31. October 2011 · Comments Off on Veteran’s Day Deals for 2011 · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

My military spouse blogger friend at Wife of a Sailor has published a thorough list of military promotions for Veteran’s Day.  This list had circulated among currently-serving servicemembers’ e-mail accounts this past week.

Check out the list here!

You’ll see that many businesses actually offer their promotions year round (such as Anheuser-Busch theme parks, Lowe’s, and Home Depot) and the National Park Service’s Veteran’s Day weekend promotion is for everyone.

30. October 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Today I got home from my two-week AF Reserve tour.  Having to get on a plane and fly to my two-week tour is actually a first for me…unless you count the year I deployed, which I’m not.  I’d have had to fly to that one no matter where Dave was stationed 🙂

A tad chilly in Omaha this morning — they had to de-ice our plane before we took off!

No details about the work I did, it’s the same as what I always do, which is challenging work, but rewarding when all’s said and done.  I happened to be on night shifts — which I was two years ago — and it’s seeming like pulling night shifts is getting harder and harder on me.  Perhaps it’s the time I’m putting between having to work nights, perhaps it’s my getting older?  I don’t know.

Dave has back surgery on Monday.  The super-perceptive will start to realize a trend.  For those who haven’t been reading for as long, “let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.” (to quote Indigo Montoya).

It’s autumn, and it seems it’s time for Dave to have surgery again.  His back has been deteriorating pretty quickly this year, in part from the more intensive fitness regime he’s had here.  After talking to several peers here who have had successful back procedures, he decided to meet with a neurosurgeon who suggested Dave would be a candidate for a procedure called an AxiaLIF.  It turns out his case made him a candidate so he goes in on Monday, but should be out of the hospital on Tuesday.  If the procedure is successful, Dave’s recovery will be quicker than a traditional vertebrae fusion procedure.

This post from 2010 will provide a little more detail on his past surgeries.

I’ve a couple posts brewing that I’ll get up here in between surgery and Halloween updates.  I’ll start with this one.

Another shameless pitch…

I came across these products at the little bookstore/sundries store at the airport during this trip.  I bought them for meals while I was working, since I stayed in a hotel with no fridge or microwave.

For about $7 (airport prices) these little meals were organic, well-balanced and sensibly-sized.  The meal on the left is gluten-free: tuna salad, rice crackers, applesauce and dark chocolate.  The meal on the right is salami, processed asiago cheese spread, crackers and trail mix.

These GoPicnic meals are shelf-stable and fit nicely in my backpack for when I went to work.  Each of the meals weren’t more than 350 calories.  The clerk at the airport shop told me that the salami meal could go through security, but the tuna meal couldn’t because of the larger container of applesauce.  This particular airport store was on the ticketing-side of security.

When you open up the box, you’re greeted with individually wrapped parts, and a very fun box:

These were the contents of the meal pictured on the right above.
Fun nutrition facts.
Fun food facts.  I love that peanut butter statistic!
I loved the Sudoku puzzle at the bottom of the box.  I saved it for several days thinking I might have time to work on it, but I didn’t…

The final verdict?  I liked everything except for the trail mixes that were included with each of the meals.  The nuts seemed soft, probably because of the lack of preservatives (which is a good thing).  All of the ingredients are top quality, with no artificial flavors, colors, high-fructose corn syrup, trans-fats or MSG!

If you see them at your local airport, I recommend them!

16. October 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
Dave Navarro, me, Perry Farrell, Steve Perkins, & Chris Chaney.

I’ve seen other friends do it — they post pictures on Facebook of celebrities they’ve seen at airports, or on their flights, or at a store.  The pictures are taken from afar, zoomed in, etc.  I have a couple of Michael Franti from this past summer.

This time, I was waiting this morning for the Pensacola-to-Atlanta leg of my trip for my next AF Reserves trip.  The girl at the Delta counter checking me in said that I had just missed the members of Jane’s Addiction checking in ahead of me, and that I’d be able to see them upstairs.  I was excited; I’ve always enjoyed their music, although I’m not like a super-fan or anything.  I have a few songs on my iTunes library, including a wonderful live version of “Jane Says” with extra steel drums 🙂

Eventually they came in as a group into the gate waiting area, and I guess they looked incognito enough that only one other person walked up to them for pictures.  None of them were in makeup, which makes a BIG difference.  After that individual finished, I walked right up to them to say “Hello” and eventually ask for a picture.  I was in uniform, and wondered if they were going to treat me funny because of it.

