Sunday, July 31, 2011

all smiles and peach pie

Last Wednesday was my mom's birthday. Like last year, I didn't get around to posting on the actual day. This time, it was because I was with my Navy BFF, whose husband was having surgery that day. Since her two little girls weren't allowed to be in the hospital room, I went along with her to keep the girls company when she went to see him post-op.

I wish I would have been able to spend the day celebrating with my mom, but our current locations make that impossible. Instead, I try to recognize the special times that I miss out on by making what small gestures I can, including blog posts. I hope I made my mom proud by giving my time and moral support to someone who needed it! I'm pretty sure that she would agree that showing the compassion that she instilled in me is more meaningful than a blog post.

I love you Mommy, and I hope that your day was all smiles and peach pie!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fourthiversary Fun!

Although Jason and I were pretty bummed to come back to California after our week in Michigan, we turned our frowns upside down in time for the long Fourth of July weekend and our anniversary--our Fourthiversary. This year we had more than just fireworks to look forward to--we had NKOTBSB tickets!

We drove up to San Jose on Saturday afternoon and got settled into our room at the Hilton before heading to dinner at a local pizza place. I picked it specifically because this place offers Daiya vegan cheese. It was so good that we got another one to stash in our room for a post-concert snack.

A short taxi ride took us from our hotel to the HP Pavilion, where the fangirls were milling about in giant hordes. We made our way through the long door and beer lines and made the ascent to our nosebleed seats. I wish I would have been able to get better ones, but by the time I was sure that we'd be able to go to this concert, the upper deck seats were the only ones left.

Jason wasn't super-thrilled to be there, so he was in and out of the arena the whole concert long, but I was beyond psyched and totally transfixed the whole performance. The New Kids have been my loves since the tender age of 7, and I was known to enjoy some Backstreet Boys in high school. The two groups mostly took turns singing their own songs, but they did collaborate a few times, which was pretty mind-blowing. My camera died halfway through the show, just as Donnie Wahlberg began tearing off all of his clothes. You'll have to take my word for it that you could wash your clothes on those abs.

We got up on Sunday morning in time to enjoy the delicious breakfast buffet. Seriously, Hiltons have the best breakfast/brunch! It was a beautiful day in San Jose and we didn't want to go home yet, so we went to the Tech Museum (where Jason considered a career change) and the San Jose Museum of Art, then walked around downtown San Jose until I realized that my wedding day sunburn was getting its own sunburn.

On Monday we celebrated Fourthiversary day one with a quiet cookout food dinner at home--veggie dogs, homemade baked beans, homemade jalapeno cornbread, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. We watched the base fireworks from our friends' driveway while sipping moscato from Jason's special anniversary gift--pewter-stemmed wine glasses that he brought home all the way from the Royal Selangor pewter factory in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which he visited during his deployment. They are seriously one of my favorite gifts ever!

Although we consider July 4 to be our anniversary because it's the day we met (in 2005), we were actually legally married at court on July 5, 2006 (since it was closed the day before). It works out great--we just get to celebrate even more! On Fourthiversary day two we had another quiet day at home, and I taught my city-boy husband how to shuck corn, which he had never done before. I laughed and laughed about that discovery. It's the little things, people.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

photobooth fun

As I mentioned previously, one of the highlights of my sister's wedding reception was the photobooth. I only managed to get in there three times in between dinner, dancing, and socializing. I wish that I'd had more time!

All five of the bridesmaids. Of course we did deuces and kissy faces!

I love these girls.

I had to teach my mom deuces.

The love of my life already knew how to throw his deuces. My sunburn really shows in this strip. Oh, did it hurt! It's my fault for not putting on sunblock before going outside for the professional pictures. We were probably only out there for an hour, though--that's how easily I burn! When I took off my necklace later that night, I had a ridiculous white silhouette where it had been covering my skin.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

exotic hand-shaped locales

When last we spoke, the protagonists of this blog were jetting off to exotic hand-shaped locales to celebrate nuptials that were longer in the making than those of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The wedding week was wonderfully fun! We experienced dinner tables on fire, bachelorette karaoke, scalding sunburn, and perhaps the coolest wedding trend ever, the reception photobooth. My sister was beautiful, and yes, riding the MSU bus around campus was totally, completely rad.

I could hardly blink back the happy tears as I stood by my sister's side at the altar, and the ridiculous grin on my face is probably going to be a source of much amusement when the professional pictures come back.

If the flurry of candid photos that have popped up on Facebook post-wedding are any indication, the professional snaps are going to be great, and I can't wait to see them and share some of them here. I felt so elegant all dolled up in my pink dress, and Jason looked absolutely dashing in his suit and coordinating tie.

After spending so much time apart while he was deployed, being back together for such a special, romantic event was a thrill, and it made me fall in love with him more than ever before.

