).

And then I told her that it was really nice to meet her and suggested that perhaps I'm not the one who has a problem being friendly (I may have allowed the venom to creep into my tone of voice at this point). Because seriously, if she's such a good neighbor, where was the welcome wagon visit when we moved into base housing back at the end of June? Heck, not one person on the entire street even bothered to come say hello when we first got here.

So THAT is why I'm not going out of my way to make friends with the people here: because they're cuh-RAZY bitches who think that instead of them going outside and supervising their kids' playtime, I should just stop driving in the afternoon. (Note: I know they're not all like this. I have met three other wives on our street and they've all been nice.)

Jason thinks that this woman is mental and way too worried about what we are and aren't doing. Like, heaven forbid that a Navy wife have a vocation other than breeding. He said she's probably jealous that we're free to go out whenever we like and that we have a nice car. Sorry for her bad luck, but here's a newsflash: not having children is fairly simple--on our military health plan, birth control pills are free.

I've had it with these Navy people and talking about kids. From now on, our new policy is that if people ask why we don't have kids, we'll simply say that I can't. End of discussion, problem solved.

Monday, November 2, 2009

... black taco?

The power in base housing was shut down today for transformer maintenance (or whatever the heck), so I'm holding court at Starbucks with a gaggle of other Navy wives. I fully expect to see Bumblebee when I go home ----------->

Our Halloween was a non-event. I actually can't remember the last time I participated in Halloween. Probably in high school? I know I dressed up for school my senior year, but if I did anything in or since college, it has been conveniently deleted from my brain.

Instead of handing out candy, we had a date night--dinner out followed by two rounds of miniature golf. I reigned supreme as usual, beating Jason by 9 strokes the first round (even though he got a hole in one) and 2 strokes the second round.

This week we're packing him up to head out on the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier for two weeks--or at least that's what they're saying. I will not be surprised if they keep them there longer. And by there, I mean on the carrier. I don't know if they're actually going anywhere specific. They might just be sailing around in circles in the Pacific Ocean. Whatever the case, I'm stocking his sea bag liberally.

In other news, I think those Taco Bell "black taco" commercials are hysterical. Like, I lie in bed and can't stop laughing because my mind keeps saying "black dress, black dog, black taco" over and over and over. And then Jason laughs because I'm laughing and I laugh because he's laughing at me, and when we finally start to calm down one of us says "black taco" out loud and we start laughing all over again.



Please tell me I am not the only person who thinks that commercial is funny.