March 2004

I’m really liking my new (a month or so old) haircut. I know Tj prefers my hair shorter, but I really think this is the haircut for me. I asked him how he liked it yesterday right after I finished blow drying it. After a moment or two he said that it looked a little bit messy, was I finished fixing it? I looked again and assured him that that was how I was going to wear it…without hesitation he said that he loved it and literally ran away. I laughed so hard…we women can sometimes be too hard on the boys, huh?

Earlier in the day yesterday he came to ask me what I thought about going to London for the Easter holiday. What else could I think but that that’s a wonderful idea? We’d been thinking/planning on going somewhere here in Spain…most likely within driving distance. I didn’t know it but the last several days he’d been researching cheap tickets online. He thought about Prague, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Istanbul…etc.! But London had the cheapest fares. We spent a weekend there recently and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves…I’m excited about going again. We’ll leave next Monday and return Sunday. I’ve been researching places to visit while we’re there. We also booked tickets to ‘Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’. I called Jo today and mentioned that and she said she was jealous. She and Mom have been to see it recently, though. I know we’re gonna have fun.

While on the phone to Jo she told me that Kel just had a miscarriage. I’m so sad for her. I know she wasn’t planning on this baby, but after this long (a month and a half) that’s gotta be hard to take. I hope she’ll be ok.

I think we just passed the midcycle mark; our first two-week wait is here. Tj asked me the other day if I feel pregnant, of course I don’t. Being as sentimental as I am I would love to be able to say I knew the moment I became pregnant; but I’m a pretty practical person at times as well. I know I’ll probably have no idea when I get pregnant, but I’m sure I could manufacture plenty of symptoms in a heartbeat. I’m still doing a good job of remaining calm about the whole process…despite any comments to the contrary by Tj.

That is such an accurate title for me. I just thought I struggled for words in the English language, now I can do it in both!

Last Tuesday when Teresa was here I was asking her about ferias…what are they? She described the two main kinds: one is the little kid’s park with rides, and the other is the exhibition (cars, horses, etc.). When the feria with rides is for adults, with the larger rides, you call it a ‘parque de atracciones’. Then she asked me what you call that in English. The only thing I could think of was attraction park. I knew I was close, but that that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to say. The more I thought about it the farther the word was from my memory…just like when you can’t think of that actor’s name, or the song that’s on the tip of your tongue. I told her I would ask Tj when he got home.

Later, after he’d been home for an half hour or so I remembered the question; I asked him “How do you say ‘amusement par’….and right about there I realized that that’s how you say it! Isn’t that one of the most annoying things? When you know you know it, but you can’t bring it to mind right when you need it!?


One of the wonderful things about that Thanksgiving post/meal is how satisfying it is that my little family has its own traditions! I feel like such a grown-up ! Those are the very foods we had at our last two Thanksgivings (except for the beans…I think we had corn, but I digress). Lately, these last several months, I’ve been thinking about traditions…we had a few when I was growing up. I’ve always been the sentimental type (overly so at times), and I’ve enjoyed sharing with Tj the little things we used to do. Macaroni and cheese was almost always accompanied by tuna fish sandwiches. Don’t drink tea or eat gumbo the first day it’s made; it’s sooo much better the second day, and even better the next! Potato salad is best warm…right after it’s made…eat it all up and make another batch for the guests. When you buy warm french bread you have to eat at least the end in the car on the way home; crumbs be damned! That’s all I’m coming up with right now, but we have so many more (some of those don’t even include food!). I’m really looking forward to making new traditions or following the old ones in my new family. Some I want to add: a special breakfast on Christmas morning, always having Christmas stockings (my mother made us beautiful stockings to hang on the mantle, but we could never put anything in them), having friends over often (another thing we seldom did), teaching my kids to cook, cooking with Tj. I’m always so excited when I think about our family in the years to come. I love the change that moving around with the Air Force provides; I love the stability that living with someone I love so much provides. I really have so much to be thankful for.

What a dreary week it’s been here! Outside, at least; inside it’s been busy as heck. Especially these last few days. Thursday Tj had nothing to do at work until 3rd period, so he came home early and cooked with me. He made three pie crusts, two pecan pies, a pumpkin pie and a chocolate pie. I prepared a broccoli-cheese-rice casserole, cut up some onions for various recipes, boiled potatoes for stink potatoes (more on that disaster later), baked sweet potatoes for a casserole and baked bread for crockpot stuffing.

Teresa came by at 11 for our lessons. After she left I read message boards a little bit and then Tj came home for the day. We had our riding lesson that afternoon…by the time we got back I was too tired to do more…I vegged out in front of my new Felicity DVD’s.

Friday morning I got up with Tj and immediately started working on the crockpot stuffing. Then I made the sweet potato casserole. The stink potatoes gave me so much trouble, though. Last Thanksgiving I boiled the potatoes, then took the skins off. Then I added the cheese and sour cream and started mashing them. They were so sticky that the potatoes were working their way up the beaters into the mixer. The worst part of this story is that about 6 weeks later I kept smelling something horrible in the cabinets…it took me the longest time to figure out what it was. That 1/4 teaspoon of potatoes that worked its way into the mixer molded and grew to gigantic proportions. I finally had to take the mixer apart and clean the inside…wiped it all down with alcohol. Man, rotten potatoes are the worst, aren’t they? Anyway…back to the extremely sticky potatoes…I thought that perhaps the problem with the potatoes last year was that I put the cheese in too early, so this time I mashed the potatoes by themselves. No luck; apparently this type of potato is just sticky when mashed. Since I didn’t want the guys eating potatoes the consistency of glue I found a box of potato flakes the cadets gave me when they left and made those up. Unfortunately those were pretty thin. I considered mixing the two together, but decided since time was getting short to just serve the boxed potatoes.

