MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #31

Aside from no deployments, what is one thing you would want to make the MilSpouse life “perfect”? –submitted by Oh How Delightful

Oh, I think we are all too aware that it would take a lot more than any single thing to make this life “perfect.” As long as I’m dreaming, though, I’d like to be able to choose where we’re stationed. Sometimes the whole “Where to next?” process brings to mind images of monkeys and dartboards.

Just how many peppers did Peter Piper pick? –submitted by Married into Army

None. The technical term is “chiles.”

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

It would involve preventing even Earth’s gravity from holding me back.


Gemini Spacewalk

Let's go for a walk, shall we? (NASA photo of Gemini EVA)

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

I’m just not a tattoo kind of gal. For one thing, Judaism has traditionally frowned upon getting inked, though the issue more complicated than it might seem at the outset. Conveniently, the religious prohibition meshes nicely with my own squicked-outedness over needles of all varieties. I don’t even have my ears pierced, folks, and that has nothing to do with a religious rule and everything to do with the fact that I turn pale (okay, paler) at the thought of a needle going through my poor defenseless earlobe.

I do admire some of the lovely ink others have had done; I can appreciate the aesthetics without ever considering a trip to the local tattoo parlor myself.

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

Why, what a thought-provoking question, Self! I’m so glad I asked it. 😉

…actually, why did I pick suck a tough question? I’m having a difficult time narrowing it down. I loved my college courses in topics such as Suffering and Evil (yes, really) and Religious Conservatives in America, which is probably why I wound up adding Religion as a second major in undergrad. Delving deeper into either of those topics would be welcome.

On the other hand, what about the courses for which I would have registered if there had been room between all the Comp Sci and Religion requirements? I missed my chance to indulge my not-so-inner nerd with a seminar entitled, “The Anthropology of Star Trek.” I would have eaten it up!

If I were to sign up for a class today, though, I think I would choose Arabic. I missed getting to take it as my foreign language in college by just one year, and someday I would like to correct the lack. As an added bonus, Arabic would open doors for me in religious studies — best of both worlds, eh?

Are you a military spouse/fiancée/fiancé/girlfriend/boyfriend? Hie thee to ENS Wifey’s blog, snag the questions, and add yourself to the Mr. Linky for this week’s MilSpouse Friday Fill-In!

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In #30

What is your favorite MilSpouse blog (not including Wife of a Sailor who we all love, or your own)? –submitted by Our Crazy Life

Now, now, it’s not nice to play favorites. 😉 I’ll give what might be perceived as a cop-out answer and say SpouseBUZZ is pretty cool because of the variety of viewpoints it offers. SpouseBUZZ was one of the very first milspouse blogs I added to my RSS reader several years ago, back before I kept my own milspouse blog or really sought out others’.

What are your favorite perks about your s/o being deployed (we all know there are perks)? —submitted by Ramblings of a Marine Wife

One thing I have savored is not having to live my life by the flight schedule. We have no idea what my husband will be doing the next day until the flight schedule goes out the evening before. Until that point, we don’t know if we’re looking at an oh-dark-thirty wake-up for an early brief or if he’ll overshoot a reasonable dinnertime by hours due to a night bounce (Field Carrier Landing Practice, or FCLP) session. My hours are much more regular when Sampson is away; I imagine it will be a bit of an adjustment to get used to planning around the flight sked again when he returns home.

How long did you date your <significant other> before getting engaged? Married? –submitted by Utterly Chaotic

We had been dating for about four and two-thirds years when Sampson proposed. We initially thought our engagement would be about a year and a half long, but due to the exigencies of flight school, we wound up getting married just a few days shy of one year after he proposed.

What do you think your <significant other> would do if s/he wasn’t in the military? –submitted by Adventures of M-Squared

We’ve talked about this “parallel universe” scenario from time to time. I think we would find ourselves living close to our Northern Virginia roots while Sampson worked as an aerospace engineer for one of the big government contractors. It’s possible that I would be working for the same one as a software engineer.

I think one of the main things that kept Sampson from going that route was the knowledge that if he didn’t even try to make his childhood dream of being a Naval Aviator a reality, he would live the rest of his life wondering what might have been. The fact of the matter is that one can pursue a career in engineering after a career as a military pilot, but the reverse is not true. Some things must be done in youth or not at all.

If you could talk to the Secretary of (fill in your appropriate branch) what is one suggestion you would like to bring to their attention in order to improve the lives of military families? —submitted by My Life as His (Air Force) Wife

I don’t know about the lives of military families in general, but it would set this Navy family’s collective mind at ease to have confidence that those in the upper echelons understand the difference between sustainable, well-supported efforts and temporary, extraordinary measures to get the job done in a pinch. None of us can function interminably at “in a pinch” levels.

Are you a military spouse/fiancée/fiancé/girlfriend/boyfriend? Hie thee to ENS Wifey’s blog, snag the questions, and add yourself to the Mr. Linky for this week’s MilSpouse Friday Fill-In!

Cute Paper Motivates Me

Fellow aviation bride NavyGirl of Marrying the Navy recently held a Reader Recipe Giveaway. I submitted my recipe (Lentils with Spinach and Goat Cheese) largely for the fun of writing up one of our household staple meals, but the random-drawing Force must have been with me: I won! (I only wish my admittedly healthy recipe had been as drool-worthy as the cookies NavyGirl featured after the announcement.)

"What to Eat" meal planning notepad

The turtle wonders what delectable delights will fill the tantalizing blanks.

