Monday, January 31, 2011

The Daily Navy Wife, Volume 4

While Jason is out to sea, I frequently e-mail him pictures of home. More specifically, I send him pictures of myself--one every day, without fail. I want him to have a daily reminder that I love him, that I think about him constantly, and that he is my reason to smile.
I think the cats are totally getting into this. Maybe I should change the name to The Daily Jacob, Jasper, and Lola. Or The Daily Heidi Still Wears Shirts from High School. Think that's bad? One of the shirts below is from ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. What? It's vintage.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

9 weeks

Jason and the sailors on board his ship have done a lot in the nine weeks since the Vinson pulled out of San Diego.

They enjoyed a massive Christmas Eve mail drop and held a burial at sea ceremony to commit the remains of deceased veterans.

They conducted training exercises with the Republic of Singapore Navy and the Royal Malaysian Navy.

They made port in Busan, Republic of Korea (aka South Korea) and in Port Klang, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where Jason visited the Royal Selangor Pewter Factory and Batu Caves.

As Jason mused on Facebook, "First Busan, South Korea then Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It's amazing to be able to travel all around the world and visit places I normally wouldn't of my own accord."

Deployment on an aircraft carrier isn't all fun and games in port, of course. Most days are an exhausting combination of double-digit work hours and mandatory trainings and meetings that eat away at precious sleep time. I predict naps in Jason's future.

As for me, I've been busy with the post-holiday work rush, doing our taxes, planning for family visits, sweating it out at the gym, and building my friendship with A and her girls.

This year was the first time I've done taxes on my own, and I thought that it would be a total disaster. Much to my surprise, it was just the opposite--I finished on Friday night without any problems or hysterics, and we're even getting a nice refund. Thanks, TurboTax!

As for the friendship building, here's an example of how close we've become:

I was hanging out at A's house, and I went to the bathroom. When 3-year-old K realized that I had left the room, she came after me and tried to get in. I had locked the door, so she couldn't. She stood outside the door jiggling the handle and demanding to be let in. As soon as I got my pants pulled up I let her in so she could watch me wash my hands. She told me never to close the door again and just leave it cracked like mommy does. She was genuinely upset that she couldn't get in. I was kind of honored... and I probably won't lock her out again.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Foodie Friday: Salad Toppers

It's Foodie Friday! Foodie Friday is my weekly feature that gives you a window into my kitchen. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to read cookbooks, and I love to inspire people to give vegan food a chance. Thus, Foodie Friday was whipped up and baked to perfection.
All vegans have heard it from people who are bent on making excuses for why they won't go vegan: "I could never live on salad."

And neither could we! If there's one meal type that I've neglected in my Foodie Friday posts, it's definitely salads. Don't get me wrong, I love a good salad, but I'm generally eating anything but salad.

However, I've been eating a few more of them lately, since I'm trying to exercise and eat well in order to be the best matron of honor ever to wear a pink dress.

So as not to get bored with my nightly bowls of crudité, I've been experimenting with salad toppers that add substance, flavor, and a dash of protein.

First up is tempeh. I sliced it, tossed it in a pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkled it liberally with ground ginger (because that's how I roll), and sautéed it until just barely browned on the edges.

It tastes great warm from the pan or cooled. I usually only use half a bar at a time, so I store the rest of the prepared tempeh in an old margarine tub for another day.

Next I tried my hand at agave-glazed pecans from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.

They turned out sweet, chewy, and crunchy--perfect for a salad with dried fruit like cranberries or cherries.

Last but not least, I made my 100th recipe from 1,000 Vegan Recipes: roasted chickpeas.

They were slightly crunchy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and had just a hint of salt. I admit that most of these didn't make it onto a salad, because I ate them straight from the bowl.

Come back next week for Foodie Friday's first birthday--there will be presents... for you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

my brain is like that because I've ridden so many roller coasters*

Back in November I told you about how I was seeing a neurologist to discuss the little passing out issue I've had for the past fifteen years. Well, the news is good, folks. Although I do have abnormal waves in the left side of my brain and probably always will, my neurologist gave me his blessing to stop taking seizure medication, which has been a twice- or thrice-daily part of my life since 2001. I've been thinking about stopping the medication for a couple of years now, and the time has finally arrived!

This is exciting for me on many levels, not the least of which is that it removes a major roadblock in the having-of-children department. The drug I was taking has been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage, low fetal weight, and birth defects. Scary stuff!

So the game plan is that over the next six months I will pay very close attention to how I am feeling, and document anything of concern. I'll see the neurologist again in June to report my progress, and if all is well I'm hoping he'll tell me to leave and not come back (until the next six-month check-up).

I will probably continue to wear my medic alert bracelet. I wear it every time I go out, with the exception of my trips to the gym. It's such a part of me that I feel naked without it--the same as my wedding rings, except that I've been wearing the bracelet for several more years than the rings! Plus, it's just really pretty (see also my delicious citrus fruits). I consider it to be more of a lovely accessory than a medically-necessary personal billboard--which I suppose is the whole point of making attractive medic alert bracelets. I got it from Lauren's Hope, in case anyone's in the market for such an accoutrement.

So, hooray for progress and for bountiful bowls of oranges and lemons!

* It has nothing to do with roller coasters.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Foodie Friday: Dill isn't just for pickles

It's Foodie Friday! Foodie Friday is my weekly feature that gives you a window into my kitchen. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to read cookbooks, and I love to inspire people to give vegan food a chance. Thus, Foodie Friday was whipped up and baked to perfection.
Wait, did I neglect to make a non-food post this week? Well, not exactly. I've posted a few goodies on List of the Day in the past seven days. If you're not following LOTD yet, why not? It's good times over there! Or, if you only want to see my posts, you can check them out here.