Around about then I started rooting through the pantry for the green beans. I’d planned on serving Mom’s recipe; but wouldn’t you know that I had neglected to double check to see if I had enough! I had one can, but really needed three. Tj called then and I asked him if he was going to be leaving the base so he could bring me some, but he thought he’d be staying at work. I decided to serve lima beans with rotel instead. Not half an hour later he called to say he had to run to the store to pick up the oil for the turkeys, did I still need the beans? Fortunately I hadn’t opened the limas (I really wanted those myself ). When Tj and Antonio came by the house to bring me the beans Tj asked if anything was ready for him to take. He took the pies, and then I told him he could take the stuffing. I needed to cook until 12:30, but it could cook just as well there as here. Of course (wouldn’t you know) he got to the base and realized then that the transformer he brought wasn’t big enough to power the crockpot. He had started the oil to heating so he sent Antonio back with the crockpot.

After getting the beans going I cut up the cranberry sauce (that poor can has been in and out of the refrigerator twice…we’ve forgotten to serve it the last two Thanksgivings!). The last thing I did was put the casseroles and the potatoes back into the oven to warm, and put 40 (canned) biscuits on to bake.

Fran came by to pick up all of the food at 12:30; and, unbelievable as it may seem, I think it was all ready! Tj came back home around 3:30…the fried turkey was the first thing to be consumed, and the sweet potato casserole was the next…everyone raved about it! The green beans and stink potatoes didn’t go over quite as well, but they were about half eaten. Ernesto loved the cranberry sauce (funny thing about that…they use the same word for cranberries and blueberries here), I don’t think you can buy cranberries here. The stuffing was practically gone, too; Tj said all the guys liked that. And the broccoli casserole was wiped out. All in all it was a success. Yea!

Man, I’ve been needing to write for the longest…gotta catch up!

We had a good trip out to Rota. I drove four hours there, and Tj drove the remaining two; he drove all the way back, though! The trip itself wasn’t bad; not too long. The only thing even half-way exciting during our weekend was when we got locked out of our room! We’d picked up lunch and brought it back to the room and realized our (electronic) door keys didn’t work. At first we thought the base got our check-out date wrong. We drove (at the horribly slow on-base limit of 25 mph) to the air terminal to reactivate our keys. The lady was apologetic, but I was steaming because our food was getting cold. Got back to the room and wouldn’t you know the keys still didn’t work. The woman had told Tj that we could call the terminal from the lobby phone (the reception desk wasn’t open because it was Saturday). Went downstairs and called at least 20 times and got a busy signal every time. Drove back to the terminal and got a different lady. This one said that as soon as some customer finished his (non-work-related) call she’d call the maintenance man to meet us at our room. What’s up with that???!! She couldn’t ask him to get off the phone for a few minutes while she took care of business? Anyway, we drove back and saw the maintenance man practically at our door. Apparently the battery in the door lock was dead…it only took a second for him to get our door open, and then horror of horrors: I’d put the security lock on and we’d left out of the other door! So even if the electronic lock had been fine we’d have had to call the maintenance man to let us in our room! I felt like such a dope. Fortunately each room has one door with an electronic lock and one door with an old-fashioned key lock, and the maintenance man had the right keys.

When we go to Rota I always bring any old books that I’m getting rid of. This time I had a bunch of books from our Preacher’s wife; and Tj cleaned out his office books. The librarian counted 35 books! They have a 1-to-1 exchange program so I really lucked out. I got an Ann Rule, an Elmore Leonard, a couple of Clancys and more…thirteen in all. I’m looking forward to picking out some more the next time we go. I’m already more than halfway through the Rule…I love her work.

Tj’s been being even sweeter than usual lately…I’m so lucky! Monday I was gone when he came home. By the time I got home he’d folded and put up the load of laundry I had going in the dryer; and then he took care of the second load too. And he cooked supper all three nights this week! I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but I’m gonna have to think up something special to pay him back.

Yesterday at our riding lessons we rode bareback! Cindy says it’ll help us find our balance. It was a little painful, but bearable. I felt pretty wobbly at first, but then she told me to close my eyes and that really helped a lot. She said she’d evaluated both of us, and one of my greatest problems is that I’m generally tense while riding. When I closed my eyes I was able to concentrate on the things that mattered, and shut out all the extraneous. Cindy was in charge of the horse, so all I needed to do was concentrate on balancing. It was actually easier to ride that way. She said Tj needed to work on his posture, but that mine was great. Tj’s strong point is that he’s just generally more confident. I’m such a worrier…I need to work on that.

We’re having Thanksgiving again this Friday. Well, at least Tj is. He’s been wanting to do something for the guys at work, and has decided to give them a little taste of American cooking. We should have shot up the turkeys (with marinade) hours ago, but Tj’s installing a new version of Mandrake on his computer now…who knows when we’ll get to them, and then to bed. Tomorrow I’m hoping to prepare all of the food, and then cook it all Friday morning. At 1:30 or so Friday Fran’s supposed to come by the house to pick up all the hot food. We’ll see how well my plan works.

Wow, that’s not nearly as long as I expected it to be after almost a whole week.