Coming back to California was a huge letdown for us after such a great week. How we felt about it has definitely reinforced our desire to lay down roots in Michigan as soon as we can.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

off we go

Jason and I are jetting off to Michigan in a few hours for a week of wedding fun. It will be the first time we've flown together since 2005, and only the second time that Jason has been to my motherland. He was last there for a weekend in 2007. He's long overdue!

Not only is he coming with me on this trip, he's also a last minute addition to my sister's bridal party! I couldn't be happier and I can't wait to make goo goo eyes at him from across the altar on Saturday.

To keep you occupied while I'm gone, I posted a humorous little tidbit from Jason's deployment over at List of the Day. All I can say is that some street signs in Malaysia seem to be for a mature audience!

The next time I post, I'll show you where I'm from on my hand.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The eagle has landed!

Yes, Jason is back, and I could not be happier! His homecoming on Wednesday was not without its dramas, however.

I was up until 1 a.m. the night before, unable to sleep. I baked Jason's favorite care package treat from over the course of this deployment, chocolate chunk blondies from Party Vegan, and then forced myself to get into bed. I awoke at 4 a.m. drenched in sweat. The air conditioning wasn't blowing and it was 80 degrees in the house. It was too hot to go back to sleep, so I turned on my computer and started my work day early. Within an hour, it was clear that the air conditioning was broken, because it wouldn't blow cold air no matter what I did. I put in a maintenance request around 6 a.m. for the air and for a ceiling light fixture that wasn't working, and went back to working in my underwear. Around 11 a.m. a voice piped up over the base-wide loudspeaker that we weren't to drink the tap water until further notice. I found out later that the reason was because it might be contaminated with something that had caused a number of people to mysteriously become sick. At that point I was wondering if I should expect a swarm of locusts next!

When a maintenance man showed up shortly after that, I thought that the worst of my problems was solved. But no, this guy had only been sent out to change my light bulb (which had ended up coming back on by itself hours before). I practically begged him to fix the air conditioning, so he called up his supervisor, who assigned the job to another guy who was working in an adjacent neighborhood. He showed up within an hour or so and got right to work. It turned out that the thermostat was totally dead, so he ripped the whole thing out and installed a new, fancier one with programmable settings and a digital display. He even programmed the thing for me. The job was done by 3 p.m. I thanked him profusely for his help and he thanked me for Jason's service and said it was the least he could do for a returning sailor. His kindness turned my whole day around.

With the air fixed, I decided that I had better go buy some bottled water, since there hadn't been any word about how long the tap water restriction was going to last. I had considered squeezing in a trip to the gym after I got the water, but it is a really good thing that I didn't, because at 4 p.m. Jason texted to say that his military plane might be leaving an hour earlier than scheduled! I immediately got in the shower to wash off the broken AC stench, and by the time I was out, he had texted again to say that they'd definitely be taking off early.

The rest of the day was a complete whirlwind. I did my hair and makeup and got dressed in record time--and as you can see from the picture above, the little sundress that I mentioned before fit like a glove!

With my beautifying done, I rushed over to the air terminal on the other side of base, only to find it deserted. Thank goodness for my friend, who texted to ask where I was, because otherwise I never would have known that the arrival point was over in one of the jet hangars! I made it there with plenty of time to spare, and was able to see Jason's plane pull up. My heart was in my throat as it rolled to a stop in front of us. Doors popped open at the front and the back of the plane, and I frantically looked back and forth in between the two as the sailors streamed out, all looking rather alike in their NWUs. Families rushed past me to get to their sailors. Finally I saw Jason coming out of the back of the plane, scanning the crowd for a familiar face. I trotted toward him as fast as I could without my sandals coming off of my feet, and the most wonderful smile lit up his face when he saw me. I threw myself into his arms, and the first thing I could think of to say was, "You asshole, why didn't you tell me to get you here?"

He forgave me for that.

While we were waiting for the sailors' bags to be unloaded, we were interviewed by a local news station. Jason gave a great sound byte about how happy he was to be home, and then the reporter asked me about the water contamination scare. Rather than using Jason's wonderfully insightful clip, they showed one of me saying "I'm disappointed" and that I was going to pick up some bottled water from a distribution station on the way home. It made zero sense the way it was edited, but at least I looked pretty on TV, I guess. The water ban was lifted the next day.

Since Wednesday, my love and I have been getting reacquainted--he with his PlayStation 3 and I with all of the cute clothes that haven't fit me for several years. I wore the shirt below on our first date almost six years ago!

We've gone out to dinner twice, shopped for shorts that don't fall off of my slimmed-down hips, gone to see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and Jason bought a new laptop that is apparently the end-all be-all of portable computing. On Monday we're going to pay off both of our cars using the money we saved up during this deployment.

But first, we're going to enjoy some well-deserved Sunday night pizza and beer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quotes from the Boat, Volume 7

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."

