29 May 2011

updates from my patio

The great thing about living in Florida? Our early growing season!

Check this post from March 23 for previous pictures so you can see how far it's coming. 

I've already picked and eaten 10 of these:

And two of these (with many more to come in the next few weeks):

I decided tomato cages weren't worth my money, so twine is my new BFF.

I learned that you have to be a plant-murderer if you end up with every single seed sprouting.

These were my 3 "pots of dirt" from the previous post.
The basil is on the upper left of that picture, and is doing awesome.  (I used some for bruschetta tonight.)  I obviously thinned out the tomatoes once they started running amok (top picture; I was apparently supposed to do it once they got to be 6 inches tall...oops).  And the blue pot on the bottom were some wildflowers I planted from seed that I don't think I thinned out in time; the leaves are turning brown and I haven't seen any flowers yet.  Oh well.

It looks like I'll be having tomatoes all summer, since my ones from seed are starting to flower just now:

Other than the wildflowers, I've had some other garden casualties.

My salvia has seen better days.
My pepper plant got some kinda blight?
My one little pepper--it had fallen to the ground the next morning.

And, saddest of all . . .
My "easy-to-care-for" orchid.  Not so easy if you don't have a perfect light level for it.
I moved that orchid around a lot, from this room to that room, trying to get it to live.  Nothing.  I finally chucked it, and I'll be reusing the pot for something else.

I'm pretty happy with the way my first attempt at gardening is turning out, though!  Lots of tomatoes and a steady supply of strawberries and basil.  I'll be planting some different flowers to replace the salvia this week.  I'm hoping that the 3 H's of the Florida summer (heat, humidity, hurricanes) don't kill everything off!

27 May 2011

friday fill-in

Link up with Wife of a Sailor
1. Do you think civilians, in general, understand the meaning of Memorial Day?
Well, like any holiday in America, it's been over-commercialized, but I think people sorta get it.  I think a lot of people just don't know how to honor our fallen military.  My family put out our flag, but if you don't live around a military community, there aren't many traditions going on to pick it up from.

2. What are your plans for the Memorial Day Weekend?
Tonight we're going to a friend's house and then tomorrow we're going to the Historic Pensacola Village, I think.  Then I don't know.  I think both of us forgot that he has Monday off.

3. What skill/talent do you wish you had? submitted by The 3 Turners
Playing an instrument (other than my voice), reading music effortlessly.  Or anything I could get good enough at to turn into a part-time career.  I wish I had some type of focused ambition.

4. Which came first: the chicken or the egg? submitted by I Married Into The Army  
I'll go biblical and say the chicken. 
God created the great sea monsters and all kinds of swimming creatures with which the water teems, and all kinds of winged birds. God saw how good it was, and God blessed them, saying, "Be fertile, multiply, and fill the water of the seas; and let the birds multiply on the earth." (Gen 1:21-22)
Although in the next chapter it says something about birds of the air being formed out of the ground, so who knows?

5. What is the best thing about your post (base)? The worst? submitted by Randomly, Robyn
NAS Pensacola is beautiful!  If you drive along the main East-West road, you get to see this stunning beach with white sand and usually some sailboats in the water.  The sun is usually shining, and it is just so serene.  There are no nasty steam pipes going over your head like I was used to in Norfolk.  Also, there are a few tourist attractions on base (aviation museum, 'haunted' lighthouse, an old fort, etc.), so you can spend a whole day there and spend very little money.

The worst part is that there are only two ways in and the one we live near closes at 9pm on weekdays (this cost-cutting measure started after we moved here).  This led to me speeding through base last night to make it out in time so I didn't have to drive all the way around, which would've added 20 extra minutes to my trip.  I made it with seconds to spare!.  Another bad thing about our base is that if a bad hurricane hits again, we're totally in the way.  Hurricane Ivan wrecked the place in 2004.  Oh, I suppose I don't have to mention how humid this place is from May through September?  At least we have a beach!

25 May 2011

I suck at art

When I was in Georgia the other weekend, my sister and I decided to treat my mom to a late mother's day gift. We took her to one of those "drinking and painting" classes.  My sister had done one about a month earlier and really enjoyed it.  I'd been wanting to do one for a while (I even bought a Groupon to one down here that I still haven't used), so of course I was game.