I said “Hello” and Dave Navarro immediately picked on my camouflage uniform, claiming for about a minute that he heard a voice, but couldn’t see anything.  After a few minutes of dialogue about the De Luna Fest concert they played last night, and some inquiries about what I did for the Air Force, we posed for this picture.  The band members (and their managers) were all VERY VERY nice and it was a pleasure talking to them.  They all thanked me for my service (which I always feel funny about hearing from folks).

Well, that was fun, and I’m now back in reality, sitting in the USO in Atlanta Airport among dozens of tired soldiers and Marines getting ready to head back to Afghanistan.

15. October 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

I took these pictures while on a run on Wednesday morning.  I need to learn more about some of these flowers, but these are around a stop sign on a nearby street corner.

I took these with my iPhone camera, and several of the pictures were zoomed in and didn’t turn out so well.


Morning glories climbing up the stop sign…the first ones I’d seen all season.  I’m sure they’re around, I hadn’t paid attention, though.

Not sure what these are, if anyone has any ideas, please feel free to comment.

A gulf fritillary butterfly.  They’re everywhere around here right now…so pretty.

12. October 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

This past weekend our family headed to the Spanish Trail Scout Reservation near Defuniak Springs and had a weekend campout.

The scout council here calls it “Cub Scout Family Camp” and it’s a great weekend.  Three weekends in October were made available expressly for Cub Scout-friendly activities.  Any Cub Scout families could register for any of the weekends they wanted, but our pack in Navarre elected to go as a group to the Columbus Day weekend event.

Last spring I had to leave the camping one evening early so I could run that half marathon, but this time I got to enjoy the Saturday night bonfire and skit show.  What fun!!!

I made a cherry-dark chocolate dump cake (similar to this recipe that I did back in June, but with “dark chocolate” cake mix) on Friday night and was a hit with the families in Jacob’s den.

Jacob took a fall from the stack of palettes sitting behind our campsite (you’ll see them pictured below).  A group of boys was playing and too many boys ended up on the palettes and Jacob fell into our camp chairs.  There are suspicions that he was pushed, but no one saw for sure so there’s little we can do about that.  He got bruised up, but we had the doctor check him out earlier this week just for good measure.  All is well.

The members of our pack who came on the Saturday morning group hike.  Jacob’s on the far left, Timmy’s in orange.

There’s a “monkey bridge” across a creek.  Miss Chris (one of the den leaders) is in the water playing spotter.

I’m so glad neither boy fell into the water…although Timmy dunked his shoes into the water later on after crossing the bridge.  He had some closed-toe Keen sandals that he wore the rest of the weekend.

At the BB Gun range.

Dave helping Timmy.

Timmy was able to earn his BB Gun belt loop this past weekend (and Archery too!)

Timmy with some other Tiger Scouts (and a soon-to-be Tiger).

Dave making dinner.  We’re glad we brought the shelter, it did sprinkle on us some Saturday night. Note the palettes stacked behind us (they’re for Boy Scout summer camp).  Note the kid standing on them on the left right.  Note the Dad with the laptop — listening to the Virginia Tech game (it was a SQUEAKER!)

Getting ready for the evening skit.

Nice photobomb, Timmy!

Fried potatoes and onions — can’t go wrong there!

I made tacos for Saturday evening dinner.  I never thought to do it on a campout before, but it’s amazingly easy — all you have to cook is the ground beef!

This is the evening bonfire, the kids are dancing around it.

My only glimpse of Timmy — and my phone’s battery died after that.  Not bad…it stayed alive for about 40 hours.
11. October 2011 · Comments Off on Glitch: Where Webkinz Meets Dr. Seuss in The Shire! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

The GeekMoms drew me into this new world of video gaming: the MMORPG.

“The WHAT?”

I know, many of my readers (hi Mom and Dad!) may not have heard that term, so allow me to educate you.  MMORPG = Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.

A couple fellow GeekMoms got to be alpha- and beta-testers for this new game called Glitch.  It went public on September 27th, and is amazingly addictive!  If you know a player, you can get in pretty quickly, but if not, it’s about a 48-hour wait for the official invitation once you give them your e-mail address.