Sampson and I have never, perhaps, been as good as we could be about planning our meals in advance. When we did, though, it was always a pleasant surprise how much of a stress-reliever it was to have answers to “the eternal question” (as the adorable notepad puts it at the bottom of each page) written down right in front of us. Our grocery runs were smoother, we avoided situations where we needed to dash out at the last minute to get some missing ingredient, and we didn’t wind up eating out when we hadn’t already planned to do so.

And then stuff would come up, and we’d get distracted, and we’d forget to sit down and plan out our meals ahead of time. The same old rut welcomed us back: “What’s for dinner?” “I dunno. What do we have?” “I dunno. Wanna go to Chipotle?”

It’s been even worse since Sampson deployed. I haven’t gone out to eat, which is good, but neither have I been motivated to cook just for myself and wind up with piles of leftovers. I’m kinda lukewarm about leftovers; I get bored with the same dish reheated, and with the household’s King of Leftover Demolition currently halfway around the world, leftovers can hang out in my fridge for a long time. Unless I come up with clever ways to transform those boring remnants of a previously exciting meal into something new and different, they probably won’t get eaten.

That’s where mapping out my culinary week is going to come in really handy: figuring out how I am going to utilize leftovers from one meal in future recipes throughout the week. If I plan out my “transformations” ahead of time, I can space out my leftovers so that roasting a chicken and making rice pilaf for myself doesn’t mean a week-long dinnertime death march until it’s all gone (read: when I can’t stomach another bite of microwaved chicken and rice, it languishes in the fridge until I eventually throw it out). A far better scenario is likely when I know before I roast the chicken that I will use the leftover breast meat for chicken salad one day and soak the remaining dark meat in a soy-sesame marinade to go in fried rice made from the leftover pilaf on another.

Less wasted food, more motivation to cook, and I get to indulge my stationery nerdiness by writing it all out on a hip notepad? Thanks so much for a prize imbued with several different kinds of win, NavyGirl! I strongly suspect that many recipes from her other readers will wind up jotted on the notepad in the coming months.

Valentine’s Day Blog Swap

Forget sappy cards with hearts of pink and red and bare Cupid bottoms — when military spouses want to show their esteem for one another, they lovingly craft Valentine’s Day blog posts to swap and share.

MilSpouse Blog Swap - 14 February 2011

Hosted by the lovely lady at Riding the Roller Coaster, today’s swap showcases military spouses’ thoughts on the theme of Valentine’s Day. Click on the logo above to see not only my guest post at Riding the Roller Coaster, but links to the offerings of all other swap participants.

Sespi and ChrisAll right, now for the goods! It is my distinct pleasure to introduce one of my best blogging buddies, Sespi of And You Never Did Think. Besides being a fellow Navy wife, she is a highly intelligent woman of diverse interests and many talents. When she isn’t honing her Russian language skills or increasing her expertise in the field of nonproliferation policy, she tends to a pair of energetic canines and bakes all manner of mouthwatering treats. I firmly believe that she will one day be the first Secretary of Defense to run a bakery (for both two-legged and four-legged customers, no less) on the side. Her dedication to big dreams is a continuing inspiration to me, as is her positive, practical outlook — one embodied perfectly in her thoughts on the true meaning of Valentine’s Day.

First off, thanks to To The Nth for hosting this post from me! I have to admit, I signed up for this swap with no idea what I was going to write about. I’m not the mushy gushy type at all, so thinking of a topic took me a really long time. And then I got inspiration from an unexpected place.

While on a (way too long) flight last week, I watched Valentine’s Day and thought that Jessica Biel’s character was over the top ridiculous with her constant “woe-is-me-I’m-all-alone” candy eating and plans for an anti-Valentine’s Day party. I’m not going to lie; I’ve never understood the “I’m all alone and I hate Valentine’s Day” attitude. That could be because I didn’t have a Valentine until I was 24 (and it was Chris… awwwww) and thus, celebrated Valentine’s Day in a completely different way than most people seem to. For me, Valentine’s Day is a day of love, not a day of romance.

When I was younger, my mom always gave us small presents and a card on Valentine’s Day. I swapped cartoon character Valentines with friends and ate my share of candy hearts that said Hug Me and U R Cool. In college, I lived in an all girl house that hosted our own Valentine’s Day festivities: we put a fire in the lounge fire place; provided wine, chocolate, cheese, and strawberries; and had a chick flick movie marathon in our pajamas. One year, my brother even sent me a Valentine’s Day package! So while my Valentine’s Days without a significant other far outnumber the Valentine’s Days with a boyfriend/husband, I’ve never actually been alone or felt unloved on Valentine’s Day.

There was a storyline in the movie, however unrealistic, that resonated with my understanding of Valentine’s Day completely: the Army Captain who makes a trip home to spend 24 hours with her son for Valentine’s Day. I always tear up when she walks into his bedroom and they just sit there hugging.

To me, that’s what Valentine’s Day is about. Not heart shaped boxes of chocolates (but I wouldn’t turn them down if you offered), or huge PDAs (yuck), or even having a significant other to share it with (though that’s always fun), but just being with the people you love.

So today, I’ll call my family, snuggle with my puppies, and hang out with Chris. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Hey, it’s To the Nth again. Many thanks to Sespi for giving me the opportunity to share such a heartwarming piece on my blog, and thanks also to Wife on the Roller Coaster for being such a gracious hostess. Now, go forth and check out the other participants’ posts!