I was quickly reminded just how much I don't know.  I haven't taken an art class since 5th grade, back when it was a "special."  Okay, I lie.  I actually took a graphic design/layout class my last semester in college.  But we used stock photos and were more concerned with fonts and kerning.

We did this very whimsical "Crazy Daisy" painting.  I changed the colors of my petals no less than ten times because I hadn't made a decision prior to painting (tip for myself next time: be decisive; have a vision).  After we were done painting, we had the option to use puff paint to make our painting even more crazy.  I thought everyone else's puffed paintings looked really cool with the added dimension, so I decided to try my hand at it.

Have I ever mentioned that I'm the most uncoordinated woman alive?  Yeah, that "C" in "C.W." should actually stand for CLUMSY.  That said, once I started doing my puff paint, all hell broke loose on my canvas.  The white paint I was using ran out/malfunctioned, so I picked up another one.  I then promptly DROPPED IT on top of my canvas, right on top of the paint I just put on so it mashed it down (making it not-puffy).  I'm a total perfectionist with my own pursuits, so yes, I started to get emotional about it.  (I also had felt rushed during the entire class, which didn't help.)  This also apparently was a good time for the instructor to take her requisite "class photo," and she made everyone get up on the stage where I was trying to fix my paint, so I was forced to join in.

My mother knows me well, having dealt with (and sometimes been the cause of) my perfectionism for most of my life.  She calmed me down and helped me fix the thing as much as I could.  I liked the way my sister went to town with her paint scribbles, and I thought it might detract from my mess ups but it sorta just made it worse because all the paints were running out at the point, globbing onto my painting.  I guess this one just wasn't in the cards for me.

What's a post about art without some pics though?

I like my sister's the best
 The stem area is where I dropped the tube of paint; it's pretty obvious.
I call my painting: "I got in a fight with puff paint and lost."
 If one good thing came out of this, other than the bonding time with Mom and sis, it's that I now have a pretty sweet artist mark:
If you haven't figured out my full name, here's your rebus.

I'll definitely be trying again at the studio down here, and I'll definitely share that one as well (good or bad).  Too bad I won't have my mommy with me though.

If you want to see some work from an artist with actual talent, check out Aisle to Aloha.  I don't follow a lot of art bloggers, but her stuff is awesome.

19 May 2011

a car milestone and driving music

While driving back through "L.A." (Lower Alabama) on Monday, my car hit a big milestone!!  I've had her for three and a half years, so I think this is right on track!

I do not condone taking pictures while driving.  And yes, I need to clean!

While this was happening, I was listening to one of my all-time favorite bands and my absolute favorite song of theirs was playing. Obviously, the fates were aligned on this one! So here is the song I heard on that beautiful afternoon:

Every week for my song linkups, I try to use Playlist.com, but apparently my musical tastes are on the slightly obscure side. Youtube to the rescue. If you're not familiar with Relient K, they are indeed a Christian band, but they are not a "worshippy" type of band.  They just sing songs from a Christian perspective, although some of their songs have nothing to do with that at all.  I think they are masters at catchy tunes and witty/smart lyrics.  My college friends and I used to "car dance" to this stuff without one ounce of shame. They've definitely grown up since a lot of my favorites came out, but it's kinda nice because it's growing with me.  (I featured a much more mature song from them back on this post.)  Here's one of my other all-time-faves that falls into the witty/smart/catchy/not-inherently-Christian category.

Link up your song with Goodnight Moon today and go check out some other awesome bloggers.

18 May 2011

touristy things from the heart of dixie

Remember how I said I had some major wanderlust last week?  And that I was headed back to my hometown over the weekend?  Well, I've gone and come back, and I was able to work some touristy stuff into my trip.

I had to drop B off at the Atlanta airport so he could fly out for his monthly trip, which meant the entire drive from Atlanta back to Pensacola was my own.  The night before, I decided to look for something interesting to see along the way.  My first thought was to go see the home of To Kill a Mockingbird in Monroeville, AL.  Good thing I looked it up in advance though, since it is apparently closed on Mondays.

Instead, I decided to hit up Montgomery, since I drive right through it anyway (it's where I change highways).  This place sounded interesting:
Yes, that's right.  It's a museum devoted to Alabama's cattle industry.
I love these kind of off-the-wall places.  This place would've been pretty fun to bring a kid to, or just play around in the play/learning area myself with no one watching.  However, the latter option was thwarted because a school field trip was there standing in my way.  I wish they would've at least let me drive their sweet van.

