Boy + Girl + Army + e-Harmony = Captain and Mrs. Butters! This is what we're up to. Observations, opinions, events, images, and more.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Temporary Office

Just thought I'd share...this is where I worked on Tuesday because it was the only room in the house not disturbed by movers hauling boxes and furniture.

Nice desk and desk chair, huh? My dad says that many of his life's most inspirational moments have occurred in this room.

Yesterday I migrated back and forth between the floor and a bag chair. Both of these made my back hurt and my bum-bum go numb-numb, so I may go to *gasp!* Starbucks to work this afternoon. Also, I have a new appreciation for furniture.

Spike's parents arrive this afternoon so that they can attend his graduation tomorrow. After that, we'll set off for Kansas! Woah.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Squaws and Good Witches and Confederates, oh my!

I had been halfway planning on doing a Halloween Costumes of my Youth post anyway, and that intention was firmed up even more when I learned about the vintage costume-sharing going on over at Goodnight Moon. If you post some pictures of your own and link up, you might get a treat. 

Sadly, I don't have very many pictures to share. They exist, of course...but most of them are in my mother's archives in North Carolina. Hence, I can't access them. However, I was able to glean a few snapshots from my brother's Facebook account, and I had one of my own in my files. Here we go!

At this point I should mention that my grandmother is an amazing seamstress, and she made Halloween costumes for my brother and me every year. Some that I don't have pictures of include Belle and the Beast, Jasmine and Aladdin, and Minnie and Mickey. One year, I was Babe the Gallant Pig and my brother was Luke Skywalker. So, not so much matchey-matchey that Halloween.

In this picture, my brother is Captain Hook, and I am Princess Tiger Lily. The pumpkin, apparently, is the Cat in the Hat.

Moving on, here I am in my Glinda the Good Witch outfit. In the interest of full disclosure, this picture wasn't taken on Halloween (this was probably during dress-up on some random day). I had a more authentic Glinda hat that I wore on Halloween, and I remember that my brother was the Tin Man that year. Here, he appears to be Davy Crockett from the waist up, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fanboy from the waist down.


And lastly, my all-time favorite Halloween costume: Confederate soldier from the Civil War. Yes, Confederate soldier from the Civil War. I honestly don't remember what started it all, but by sixth grade I was obsessed with Civil War history. Obsessed. I read all the books I could find on the subject. I could have told you when and where every major engagement was fought, and what the outcome was. I was familiar with all of the prominent commanders on each side. I knew what sorts of weapons were used, and what their pros and cons were. I researched the period's culture, and knew fairly accurately what daily life was like for civilians and soldiers. Yes, I was already firmly entrenched as a nerd...but I had a blast! And nobody was surprised when I wanted to be a Confederate soldier for Halloween (I had to represent my home state of North Carolina, after all!). Sibling rivalry being what it is, my little brother insisted on dressing as a Yankee soldier. 

I took this picture with my cell phone...but maybe the graininess adds to the "authenticity?"

Johnny (or Janie) Reb and Billy Yank. After Halloween, we fought many a backyard battle in full costume. 

So, there you go! I wonder how my future kids are going to surprise me in their costume choices.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Boxed In!

The movers came today to box up our (read: Spike's) household goods. Honestly, it was not that bad! I suppose after moving seven times in as many years (if you count college dorm rooms, which I do), I guess any move in which other people pack your stuff is good. And to give these movers their due, they were pleasant and efficient. I was afraid that their presence would cut my productivity by at least two-thirds, but no...they thoughtfully left my office till last, at which point I moved my laptop onto a box and plopped down cross-legged in front of it...and I haven't moved since. And honestly, I think I was unusually productive today. Go figure.

Spike oversaw the packing and picked up a couple pizzas for the movers to eat for lunch (smart, that...), and he also fed them Halloween candy and the cookies I made on Sunday.

So now, each room is a mini-maze of boxes. I worked in my college's art gallery all four years to earn food/fun/gas/clothes/car payment money, and based on that experience I am sure that if I had more vision I could turn these box piles into some sort sculpture that provides a revealing/scathing/tragic look at modern life...but...I stuck with studying luxury arts of the Middle Ages for a reason. So, simple piles of boxes they shall remain. Until tomorrow, that is, when the movers cart them away and leave Spike and I with an air mattress, some suitcases, and the frying pan and kitchen utensils I carefully laid aside.

