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

Friday, February 25, 2011

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In: 25 February, 2011

First of all, where did the month of February go? Secondly, it's been a while since I've done a fill-in. Time to get back on the wagon, because they're fun.

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

1. Aside from no deployments, what is one thing you would want to make the MilSpouse life “perfect”?  submitted by Oh How Delightful
Aside from a more predictable day-to-day schedule, nothing is really coming to mind. I really like most aspects of the life Spike and I are creating for ourselves!

2. Just how many peppers did Peter Piper pick? submitted by Married into Army
As many as he could before his eyes started watering too much for him to see what he was doing.

3. If you could have any career in the world with nothing holding you back, what would you do? submitted by It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To
I think I've answered this one before...I'd be a romance novelist! This post has a facetious (emphasis on the facetious!) sample of my steam scene-writing.

4. Do you have a service oriented tattoo and if so what is it. If you don’t what would you get? submitted by The Squid’s Accomplice
No tattoos of any kind as of yet. I kind of addressed this question in this earlier post. I'll warn you, though, the tattoo I talk about isn't a "happy" one. But is is the only service-oriented one I'd consider.

5. Imagine a block of time has opened up in your busy day for you to take a class in anything you like. What subject would you choose?  submitted by To The Nth
Well, I was a Medieval Studies minor in college and couldn't get enough of it, so I'd take anything relating to the Middle Ages in Europe. Actually, I'd love to brush up on my Old English. I used to have a passable reading knowledge of it, but that's a thing of the past. Also, I'd like to take introductory Korean...just to let the Universe know that Spike and I are open to the idea of going there! (He's going to tell his branch manager that he and I will volunteer for an accompanied tour after his time as Rear-D commander is finished. I know nothing is certain, or even likely, but I'm still crossing my fingers!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Zombie Janet

Spike came home for lunch today, and after we'd caught each other up on our respective workdays thus far (yes, we're that kind of couple), he randomly started telling me about a dream he had last night.

Apparently, in this dream (or nightmare; you decide), he was being chased by Janet Jackson. Who was a zombie. As is the norm in these sorts of dreams, Spike couldn't run quickly, but he did have a .45 caliber handgun. So, he checked to make sure the gun was loaded, checked to make sure the barrel was clear (can you tell he's an Army guy?), and then started firing. He could see the rounds hitting Zombie Janet--even going through her neck--but they had no effect in slowing her down. And then, I guess, Spike woke up. Which is a good thing, because who wants to dream about an undead singer masticating his or her still-living flesh?

Spike and I wondered: Why Janet Jackson? Why was she a zombie? Why didn't the bullets even slow her down? And how did the .45 get there in the first place?

The best answer we could come up with was that Spike was high on a cocktail of nighttime cough syrup, Sudafed, and zinc lozenges.

(Okay, this post really had no point, but I thought the story was amusing.)

Haute Camo

I started life out as a Democrat, and have since come to realize that, if forced to categorize myself politically, I am really more of a Libertarian than anything else. (Much good that does me, or anyone, come election time.) Anyway, until Spike came into my life, I didn't watch much Fox news or spend time on their website. Main reason being, even when I agree with what's being said (which actually is a lot of the time), the way in which various commentators' opinions are delivered annoys me. *coughcoughBillO'ReillyandGlennBeckcoughcough* (No offense if you're a fan--they're just not my style. I prefer the calm, boring, non-aggressive types.)

This morning, though, during Spike's traditional breakfast-time Fox news trawl on the iPad, I saw something interesting: a charity called The Boot Campaign.  Essentially, its a grassroots charity that sells combat boots, and the proceeds benefit veterans who are returning from war. Pretty cool. What drew me in was the picture of Dolly Parton sporting said boots.

I looked a little closer, and saw that Dolly's camo pants are sequined. And I thought: I've seen that material before! On my first date with Spike, in fact, in an antique store in Boone, NC.

Okay, so the pattern is a little different, but still--same concept. I have to say, Dolly definitely wears it better...but this dress (which was full-length) would have made a big splash at prom. Especially if paired with bona fide combat boots! I think that camo will always be around in the fashion world...but do you think sequined camo will ever truly be a big hit? I tend to think it's only something you can 100 percent pull off if you're rich, famous, and have a personal stylist.

Also, do you think that combat boots on top of pants is something we civilians can get away with? I do like the look, but I somehow feel that wearing it would be presumptuous on a military I was trying too hard or something. Thoughts?

(Oh, and I kind of want Dolly's sweater.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near Me:

Wives Gone Wild 2011

At least, that's what Spike's right-hand NCO (non-commissioned officer) says regarding the unit's upcoming deployment. I know I haven't had many exciting stories lately (such is to be expected when you work at home and rarely set foot in the outside world), but I suspect that's all about to change. Spike may look back on this rear-detachment command as the most hair-raising year in his military service. I hate that Army wives have the reputation they do, but in many cases it's justified.