I learned my cuts of beef!
After my museum bust, I decided to walk up the two blocks to check out Alabama's Capitol building.  It's gorgeous, see?

However, it was apparently National Field Trip Day or something.  Upon entering, I soon discovered this place was teeming with children.  Mostly elementary age, mostly in matching t-shirts.  This seriously annoyed me to no end!  One sad thing about this is that the kids were all pretty well-behaved, but they were just EVERYWHERE.  The other sad thing about this is that I have a degree in Child and Family Development, but I really really dislike rooms full of children.  It was like being amidst a swarm of locusts.  If that makes me a bad person, then so be it.  I never intended to be a classroom teacher, and the fact that I never will be was just hammered home for me on this Monday morning in Montgomery.  Nevertheless, I did hop onto one of their docent-led tours at one point (I was stuck on it, actually, because I couldn't escape that room) and learned the 5 capitals of Alabama.  At the time I was done touring and actually wanted out of the building, so many students were pouring in through the doors that I was trapped.  I am not kidding!   

I did get to watch some government in action though
My final stop was the First White House of the Confederacy.  I had been to the actual White House of the Confederacy up in Richmond last year when I lived in VA, so of course I had to see this one too.  What did I find when I walked in?  Yep, another field trip.  Gah.  I couldn't leave that one at a comfortable time either, because all of these other groups were taking pictures on the steps out front.  I'm definitely in the background of their class pictures, talking on my cell phone on the front porch Jefferson Davis once trod.

Welcome to the "Cradle of the Confederacy"
The Alabama Archives were next door to all this, but I didn't even attempt it.  Kids were still all over the sidewalks and eating lunches in the lawns.  Once I was back to my car, B called to tell me he got in okay.  I whined to him about how every field trip in America must have been in downtown Montgomery that day.  He responded, "Couldn't have been every field trip.  There was a middle school group on my flight."

Field tripping students: 1
Cat and B: 0

12 May 2011

the travel bug

a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.
1850–55; German,  equivalent to wander ( n ) to wander  + Lust  desire; see lust
This is how I've been feeling lately.  I just wanna get up and go.  Anywhere.  I guess my desires are being fulfilled to an extent, as we are setting off for my hometown tomorrow.  My niece is getting baptized, and my husband will be her godfather.  Even though I'm excited to go back home again, my travel urges are really to go to new places or re-visit places I've only been to once or twice. 

My song for this week's linkup reflects my current restlessness .  This song has apparently been out for a while, but I just heard it for the first time last week.  (It came out around the time of our wedding, so I guess I was a bit preoccupied.)

My mom and I at the Golden Gate during our mega road trip in 2007

Link up your song with Goodnight Moon.

11 May 2011

all dressed up: flower power

No tie-dye here, but it's my best hippie-inspired ensemble.

Blouse: Old Navy
Pants: Bubblegum (not sure where from; had for years)
Shoes: Jellypop from DSW
Necklace: actually from Africa (gift from a friend)
Link up with No Model Lady

09 May 2011

B's birthday weekend

My husband was born on Mother's Day.  And it hit this year on Mother's Day again (sidenote: the 8th is the earliest date Mother's Day can fall because it's the second Sunday in May).  However, I am not a mom yet (except to some plants on our patio), so there was no conflict of interest.  I let my wonderful husband choose all the activities for the weekend, and I think he chose pretty well!

On Saturday morning, we went kayaking on base (renting from the same marina where we took the sailing lesson).  Kayaking was also on my list (unbeknownst to B), so I'm happy I got to check it off!  I convinced him that we should get a double kayak just in case I had a panic attack again.  It was such a beautiful day here in Pensacola, and we spent a lovely two hours paddling around the Bayou Grande.  On our way back, we even saw some dolphins and paddled up near them.  That was definitely the highlight of the weekend!  In addition to the fact that it only cost us a whopping $4 to rent that kayak!  I would definitely love to go again--and maybe even get a waterproof camera along in case of more dolphin sightings.