In all honesty, my still-short lists of military "firsts" hasn't been all that bad. First night with Spike away, first medical appointment, (part of the) first move...none were as bad as I expected. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. Hopefully the wheels don't fall off of the truck when we drive up to Kansas on Friday.

Friday, October 22, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In: 22 October, 2010

Oh yeah--it's Friday. Which means it's fill-in time. Which means two posts today! If it tickles your fancy, join in and read other responses at Wife of a Sailor!

1. Are you a night owl or an early bird?
Used to be a night owl. What I can only assume to be advancing age (ha), plus a husband who gets up at dark-thirty for PT, have made me an early bird. We've usually said good-night to the world by 10:00 PM.

2. What makes you jealous?
It's somewhat shallow, I know...but I have to suppress pangs of jealousy aimed toward people who don't have any student loans to pay off. If you want brutal (but hopefully not offensive!) honesty, I specifically mean people whose parents paid for their college educations, not so much the ones who won scholarships or did ROTC. It's irrational, I know...I mean, good for families who successfully hung on to college funds! It's increasingly difficult to do, I think. Essentially, I just hate having that sum hanging above my head, even though college was worth it. I feel guilty for bringing that debt into my marriage, especially since it's the only major debt either one of us has.

3. Have you started Christmas/holiday shopping yet? When will you finish? (There’s only 63 days left!)
63 days...that's plenty of time! Haven't started yet, and have no idea when I'll finish...but I've got basic ideas for all of the major people. Hence, not panicking. Yet.

4. What would you have a personal chef make you tonight?
Actually, Professor Pete has invited Spike and I over for marinated flank steak. I'm sure he'd be thrilled to know he was just referred to as our "personal chef." At the moment, though, I'm craving gruyere fodue and a prosciutto-and-goat-cheese panini.

5. Where was your first kiss?
On my then-boyfriend's couch. It was a red couch, and we were watching something on TV. I think Band of Brothers. I got started kind of late...I was 22 at the time.

Funny Face

Yesterday I got my hair trimmed and colored. It was an adventure spanning the hours of 4:30 to 8:30 (yup, 4 hours), but quite worth it. My hair is newly-red; I went a little more toward rust tones for autumn. I also got a treatment that, if it works as advertised, will retain up to 65 percent more color than normal. (If you've ever dyed your hair red, you know it fades out like no other color.)

Honestly, I buy most of my clothes at discount stores like Ross and TJ Maxx, or off the sale racks. I can only remember one shopping expedition--ever--during which I bought whatever I wanted without regard to price. (Fun at the time; slightly sickening later when I looked at my bank account.) However, I'll shell out for hair. I figure it's the one thing I wear all the time, every day. Who cares how fashionable your clothes are if your hair is, as one of best friends would say, a hot mess? So yeah, I'll spend hours and dollars to get it looking good.

I was going to take a few pictures last night to post, but my phone's camera wasn't doing a great job of capturing the new color. It's actually a lot redder than it looks here. But that's not the point. Before my little photoshoot was underway, the Captain staged a sneak attack. Here are a few of the results:

I really do love this man. I expect his rubber face to be entertaining for years to come.

Lastly, since I didn't leave the salon till 8:30, I did what any other responsible, health-conscious adult would do for supper: I went through the Mickey D's drive-thru and ordered a cheeseburger happy meal. Duh. And to my extreme delight, this is what the happy meal came in:

How awesome is that?? Pretty darn, methinks.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Miscellany...and a house!

I've been doing that thing lately where I write blog posts in my head, and then neglect to actually type them out. Oops!

Well, the big news is that Spike and I officially have an on-post house to move into when we PCS in...gulp...eight days. Somehow we went from being smack-dab in the middle of the wait list to having three different floor plans to choose from. I was momentarily distracted by the one with a sun room, but it didn't take much further discussion for Spike and I to decide that a garage was preferable to a sun room. We'll also have a small front porch and a decent amount of storage space (unless the floor plan is lying), so I'm very much relieved. Spike, meanwhile, is over the moon at the prospect of not having a 20-minute commute to PT and work every day.

What else? Well, I had my first experience with military medical centers. It was a fairly simple matter of talking to a PA so that I could get a prescription changed, but I was still fairly frightened by the stories I've heard from Spike and from some of my fantastic fellow bloggers. Most hair-raising was Spike's visit to the dentist after returning from downrange.

"I see you've still got your wisdom teeth," the dentist told him. "Two of those are pretty near the surface--I can roll them right out for you now. You're a tough guy; you don't need anesthesia."

