Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Signs of Spring

It’s that time of year again. I don’t need to feel the warm weather or see flowers blooming to know it’s spring. All I needed to do was answer my front door. “Ma’am, you need help with your lawn?” asked a man on my doorstep. I politely declined. (Oh, and this was a different guy than last time. Apparently our ragged lawn doesn’t discriminate in the potential employees it attracts. I’ll try to hang onto that comforting thought when I’m wading through the jungle of knee-high weeds.) So I guess it really is spring. Soon enough we’ll hear all the tell-tale signs – the sounds of birds chirping and lawn mowers mowing, or in our case, the sound of doorbells ringing.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Birthday Gift

My dad celebrated a milestone birthday this year. In honor of it, my mom and I decided to e-mail family and friends, offering to include any of their words of wisdom, stories, or wishes in a book to surprise him. We told everyone to e-mail or mail them to me, so there’d be no chance he’d see the letters before his birthday. I thought it would be a gift just for him, but it turned out to be a gift for me, too. It was so enjoyable and inspiring to read such kind words about my dad as each e-mail and card came in. People from all stages of his life – from as early as childhood to his military days to retirement – took the time to write. It was just like “This Is Your Life.” In total, well over 50 people wrote in! They all had a variety of stories and memories to share, but the one common theme is my dad’s integrity, humor, and kindness. I got teary up when I read some of them, and it made me even more grateful to have such a wonderful man as my father! My dad was so shocked and humbled when we presented him the book of letters and cards. And though I don’t want to speak for him, I think it probably rates as one of the best gifts he’s ever gotten. I got so many comments from people that they loved the idea and were excited to have the opportunity to participate. So, it was a great gift for all involved. I highly recommend if you’re looking to give something unique and meaningful. At the very least, it sure beats a new pair of socks.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Civic To-Do List

Taxes: Done! Do a little dance of joy that taxes are done: Done! Census: Done! I think that will keep me on Uncle Sam’s good side. (Except for the dance of joy – that was all for me.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cruise Food

To say that we enjoyed the food on the cruise is an understatement. We certainly didn’t skimp in the quantity we indulged or the frequency of our dining. Let’s just say that when I weighed myself the day we returned, I cheered when I realized I gained only 3 pounds.
We treated ourselves every morning to (free!) room service of coffee and a continental breakfast. My mom says that this is her favorite part of the cruise. [I, on the other hand, was more preoccupied with making sure I was awake when the breakfast arrived. I had several false alarms when I’d run to the door, sure that I had heard a knock, only to open the door and see no one there. Having said that, it was still such a treat to have breakfast delivered to the room!]
We ate breakfast in the dining room, too, and my favorite item was the made-for-you omelets. I was not only impressed with the taste, but how the chef could flip the omelets perfectly in the air. I’m going to try this at home, although I suspect that I might be eating eggs off the floor for a while.
Not only did we eat lunch, but we’d have little sandwiches at the afternoon tea, followed by my favorite, the sushi! The sushi bar started just an hour before our dinner, but that never stopped me. I was usually one of the first in line, and the sushi chefs started to recognize me a couple days into the cruise.
Even after eating the sushi, I had no problem eating our delicious 3-course dinners. Just thinking about the lobster meal we had one night and the chocolate melted cake for dessert makes my mouth water. (I have no pictures to show because apparently I was more interested in eating than photographing the food.)
However, the most interesting meal I had was an appetizer at lunch. I ordered an “antipasto platter,” which to me meant a plate of cheeses, meats, and/or olives. (I’m not crazy for thinking this, according to Wikipedia.) But, I guess on the cruise it meant sea creatures, complete with tentacles and suction cups, that may have been alive and swimming seconds ago.
Although I’m pretty adventurous with my food (and I do eat raw sushi), I prefer for my food to make me use my imagination a little on what it looked like when it was alive.
Even with that questionable dish, we didn’t have anything close to a bad meal.
And now, the only complainer is my stomach, who thinks it is still on a cruise and wants to eat every 2 hours.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cruise Recap