View Larger Map

Saturday night, B chose a restaurant to go out to (more of a mom-and-pop diner near the Alabama line), and then we went to check out the Greyhound races they do here.  I know some animal lovers will probably get on me about supporting this, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but it was interesting to see.  I kind of have a "when in Rome" mentality sometimes, which is why I went to watch a bullfight when I was in Spain.  I had also been to horse races up at Colonial Downs in Virginia and actually enjoyed it a lot.  The Greyhound track here had the same kind of betting system, but the place was a freakin' dump.  It was a beautiful night, so I wanted to watch the races outside, not from behind the big window.  Well, the overhang from the roof was leaking and there was nowhere to sit outside near where the finish line was (most people were just out there to smoke), so we just stood there by our lonesome.  A poker room took up half of the building--which is apparently open 24 hours a day on the weekends--and there were tons of cars in the parking lot.  I guess most of them were playing poker because the people watching the dog races seemed to be few and far between.  We stayed for 6 races, placing dinky $2 bets on each.  We ended up spending a whopping $10 and leaving with half of it.  When we got in the car to leave, I commented, "I felt over-dressed in that place . . . and over-educated also."  Come to think of it, I feel like that a lot in this town.

These things were huge!
On Sunday, we did our usual church thing and then took B to get his birthday present.  A new suitcase, which he had to pick out himself.  After that, we came home and I made his birthday "cake": homemade cream puffs!  (and 2 eclairs).  I had apparently stumbled upon and bookmarked this tutorial online, which inspired me (don't know how I found it--I still don't follow that blog).  This blog doesn't actually give a recipe with measurements though, but I found this one in my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and I highly recommend it (Betty didn't have one--shocker, I know!).  Yes, I mixed it by hand, and yes, it was a workout.  But it wasn't terrible.  I did use the pudding/Cool Whip combo for the filling and chocolate frosting for the top, because it was just plain easier and tastes just as good.

28 isn't too old for blowing out candles, right??

05 May 2011

thursday five

You must have five things that have been...


1. In case you haven't noticed yet, I have a fun new blog template!  I'm still trying to work out all the bugs (um, why aren't my pages aren't coming in full?  and how do I get rid of the abbreviated posts with the Read More link??  Sorry about that!)  But isn't it cute?  Just wish that was a cat  drawing instead of a dog.  Well, it was free, so I'll take it!  If you have any advanced blogging advice, please share as I spent all of last night digging around the internet for answers.

2. The Blue Angels are consistently amazing.  This week has been the Centennial of Naval Aviation celebration here, and I went to watch them do an airshow over the water yesterday.  Even though I hear them over our house every week, it never gets old!  Also amazing is the package I got for winning Britt Dill's giveaway!  It was a lot of cool wooden Americana signs that will hang proudly in our apartment.  Thank you Britt!
3. Ever since my crazy 5k/concert weekend, I've been relaxing. I haven't worked out since Saturday, and I need to get on that!

4. I think this new-ish YouTuber is hilarious and fabulous!  Her name is Hannah, and I wanna be her friend.  Here is My Drunk Kitchen (profanity warning!!):

5. B's birthday is this weekend and he wants to go kayaking.  I'm excited because it's on my 101 List, but it will be my first time in a boat since the sailing incident.  I'm thinking this might get interesting in a bad way again.  But hopefully I won't freak out!


03 May 2011

the worst thing i ever ate

I know I just posted a week ago about starting to overcome my food pickiness, but last night was a giant step backward.  I was making a new recipe, using my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook (New Tenth Edition).  Betty has essentially been my cooking teacher for the past 5 years, and she has NEVER let me down.  Until now.

I chose to make Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce (p. 500; also online at their website).  I had all the ingredients and followed the recipe exactly (minus the optional cilantro garnish).  Since I'm picky and not that great of a cook, I find this is the only way I can try a new recipe.  Following recipes as they were written has actually helped me appreciate some of those foods I couldn't tolerate before.  I will disclose that I usually don't taste things as I go because usually they're too hot and I end up just burning my tongue.  I also don't usually know enough to fix something that's gone bad, so I just say screw it.  We only have so many spoons anyway.

What I tried to eat for dinner last night.