Once you’re in, you choose your avatar, undergo a little keyboard/mouse-ology on how to navigate the Glitch-world, and then you’re set out into the wild.

Like Webkinz, you’re responsible for the care and feeding of your avatar (grow/buy food, earn money, make a living, get educated, get a house, etc.), and the visuals are similar to an elaborate Dr. Seuss novel!

I set up two accounts, one is my own avatar, and the other is one that the boys can use (I control the login and password, of course!)

Here’s my Glitch window from this morning.  Impressive that this is all web-based, so I can play from anywhere (dangerous!).  I’m standing in the center of the space, with my dusty-rose colored hair and all.  My name is “Scruffette” (Jacob’s idea), and you can see here that I’m chatting with fellow GeekMom “ChaosMandy” in a window on the right.  she was giving me some help with how to earn enough money to buy a house.

Check out GeekMom Lissa’s review of the game, she was a beta-tester and is now on level 10,000 or something like that now….

06. October 2011 · Comments Off on Our Beyblades Adventure · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
Those happy kids are creeping me out.

It all started with a neighbor’s birthday party…not long after we moved here.  One of Jacob’s new Cub Scout den-mates invited both Jacob and Timmy to his birthday party.  It was a Beyblades tournament.

Our sons weren’t familiar with Beyblades at the time, I had sent a starter kit as a gift to my college roommate Megan’s son for his birthday late last year, but that was direct through Amazon, and none of us were familiar otherwise.

After the birthday party, our boys were hooked.  Similar to Cars, Bakugon, Pokemon, etc., each individual toy was inexpensive, but once your kids start learning about all the toys that could be acquired, they began to ask for more and more Beyblades.

Six months later, I was watching our boys play Beyblades in one of their stadiums, and they were discussing “balance”, “stability” and “agility”.  It got me thinking about physics.  In July on a trip to the planetarium, they boys realized how many of their Beyblades are named after characters in mythology (Pegasus) and astrology (Libra).

This led to a blog post for GeekMom.  You can read it here.

About 6 weeks later, I received an e-mail from a representative at Hasbro, asking if we’d like to “sample” their Fall 2011 Beyblades product line.  From what I saw in the e-mail, they were offering us $65 worth of products, free of charge, if we would check it out and I’d write up a follow up for GeekMom.

The box arrived in late September, the boys played with it for about 10 days and they (by “they” I mean “Timmy”) gave me some very detailed feedback.  Here is the follow up blog post reviewing the products.

Jacob showing off the interchangeable plates for the “Triple Battle Stadium”.

Timmy took his newest Beyblades to his after-school child care today (I’m in the midst of hiring a bookkeeper for the base Thrift Shop and we had interviews this afternoon) and the lead provider asked me at pick up time where Timmy got the Tornado Beyblade he had.  She said the other little boys who were playing with Timmy were admiring it and planning to ask their parents for one.  I had to explain that it came from Hasbro for our review and should be in stores really soon.

These Beyblade XTS Tornado battlers should be in stores by now.  You CANNOT take these ones apart, which makes them less-authentic, apparently.

02. October 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Wanna know a secret?  I came in the Air Force about a year before my husband did.  Many of you know this, but many of you don’t.

Because I had switched to the AF reserves in 2005, the timing for competing for promotions became very different for the two of us.  So even though up till now I promoted to each of my ranks about a year before Dave did, he competed for and made Lieutenant Colonel about a year before me.  So he officially now outranks me 🙂

Only 13 months after his notification, last Friday Dave finally got to have his long-awaited pin-on ceremony at the Hurlburt Field Memorial Air Park.  A cold front had just come through and even though the temperatures were a bit warm, the humidity was nice and low.

Enjoy some pictures from Dave’s special day.  I didn’t take that many.  We’re hoping to get the pictures that one of his Airmen took during the event.  Then you’ll see more of the kids and me….but this was Dave’s day, so enjoy pictures of him 🙂

The event was held at the base’s Memorial Airpark, which as you can see is an outdoor venue.  The weather was nearly perfect!

The boys were tickled to see their names posted on the chairs.
I snuck in a picture during the oath, although I should have just been standing nicely during the ceremony.  Dave’s commander flew down from Offutt AFB for the occasion.
The cake will get a blog post of its own.