We had a wonderful time on our cruise! I knew it was a good one when we left the ship and I wasn’t entirely sure of the day of the week or the date. In other words, it was a perfect escape from reality. And we had a great time with our family.
My favorite stop was Cozumel. It looked like paradise, and it had the ideal warm weather to match. The water was so pristinely blue that it almost looked like it had been dyed that way!
My family and I went on a tour in a glass-bottom boat. It was just like snorkeling, but without getting wet and all the effort. (Perfect for lazy tourists like me!) We saw a lot of neat fish and coral.
However, one person was noticeably absent from the excursion. In a sad twist of fate, Husband, who hasn’t had the flu in over 10 years and had gotten 2 flu shots this year while I had none, came down with a 24-hour bug that day. He missed the entire excursion and all of Cozumel. I felt bad leaving him on the ship. I almost wanted to lie when he asked how Cozumel was because I didn’t want to have to tell him, “It was gorgeous!”
So, unfortunately, while I was looking at this beautiful paradise,
Husband was looking at this: a stash of water, powerade, and medicine. Thankfully, Husband felt better the next day and was almost back to normal. Despite his brief bout of sickness, he had a great time, too.
There’s not enough space to say every single thing I loved about the trip, but a few of my favorite memories of the cruise are:
1) A kayaking tour that was fun, but wasn’t quite what we had imagined. (I have no pictures to show because I was too afraid that I’d drop my new digital camera in the water!)
2) The towels folded into animal shapes that we got in our room each night.
3) The food. I could write a whole post on this, and I probably will. We ate ourselves silly.
4) The birthday celebration for my dad.
5) Learning how to do the “Thriller” dance. 6) And most importantly, just relaxing and being able to hang out with our family. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about the cruise, but those are the highlights. In the meantime, I’ll be unpacking and wondering exactly why we had to come home.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bon Voyage

Husband and I getting packed up to go on vacation. We’re going to see family, and then we’re all going on a cruise together. I thought the cruise was a great idea when I first heard about it, and I have to say, now I think it is a fantastic idea. Husband and I both need a break from work (especially Husband, who has been working an insane amount of hours), so the trip couldn’t have come at a better time. And since we don’t live near our family, anytime we get to see them is such a treat! And is it sad that I’m looking forward to all the food on the ship (waffles, desserts, gourmet dinners, maybe sushi?) just as much as the fun places we’ll see? I didn’t think so. By the way, thanks to everyone that gave camera recommendations. I will be back with pictures to share, hopefully from a soon-to-be-purchased digital camera! Have a wonderful week!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Say Cheese

Well, the time has finally come to replace my digital camera. I’ve had it for so long that I’m having trouble remembering when I got it, but it’s safe to say that I’ve had it for about 7 years. I think that in electronic-years my camera is old enough to be in a nursing home! It's a Sony, and I have no complaints about it. Recently, it’s been getting finicky and sometimes takes blurry pictures, but I think that’s only because it’s nearing its expiration. So, I need a new camera. Does anyone have any recommendations?? I’m looking for a small point-and-shoot that takes quality pictures. I’m no camera expert, so something that is easy to use is important. And, of course, if it doesn’t break the bank, that’s even better! Because I’m a big nerd, I’ll have my copy of Consumer Reports magazine with me when I go shopping, but I’d still love to get some recommendations from you. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bring Your Wife to Work Day

This week Husband’s unit is hosting a day where spouses can tour the unit. I think they call it something like “Spouse Day,” but I’m (jokingly) calling it “Bring Your Tootie to Work Day.” They’ll give us a tour of the flight line and the tower, and at some point we get to try out the aircraft simulator. I did the simulator at our last assignment, and let’s just say that “crash and burn” sums up how I did quite nicely. I think I would make the worst kind of aviator because even with Husband’s helpful directions (“pull up!”), I was totally unaware of how badly I was doing until I crashed. But then again, I can’t be trusted to parallel park a car. Luckily, we’ll be doing other activities like eating and chatting that I’m confident I can do quite well without any instructions.