After I served it, B and I were sitting there eating, and apparently he was watching me.  He asked, "Why the frowny face tonight?"  I told him that I wasn't really liking the dinner I prepared.  He said it was okay and kept on eating.  If you read the recipe, you'll see that there were red peppers and green onions in this dish.  I had gotten one or two pepper pieces already and didn't really like them (yes, they are actually spicy to me, I decided last night).  I wasn't happy, but managed to eat some of it.  Then I got a bite with the green onion and the red pepper and all the sauce.  Once I put it in my mouth, my taste buds staged a REVOLT.  My eyes starting tearing up and I had to run over to the sink and spit it all out.  I haven't done that since I was a little kid!!  I felt terrible, and tried to shove a bunch of apple slices and animal crackers in my mouth to cleanse my palate.  I ended up having to brush my teeth and scrape my tongue, and the taste still lingered back there.

What I actually ate for dinner last night.

I was so mad at myself.  I was frustrated about being so picky, being a bad cook, and a lousy homemaker.  B told me that I shouldn't cook stuff I don't like (I apparently still hate onions of all types), and that it's really okay to have chicken every night of the week.    He even said he'd eat the leftovers of the offending dish, since he knows I hate to waste food.  Thank God for that man.

Have you had any truly awful cooking or eating experiences?  Also, I would love to hear if anyone actually tries (or has tried) this recipe and likes it.  If so, please tell me what you liked about it!

Note: I'm sure at least a few of you are wondering if I'm pregnant and that was the cause of this event.  I can say for a fact that I am not pregnant right now, as I know my cycle very well and it is way too early for any signs to be happening.

02 May 2011

a 5k and a song

This has been one of the harder ones so far, but it was awesome!

✔ 21. Run a 5k with B - use the Couch to 5k training plan to do it

If you just recently joined me here, or if you forgot, my first few weeks of Couch to 5k were summed up in this post.  Around Week 6 of my 9-week plan, I started getting shin splints.  The shoes I had been running in were ancient and didn't have much support to begin with.  I found some new shoes, but because of the extra support, they weighed more than the old ones.  I ran just fine with them, but it sounded like I was slapping the pavement the whole time even though I was running in proper form.  Some days I absolutely loathed running.  Other days, I was neutral about it.  I don't think I ever fell in love with the sport.

Anyway, I purposely got up super early Friday morning to catch the Royal Wedding and also as a way to adapt my internal time clock for the next day's race.  Saturday morn, we got up around the same time and headed to downtown Pensacola to catch the bus for our Fiesta 5k race.  It was a point-to-point race, so a bus took us to the starting line, and we would be finishing near where we parked the car.  We ended up catching the very first bus and had to wait almost an hour at the starting line.  B was whining about it the whole time.

I didn't bring my camera--this was taken after we got home and I'd taken off my knee brace by then.
However, it was a beautiful morning and a beautiful course that was mostly downhill.  I had a few goals for this race: not walking, not puking or feeling like I needed to do so (this happened the last time I attempted a 5k because I hadn't trained at all).  Another goal was to finish with B and maybe even hold his hand across the finish line.  You can imagine how he felt about the latter.  He picked up some speed on the downhill part, so I had to work really hard to catch up.  At the very end of the course, a 9-year-old boy bolted with the two of us to the finish line.  I was sprinting against B, and he was trying not to beat the kid and have everyone hate him.  I did grab his hand as I finished slightly ahead, so it kinda looked like I was dragging him.  We both finished with a time of 31:08, coming in 161st and 162nd.  It definitely helped that all the really fit people were running in the 10k and not the 5k part!  Also, the first 10k finisher did not beat us, so that's a triumph right there (his time was 37:26).

My sweet race bib, with electronic timing strips on the inside.  Fancy.
As much as I thought I hated running, I felt AWESOME after this race.  We even got free bagels from Bagelheads!  I think I might even do some more this summer, if I really love the charity where the money is going.  I may not do them with B though, since he'll just whine the whole time.  His co-worker likes to run though, so maybe I'll just do them with her.

So this weekend also included my two choir concerts.  While we were waiting around for the start of the race, I started singing one of our songs to myself.  It's called "Guide My Feet," and I know it's cheesy that I took a metaphor completely literally like that.  But I convinced B to record it yesterday, so here's the Gulf Coast Chorale singing it.  I'm toward the top left, behind everyone, the youngest-looking one in the group.

(Yes, this was at my fabulous church here in P-cola.  I love the color, and the acoustics were impressive.  It's hard to find a Catholic church built in the past 15 years that isn't stark white.  Also, B was sitting too close to get the whole group in the picture. This is about half of us.)