WHAT???? Needless to say, Spike firmly told the man that he'd prefer to see an oral surgeon. Yikes.

So yeah, I was really relieved to meet my friendly, helpful PA...and to pick up my new prescription, all in under an hour. Yes, I know...I'm sure I'll run into more difficulties in the future!

Lastly, I'm getting my hair trimmed and re-colored this afternoon. I'm kind of apprehensive about it--I haven't been to a new stylist in about 12 years (unless you count the student at the Vidal Sassoon school in London. He looked more like a body builder than a hairstylist, but didn't do a bad job). We'll see what happens!

Friday, October 15, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In: 15 October, 2010

First things first: I was really surprised (in a great way!) at the response to my post yesterday on Afghanistan. I'm so glad that putting my mental ramblings down in blog form has helped to change other perspectives as well. And make no mistake--my perspective definitely needed changing. When I'm not vaguely resenting Afghanistan because I don't want Spike to have to go back (there's some honesty for you), I'm comparing coalition efforts there to the conquests of the Romans, to the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain, etc. (I'm a history nerd; what can I say?), and wondering if our forces can really change Afghanistan's society since they're simply occupiers, and not settlers who are actively putting down roots and assimilating. 

I think I just need to stop, well, thinking so much--because this isn't a chapter in a history book yet--it's still happening. And the photos and people I wrote about yesterday give me hope that we might truly see a positive outcome for the Afghan people--because clearly, many of them want freedom and progress as well. And as for me? Well, like I said yesterday, I'm going to try to keep a more open, informed mind...and should Spike deploy to Afghanistan again, which I know is likely, I'll miss him terribly--but I'll be equally proud that he is fighting for opportunity and growth. While, again, I'm missing him terribly. It's his job, though, and I know he is proud to do it.

Oh, and one last thing before the Fill-In. You know that "stray" dog I found a few weeks ago? The one who slipped through my fingers and left me distraught that I'd abandoned him to the dubious mercies of the world? Well, Spike and I were riding our bikes through town the other evening, and I saw him. In a yard. Behind a fence. Wearing a collar. I grinned like an idiot the whole way home. Spike was right--he had a home after all. 

And now, the Fill-In! If it tickles your fancy, join in and read other responses at Wife of a Sailor!

1. What are some things on your bucket list? (from New Girl on Post)
Here are a random few: (I really need to write down the whole list one of these days!) Have children. Skydive. Live abroad for more than three months (the current "record"). Complete the Camino de Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage in Spain. Publish a novel. Become truly fluent in a foreign language (Spike and I are planning to start learning Russian together soon!). Visit all seven continents. Earn a graduate degree. Learn how not to make plants die (I have a distinctly yellow thumb).

2. How long have you been a MilSpouse and where have you been stationed so far? (from Raising Roscoe)
I have been a MilSpouse for one month and five days! (That was easy.) When I "met" Spike, he was in Afghanistan. Then he came back to Fort Bragg in NC, which was about a three-hour drive from my home. Now we are both at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. And two weeks from today, we will PCS to Fort Riley, Kansas. That's a lot of places for under a year!

3. What is a list of songs that sums up your life so far? (from Confessions of a Sailor’s Wife)
This one's tougher than it looks! I listen to music all day while I work, but I've never really put together a soundtrack for my life. That said, I'm not going to spend too long on the list don't judge me too much based on what I'm about to write! I'm sure I could do better if I spent more time thinking.
  • I think childhood would just be a mish-mash of Disney songs, Oldies (parents played them all the time), and classical piano music (I took lessons for 14 years).
  • High school? Well, I was a big fan of...okay, I'll admit it...N'Sync. Also, while my social reputation probably wasn't as bad as I thought it was at the time, I'm going to go with the Revenge of the Nerds theme song to set the general tone of high school.   
  • College: Les Miserables. The whole thing. Just because I listened to it nonstop for my junior and senior years.
  • My relationship with Spike: "The Way you Look Tonight." He sang it under his breath on our first date, and has continued to do so ever since.   
...Okay, so my response to this question stank. I have come to the conclusion that the songs I listen to a lot don't actually describe my life. 