But you're probably here for the food. So here it is!

White bean and dill hummus with whole wheat tortilla chips, both from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.

I love white bean hummus. There's a white bean hummus appetizer at The Cheesecake Factory that I'm pretty sure Jason and I singlehandedly got added to the regular menu. But this one takes it to the next level with the addition of the dill.

Mexican fideo soup with pinto beans from 1,000 Vegan Recipes.

This was spicy and delicious. A word of caution, though: the little noodles sucked up most of the liquid in the time it took me to eat my first bowl, so you'll need to serve it fast before it turns into something more akin to spaghetti.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Foodie Friday: I'm still talking about Christmas

It's Foodie Friday! Foodie Friday is my weekly feature that gives you a window into my kitchen. I love to cook, I love to eat, I love to read cookbooks, and I love to inspire people to give vegan food a chance. Thus, Foodie Friday was whipped up and baked to perfection.
I realized the other day that I never mentioned what I had for Christmas dinner. Well, fear not, because I didn't let the occasion pass undocumented. Since I spent Christmas at my friend's house, I took a couple of omni-friendly dishes to share: artichoke puffs and winter squash risotto.

I also made some gingerbread cookies for us to decorate together. I used this recipe, which turned out delicious--I recommend rounding up a tad with the spices if you like your gingerpeople to slap your mouth around a little bit. Also, remind me never to use gel frosting ever again. It's disgusting and turns perfectly good cookies into gooey messes. Perhaps you can tell which masterpieces the three-year-old worked on. We ended up throwing the decorated cookies away because of the gel, but there were still plenty of pristine little gingerfriends left to go around.

Since Christmas, which frankly seems like forever ago, I've only made a few things worth mentioning. One is the fabulous roasted brussels sprouts from 1,000 Vegan Recipes. They're so simple, but completely delicious--something that every home cook should have in his or her repertoire. They're also really cute, because don't they look just like tiny cabbages? If I had a rabbit friend in my life these days, there would definitely be some shared nibbles.

Next up I decided to tackle that great vegan staple, hummus. I had never attempted hummus before because I never had a food processor. Now I do, and lo! Hummus was delivered unto us! Or, it was after it took me two days to figure out how to put the darn thing together.

I started out with the most basic of hummus recipes, the appropriately titled "back-to-basics" hummus using the traditional combination of chickpeas and tahini (from ye olde 1,000 Vegan Recipes, of course). It turned out thicker than the store-bought hummus I'm used to, but it was still everything that I had hoped for. I'll tinker with my next batch to address the consistency issues. No more grocery store hummus for this lady! I even baked my own tortilla chips to go with it, using the 1KVR recipe that is conveniently located on a nearby page.

I'm already scheming about what tasty tidbits I'll put in the next batch of hummus. THINK OF THE POSSIBILITIES! And yes, I really am that excited about hummus.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Carol called. She said "see you soon."

My grandfather passed away on Friday. He was 91 years old.

He wore a lot of hats during the ten decades in which he lived, including hockey player, Army captain, insurance salesman, RV enthusiast, and father of five.

I'm sure that my grandma saved him a seat in heaven. She must have been so very glad to see him.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Quotes from the Boat, Volume 3

My husband says funny things. Funny things that often become even funnier in the voiceless environment of e-mails sent amidst the chaos of deployment on an aircraft carrier. In my Quotes from the Boat series, I'll be sharing select gems plucked straight from my e-mail correspondence with the king of the cruise himself. From funny, to touching, to just plain weird, these are Jason's musings from aboard the "big metal city."

I am sharing this "fun" job with another second class.

I wish I remembered my slippers, though.*

I think about you a lot too. It's one of the things that give me hope and make me happy while I'm deployed and away from home.

Some people perspire very easily.

Unfortunately, Mr. Wee Man came onboard while I was sleeping and I did not get a chance to meet him.

I've been craving beer since I've been out here.

It's also nice to see your smile. It brings a little light to my day.

The days are starting to meld into one long continuous day. I just wake up and do the same things every day. I'm starting to lose track as to what day it even is, most of the time.

I've been dying for some salad.

Friggin' idiots I have to deal with. God help me.

Jacob could be a secret weapon and we could drop him off in Afghanistan. He could then annoy the shit out of the Taliban and make them give up.

I never cared for caviar, myself.

I'm definitely glad you're not the psycho with "man friends".

I wish I could have a glass of wine.

Every day that goes by is one day closer to coming home.

Not that I even like cow milk to begin with.

I’ll never run out of shampoo.

The nerve!


* I mailed the poor man his slippers.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

On my schedule in 2011

Even though I'm starting the year out as a boat widow, I have a ton to do and look forward to in the first half of 2011.

January: Start taxes. Have nervous breakdown because I've never done taxes by myself before. Drink many rum-based beverages. Conclude that I am the dumbest person on earth. Call my mom in hysterics. Finish taxes with her help.

February: My sister is coming here for a week! Hijinks will ensue, and probably also eating like hippos.

March: College basketball will take over my TV. Perhaps my mom will visit this month.

April: Weekend in Michigan for my sister's bridal shower. See Wicked in Fresno if I can get tickets.

May: TBD. If my mom doesn't come in March, she'll probably come this month.

June: My sister's wedding in Michigan! If we're extra super lucky, Jason will come home this month, but it isn't likely.

July: There's no telling if Jason will be home yet, but if he is, we'll celebrate five years of being married.

August: My birthday, and if Jason doesn't return in June or July, he'll definitely be back in August.

Some other things I'm really hoping to do this year are see NKOTBSB in concert, go to Las Vegas, and get some "we've been married for five years" pictures taken.

How did I get so busy all of a sudden?