Also, my arms and shoulders are seriously sore because of the Wii fit game in which you have to flap your arms like a bird's wings. That's good, I guess?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Weekend Beard

I'll start by saying that Spike's sister Erin is awesome. She's awesome for many reasons, but the one I'm going to highlight here is that she's an amazing crochet-er. Look at the goodies she made for Spike and me! And pardon the relative crappiness of photos made with my phone.

Spike got a Weekend Beard. Since he can't grow a real one due to Army regulations, he now has a crocheted version to tie around his head when he's not at work. Oh, and his beard really is red. Sadly, I've only seen it in stubble form and never in its full glory. But I still call him Barbarossa from time to time.

Behold, the Weekend Beard!

 Since I don't have a real beard (thank God) and don't really need a fake one either, Erin made me some hand warmers that match the hat she gave me for Christmas. These things are perfect for someone like me! (I.e., someone who has the circulation of an 85 year-old, and whose hands are always cold.) I have been wearing them in the mornings while I work, since they allow me to type freely. Also, I like how they kinda make me feel like a Dickensian urchin.

Holy Hand Warmers, Batman!

I think Erin should open up an Etsy shop. How many of you milspouses have husbands in need of Weekend Beards?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nothing says "Love" like Twinkies.

It's interesting to me that the yesterday the entire Internet exploded thoughts about Valentine's Day: Why I do celebrate it, why I don't celebrate it, why it is a big deal, why it isn't a big deal, it's a celebration of love, it's just a Hallmark holiday, etc., etc., etc.

I'm not saying that any school of thought is right or wrong--to each their own. If you and your significant other took a veritable bath in roses, chocolates, and candlelight, good for you. If the two of you spent a night like any other, kudos. And if you resolutely ignored the hubbub or even attended a Singles Awareness Day party...well, that's fine too. However, I DO think that all of the opinions and conversations this holiday sparks point to one thing: Whether we want to admit it or not, loving and being loved are desires and needs that affect us all.

Anyhoo, Spike and I each did what we felt like to celebrate. Which ended up being very nice for me, since I got breakfast in bed and a lavender scent diffuser for my office.

Unfortunately, the Army messed up my Valentine's plans for Spike. I sent him a Pantygram (Google it) and had, well, plans for his homecoming. (Use your imagination, dear reader.) So of course, he was an hour and half late coming home, and was so stressed out about a task that had been sprung on him that he could barely focus both eyes on the same spot. Not exactly a recipe for romance. (Ah, the joys of Rear-D commence! I have to admit, though, you guys warned me.)

Well, I guess you learn to roll with the punches. We just had a different sort of bonding time (discussing how best to handle this challenge) than I'd imagined. And not all was lost, because earlier I'd slaved made these Valentine's Day desserts: 

Guess what? THEY ARE TWINKIES! Yes! I cut Twinkies diagonally to make heart shapes, drizzled some jam-based sauce on top, and put a cherry on each one. Presto! Twinkies make everything better, and are a great way to declare your undying love for someone. We ended the night gobbling these (the dog even snuck a bite), drinking beer, and watching True Blood. Not too bad.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good News

Last week, at his Colonel's suggestion, Spike interviewed for a rear detachment command position. On Monday he found out that he got the job! I'm going to brag on him a little bit: apparently the Lieutenant Colonel who's going to be his new boss said that none of the other interviewees measured up. Of course, this was no surprise to me. So after only 3 and a half months in his current unit, we're throwin' up the deuces.

To clarify, we're still at Fort Riley, but it'll be a lot more responsibility for Spike...and a new coffee group/FRG for me. The majority of the Soldiers in this unit are leaving soon for the sandbox (for readers who don't speak military, as the rear-d commander, Spike will be in charge of all operations back here), and there's already been talk of starting a book club for spouses while the unit is gone. SIGN ME UP.

Actually, I went with Spike to an FRG pre-deployment meeting on Tuesday evening so that he could be introduced to the families as "the guy you call at any hour of the day or night (joy) if you have problems or questions." Before the meeting started I was reading my beloved Kindle, and a woman came up, started exclaiming over it, and asked me a bunch of questions about how I liked it. We chatted for a few minutes about the joys of having instant access to books. Come to find out, she was the Lieutenant Colonel's wife.

I think I'm gonna like it here. (I also anticipate a ramp-up in the amount of "can you believe this stuff" stories I share here on the blog.)

So, to end, I'll share one piece of information I learned at the FRG meeting. According to the JAG guy who guest-spoke, if you're a Soldier, think carefully about who you grant power of attorney to while you're gone. In fact, you probably don't want to give power of attorney to your wife (this was said in the presence of many wives, btw), because you might come home to find your bank account cleaned out, your car sold, etc. I told Spike he'd better write that little golden nugget of wisdom down so he'd remember it. Sad thing is, I know that piece of advice is strongly rooted in reality.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thinking About Ink

No, I'm not planning on getting a tattoo anytime soon, but I have been thinking about tattoos in I thought I'd write about it.