4. What is your favorite kind of pizza?
If it involves goat cheese, I'm there!

5. What are three good things in your life right now?
  1. Spike and our new marriage! 
  2. A full-time job that I enjoy and that I can do from wherever the Army sends us.
  3. My new Kindle. Shallow, I know...but it has opened up a whole new world of bookwormish pleasure!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another Afghanistan

The other day, I clicked on a link that showed up in my facebook feed and read this blog post on journalist Sebastian Junger's website. Kanani Fong, the post's author,  points out that Afghanistan hasn't always been the "backwater" nation it is now. Its citizens once boasted more freedom than they currently enjoy, and its society was once developing and upwardly mobile (at least in terms of how we Westerners would define the phrase). What really captured my attention about the post, though, were the photographs it linked to. Here are a few:

Circa 1950-1960: An Afghan nurse instructs young mothers in post-natal care.

Circa 1950-1960: Afghan children participating in Scouting programs

Circa 1950-1960: Public transportation in Kabul
Circa 1950-1960: Biology class at Kabul University

Circa 1950-1960: Record store

This then/now comparison photo is especially telling:
Paghman Gardens near Kabul, circa 1960 and now
Yeah, that's the same place. And in the first set of photographs? No burqas. Ankles, shins, and knees showing! Women in school! Records that are in all likelihood Western!

Now, I know that these photographs most likely depict, as the original poster puts it, "the most progressive strata of society." And I know that Afghanistan isn't completely devoid of these things now. The lot of women there has certainly improved since the overthrow of the Taliban government, and certain sectors of society embrace Western culture (just Google Afghan Star, similar to American Idol) as well as progressive ideals (check out this article about the amazing and admirable Mozhda Jamalzahdah, who at only 26 is being called Afghanistan's Oprah).

Mozhda. I admire this woman immensely.

With all of that said, though, the fact is that I still think of Afghanistan as a backwater country on my good days, and as a hopelessly lost cause on my worse ones. On some level, it's shocking to see those old photographs and to realize that not only are the Afghan people theoretically capable of building a nation that isn't run through fear, ignorance, and oppression--they've actually been well on their way to doing it before.

That realization really brings me up short, because as I've hinted, I tend not to give Afghanistan the benefit of a doubt. From a historian's perspective, I find myself wondering if it's even remotely possible for a society to drastically change in a matter of decades. From an American citizen's perspective, I wonder if the resources we are pouring into the region are worth the supposed benefits that might come from our occupation. And from a military wife's perspective, I sometimes blindly, irrationally, and selfishly just want us to get out so that my husband will never be in harm's way there again. (I'd like to pretend that I'm more high-minded, team-spirited, and big-picture-oriented than that, but I'm not always. I'm human.)

I suppose it's good to be reminded that Afghan women could attend biology classes in the 1960s wearing pumps, pencil skirts, and uncovered hair. That knowledge really underscores just how tragic it is that currently, Afghan schools that educate women are targeted for violence.

You know, I'm not saying that I'm suddenly been converted to the "Let's stay in Afghanistan indefinitely!" camp. Honestly, I don't know how I feel about America's continued occupation of the country. Despite the optimism that these photographs and people like Mozhda inspire, I still question whether Afghanistan has the ability to become an upwardly mobile country that doesn't tolerate terrorists in the foreseeable future. I have grave doubts as to whether the damaging, oppressive, and inhumane aspects of Afghan tribal culture will ever be eradicated. And honestly, I don't have the expertise to come up with educated answers to those questions.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's good to keep in mind that situations are rarely as simple as we'd like them to be. It's good for me to remember that coalition forces are accomplishing good things in Afghanistan--every day. They're helping its people to take back some of what they've lost, and to reach toward completely new goals. And that's good.

Whether our troops end up staying in Afghanistan for three more years or 15 more years, I hope I can remain compassionate and somewhat open-minded. I don't want the moments when I callously and selfishly think, "Who cares? Let's just leave the Afghans to deal with their own problems," to bleed into permanence. Because Afghanistan isn't just filled with corruption, drug dealers, insurgents, and bombmakers--it also contains kids who want an education, women who want a say in whom they marry, and so many more. I just wish with everything in me that it was possible to help these people without losing any more coalition lives...or even without the necessity of never-ending deployments. (Yeah, I know that last bit is a pipe dream!)

I'm curious...does anyone else ever find themselves wanting to write Afghanistan off without valuable reminders like this?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Back in the Saddle

It's strange how only a few days away can completely break your routine. Annoying, that. No, it's not that I mind change very much--and I'm a big fan of spontenaity--I just don't like the "return to the real world" part. You know, you muddle through a normal day, climb into bed, and then smack yourself in the forehead, saying, "Crap! I meant to do Task X (e.g., blog) today!" Is this just me? Having to retrain yourself to successfully check off all the boxes you want to after your routine is interrupted?