You are beautiful to me every day.

I would have gotten tortured for going across the equator, but the event is "voluntary." It's in quotations because they still give you a ration of shit for not participating. So, they stuck me in some room and told me that I couldn't watch TV since I wasn't participating. I watched TV anyway.

I love you so much! You are the best wife ever!

I can barely keep my shorts on because they are too big for me now.*

I don't get so hungry when I think of the crap food they serve. It kills my hunger.

Hong Kong IS the piracy capital of the world, after all.

I didn't feel like going to Disneyland [in Hong Kong]. That's something I'd like to do with you, not with a bunch of sailors.

I have no desire to go to the Middle East with an AK-47.

So you were able to find the Amstel Light, eh? I guess the holy quest is over now.**

I can't wait to come home to you! It makes me so happy to be packing to come home. It almost brings tears to my eyes. Leaving this ship and knowing I won't ever have to come back brings a lot of joy into my heart.

* He has gone down four pants sizes since November!
** I drove through three counties and went to eight stores to get that damn beer.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I think there are pterodactyls in there.

Mum has been the word around here lately because I didn't want to say anything too soon. But now that it's Facebook official, I can make it blog official, too: Jason's ship made port in Hawaii last week, and it is now chugging its way home!

PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII (June 10, 2011) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) departs Pearl Harbor, Hawaii with Sailors' friends and families aboard for a Tiger Cruise. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 recently completed a deployment the U.S. 5th Fleet and U.S. 7th Fleet areas of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans / RELEASED)

I have been in super-prep mode, hustling and bustling to make sure that everything is ready for homecoming day, including myself! I've filled the fridge and pantry with Jason's favorite foods so that he can start regaining the four pants sizes he dropped on this deployment, vacuumed out my car and steam-cleaned the interior mats so that he can ride home in a proper chariot, shaved and waxed and plucked myself to baby's bottom smoothness so that he doesn't confuse me with a bear, and scoured our house as clean as a whistle so that he feels like a king in his palace admittedly modest base housing.

I don't have butterflies in my stomach. No... I think there are pterodactyls in there.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Foodie Friday: How to lose weight eating pasta

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 lied. You can't stuff yourself silly with pasta all the time AND lose weight. I know, I'm a false advertiser. But don't despair, carb loaders, because I have the next best thing.

One of the ways that I've achieved the weight loss that I mentioned yesterday is by cutting pasta out of my diet. I love it, and I used to eat it more than once a week, sometimes several days in a row when I had leftovers. That was clearly doing nothing for my waistline! Or, more accurately, it was doing something for my waistline--making it expand.

Now that I'm making better food choices, I've been using "noodles" made out of other things. They don't taste like wheat pasta, but I like them based on their own merits.

First, kelp noodles. I buy Sea Tangle's version at Whole Foods, and you can also buy them by the case directly on the company's website, which I might do next time if the price is better than what Whole Foods is charging. Kelp noodles have a vegetable crunch to them that to me is most comparable to bean sprouts. They don't really taste like anything, but they take on flavor well. And best of all, they are fat-free and extremely low-calorie. I eat them cold with crumbled extra-firm tofu, black sesame seeds (regular white ones are fine too, but I like the contrast of the black ones), and soy sauce. Sea Tangle has a collection of recipes that I plan to try after I make my next Whole Foods pilgrimage.

My other go-to "pasta" is carrot peelings! The way I prepare them is similar to this recipe, but I prefer to use sliced cherry or grape tomatoes instead of jarred pasta sauce. I also add chopped onion or shallots, and put in a crapload more garlic. I used a splash of white wine in the batch I made for dinner last night, and it was great! In the picture below, I tossed in some fresh parsley, but it's also good with dried herbs like basil and oregano.

This is my new theme song:

I take no responsibility for the chorus sticking in your head all day.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

mad maid style

When I ordered my bridesmaid dress for my sister's wedding back in November, I had it cut for the size I was wearing then. By the time it arrived at the end of April, my measurements had changed quite a bit, and the dress was literally falling off of me:

So last week I took it to our uniform shop here on base to be altered, and I picked it up yesterday, minus several inches of fabric on the sides:

My husband was very verbally appreciative of my mad maid style. Even my future brother-in-law said it looked sexy.

(Don't worry; I love my BIL, but not like that.)

To add to my success story, I was also able to fit into a sundress that I haven't been able to zip up for years. I have an extra-special use in mind for that little number (you'll just have to wait and see).

Summer is here, and I couldn't be more ready for it.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Daily Navy Wife, Volume 8

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.
This is the sixth month of daily wives, and I don't know about you guys, but I am getting tired of looking at my own face over and over again. I'm about ready for my husband to see me with his own eyes and be done with these posts! It has been 184 days since I have seen his face or heard his voice. We're not done yet, but there are more daily wives behind us than there are to go.