This particular cycle of pondering started when I read this article, which was posted on the Army's Facebook wall. It's about individuals who have gotten tattoos to honor fallen loved ones who have served. Now, that's not something any of us with loved ones in the military want to think about. (In fact, writing about it is giving me a mild case of the chills). But the fact is, not everyone who goes to war comes home. It's something we all have to be aware of. (I think "accept" might be too strong of a word...that possibility is something I know I'll never be entirely at peace with.)

So, almost against my will, I started thinking: if my worst nightmare came true, would I consider getting a tattoo to commemorate and remember my husband? And I think the answer is "yes," or at least "possibly." As some of the interviewees in the article mentioned, it would be an indelible remembrance of someone who was loved indescribably, and a way to keep him close. I really do think it would be comforting to look down and physically see some aspect of my husband with me, all the time, wherever I went. As I read the article, I even knew what such a tattoo would look like for me: a very small emblem of his rank on the inside of my left wrist, with his initials incorporated somehow into the design.

I hope no one thinks I am too callous or crass for thinking and writing about this. Yes, it's a serious subject, but no, I (personally) don't think that musings such as these tempt fate. I read an article that caused my thoughts to go down a certain path--that's all. And my imagination has never been something I've had complete control over. (Sometimes that's great, and sometimes, like now, it's kind of eerie.) I also told Spike what I thought, and he agreed that a visual reminder of someone you lost too soon might be therapeutic, in a way.

Anyway, after those rather sobering paragraphs, here are my thoughts on tattoos in general: I've lightly toyed with the idea before, but never in a serious way. I've never seen anything that I liked well enough to get inked onto my body. (After all, tattoos are there for life! Unlike hair, which you can do pretty much anything to and be guaranteed a do-over eventually.) I definitely think it's a good thing that I've never acted on any of my "this would be kind of cool" whims...because then, I'd be walking around with the White Tree of Gondor from Lord of the Rings on my lower back. Great books, but I'm glad I'm not forever stuck with a reminder of them as my late high school/early college self considered.

Also, as an artist I'm intrigued by tattoos. Some tattoos, that is. I'm sorry if I offend you, but sometimes ink is just plain tacky. For example, the first tattoo I ever remember seeing was my uncle's. He has a panther's head on the top of his forearm. It's badly drawn, and the ink seems to have bled and faded. At first glance it looks more like he's got a glob of dirt on his arm rather than a recognizable image.

However, there's almost always a flip side, and that's definitely the case with tattoos. Some truly are works of art that happen to be on people's bodies. I'm definitely not in the "All tattoos are dirty and trashy and I'm too good for them!" camp. The fact that I don't have one (and may never) doesn't mean that I look down on tattoos or the people who have them.

In fact, two of the most arresting tattoos I've ever seen have been on people I know. One woman has the outline of a bird in flight on the nape of her neck, extending into the hairline. You can't see it when she wears her hair down, only when it's up, and the first word that comes to mind when I try to describe it is "ethereal." The other tattoo that I haven't been able to forget is a fully and richly colored image of a pomegranate (you know who you are if you're reading this!) on the underside of the forearm. It's gorgeous, but more importantly, it's loaded with love and personal meaning.

So, to end: Tattoos are very personal things, and certainly a matter of preference. What are your thoughts on tattoos? Do you have any? If not, what (if anything) would prompt you to get one?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Introducing Ellie

A couple weeks ago, Spike and I adopted a dog. (Thank you!) Ellie is a 7 month old border collie mix who (so far, anyway) has displayed almost none of the famed border collie energy.
In fact, she's content to lie around most of the day, and doesn't seem to care whether I take her on a daily walk or not. (Although she does enjoy sniffing every lump under the snow when we do go out.)
Ellie's temperament makes her the perfect inside dog! She has become my office buddy, coming to tell me hello in between naps while I work.
(Hey, at least someone is enjoying the new couch! Sometimes I contemplate taking my laptop over there, but I have so far rejected the idea on the grounds that I'd be asleep within five minutes. Much like Ellie here.)
When she is awake, Ellie likes to chew. So far, though, she's masticated only her own toys beyond recognition, and responds very well to "No!" Her biggest challenge by far has been learning where--and where not--to "go potty." I think we're 90 percent out of the woods now, thank goodness.
After her initial "breaking in" period, Ellie is well on her way to becoming a member of the family. How do I know this? Well, Spike has given her a nickname: Jelly Belly Ellie the Smelly. Thankfully, that last part isn't true. Actually, the first part isn't either.  But it is kinda funny.

Ellie and I will hopefully be attending a basic obedience course in March, and she goes to the vet tomorrow to get spayed. Poor baby! At least she doesn't know that she needs to be dreading it.