I'm getting my act back together now, though, pulling the pieces of daily life back into place. For what it's worth, anyway. I looked at the calendar yesterday and realized that in two and a half weeks, Spike and I will be on our way north to Kansas. Wow. Talk about a real routine breaker!

Anyway, what I really want to do in this post is thank you all for your sympathy and prayers regarding the death of my grandfather. My trip to North Carolina last week for the funeral was a quick one, but I'm so glad I was able to be present.

I'm lucky. I haven't had to attend many funerals in my life, and I have yet to lose someone whose absence truly leaves an aching rift. In all honesty, my grandfather and I were not close. Although my brother and I grew up only 15 minutes away from my father's parents and visited them nearly every Sunday afternoon when we were young, we never got a sense for who they were. As a child, I don't believe I had an in-depth conversation with either of them, and once I became old enough to do so, declining illness had intervened and made such a thing practically impossible.

I know my paternal grandparents were fond of my brother and me; I remember their smiles, and their hugs at holidays. I know from my dad's stories and from the values and character that have shaped his life that my grandparents were admirable people. They just weren't terribly demonstrative, and they weren't the type, I suppose, to reach out. I remember my mother telling me that "it's just their way" in response to my disappointment that my grandmother and grandfather declined to attend my high school graduation.

From my current vantage point, it's evident to me that my grandparents' insular lives were a result of declining health, mounting familial issues (the word "drama" would be appropriate, to say the very least), and a lack of mobility and finances. I wish I had understood that at a younger age. I'm not proud to admit it, but for years I felt borderline resentment toward my grandmother and grandfather for what I saw as their lack of interest and involvement. Now, I grieve for them because I know they worked extremely hard their entire lives, only to have their peace, finances, and retirement leached away from them through regrettable circumstances.

Well, enough vague references. Let sleeping dogs lie. You can't change the past, and all that. While I rationally agree with these platitudes, I still mourn the grandfather I didn't really know--and I can't help feeling grief for the relationship I might have had with him, and for the peaceful final years he wasn't able to have.

The funeral service and burial were well-done. It's true that those rituals are entirely for the living, and I think that the positive aspect of this one was that it brought together relatives who hadn't seen each other in awhile for no good reason, and prompted those "let's make a more concerted effort to be in each others' lives" conversations. I hope those good intentions firm up into definite actions.

The burial itself was done with military rites. Eight gentlemen from the American Legion fired a salute (such a desolate sound), and two young men from the National Guard folded the flag. My grandfather was one a rapidly dwindling number of WWII veterans.

Well, onward and upward. But I am reminded anew of the importance of family, of stories, of connections, and of memories. And especially of how important it is to cherish them now, instead of regretting not doing so after it's too late.

Friday, October 8, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In: 8 October, 2010

I'm exhausted after my whirlwhind trip back to North Carolina to attend my grandfather's funeral, but happy to be back in Oklahoma. Belatedly, here's the Friday Fill-In. If it tickles your fancy, join in and read other responses at Wife of a Sailor! 

1. What is the longest road trip you’ve ever taken?
At this point, I believe it's driving from NC to Orlando for spring break during college. (I am about to break that record, though, since Spike and I are planing to haul my stuff from NC to Kansas next month!)

2. Do you collect anything? Tell us a bit about it.
Hmmm...useless bits of knowledge? Memorable experiences? Hair colors? Actually, I really don't have any objects I collect. Up until recently, I might have said "books" because I never let them go. However, I've decided it's a good idea to de-clutter and streamline my life, so that recently included making some mature decisions about donating books that I know I'll never open again. I'm trying to extend the streamlining initiative to all of my other possessions, too. I figure this will A) help me to live in the present and not be mired down by what's no longer useful or helpful, and B) make me less inclined to have a meltdown while PCSing.

3. What is your favorite part about being an adult?
Relationships. I was blessed with some great friends and a wonderful family as a kid, but I love how much richer my relationships are now. I guess that is (or ought to be) natural--more life experience=more understanding and perspective=deeper and more authentic relationships with others. I think the younger you are, the more selfish you generally tend to be.

4. What song brings a tear to your eye?
Since Christmas of last year (aka when I started getting attached to Spike), the military life songs do. For instance, I now stay far, far away from "Sleeping with the Telephone" by Faith Hill and Reba McEntire. Sometimes Les Miserables makes me misty-eyed, too, especially "I Dreamed a Dream," "A Little Fall of Rain," "Bring Him Home," "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables," and "Finale." Okay, so that was a lot. What can I say? The entire musical is outstanding and affecting, especially when seen live with a strong cast.

5. Describe your first plane ride (how old you were, where you were heading, etc).
When I was about four years old my family flew to California to visit friends and to do the whole Disney Land thing. I remember pressing the flight attendant call light like mad because I had no idea what its function was. Needless to say, this activity was quickly aborted my by embarrassed mother. I also remember wanting to look out the window and see camels when we flew over the "desert." Apparently, while I had some conception of the terrain of the southwest, I had no idea of what sorts of organisms lived there, or of how high planes actually fly.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm taking a hiatus this week.

I normally try to write four or five posts during the weekdays (I largely stay off the computer on weekends), but it looks like I'll be taking a hiatus for the majority of this week.

On Sunday morning, my grandfather died in hospice care after experiencing a stroke a week and a half earlier. He hadn't been in good health for some time and his quality of life had been poor, so while this is a sad occasion for my family, it is not a sudden blow. I might write some more about things later...there are some thoughts regarding my grandfather and my relationship with him (not as close as I'd have liked for it to be) that I think it would be good to get down "on paper."

In any case, I'll be traveling to North Carolina tomorrow, attending the funeral on Wednesday, and returning to Oklahoma on Thursday. I really wish Spike could come with me, but it's not possible for him to miss three days of class on such short notice for a non-immediate family member. (I'm tempted to take the easy way out and shake my fist at the Army, but if I'm honest with myself, I know there are lots of jobs that would make such a last-minute trip difficult if not impossible for a spouse.) I know I'll be okay on my own, and I know there's no danger of me having a meltdown, but it would still be nice to have my husband's arm around me. I will say, though, that it meant a lot that Spike brooked no argument about my attending the funeral, despite a plane ticket that costs more than the mortgage on my soon-to-be-sold townhouse.

So--I'll catch up on everyone's posts later, and hopefully be back to blogging by next week. (Or maybe even Friday. Let's face it--I love to write.)

My grandfather in his WWII Navy uniform

Friday, October 1, 2010

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In: 1 October, 2010

If it tickles your fancy, join in and read other responses at Wife of a Sailor! 

1. What is the silliest get-up you have ever worn outside of a Halloween party? (from To The Nth)
Can this question cover our whole lives? If so, I distinctly remember an outfit I wore around the holidays in elementary school. It was composed of a white long-sleeved shirt, a red corduroy jumper, and (the truly silly/cringeworthy part) a dickey that was worn outside the jumper. Said dickey looked like Santa Claus. Seriously, this thing was a big oval with a hole for my head, and the front was embroidered to look like Santa's face. His beard was made of scraps of cloth. I wish I had a picture to share.

2. What is something that you gave up in order to live the military lifestyle? (from Pennies from Heaven)
I suppose I'm blessed, because nothing huge and glaring is springing to mind. Honestly, I have no qualms about leaving my old haunts or about being nomadic (working from home makes that last one a bit easier to come to terms with). I guess getting married to a military guy (or really, any guy) put the quietus on my (pipe) dream of going to London and earning my MA in Medieval Studies at King's College, University of London. Technically, I suppose that still could happen--I could earn the degree during a deployment, since it can be completed in a little over a year. If, that is, I wanted to bankrupt Team Butters. The UK exchange rate is killer.

3. If money wasn’t a factor and you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? And why? (from Life and Times of a Displaced Jersey Girl)

If money weren't a factor...Antarctica. Honestly, I would love to set foot on all seven continents in my lifetime, and I'm pretty sure Antarctica would be far and away the most expensive trip for the least amount of time spent at the actual destination. So I'd use my free travel on that, and save my money for the rest.

4. If you were going to join the military, what branch would you join? Or which MOS/rating would you choose? (from And You Never Did Think)
Well, I was actually thisclose to applying to the Air Force Academy during my senior year of high school. If I'd sent in an application and been accepted, I probably would be an Air Force officer right now. As fate would have it though, I fell in love with Wake Forest University first, and the rest is history. These days, I'd probably give serious thought to the Army if I were to join the military, just to give myself the best possible odds for being close to Spike. I'd definitely hope to be in some sort of public relations position, as I am already an experienced press release writer.

What is your favorite thing to make for dinner? (from Armendinger Party of 4)
I don't think I have a favorite thing to make, per general, I always like trying new recipes, though...and for the past week or two, I've been craving crock pot beef stroganoff. So I'll throw that out there, since it is delicious.