Monday, December 31, 2012

Honey chicken - in the crock or the oven

We're way too impatient to wait, so we use the oven...

3/4 pound chicken
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup ketchup
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced

Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, put into crock pot. In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, ketchup, oil, and garlic. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3 hours or on high 1 1/2 hours. Cut chicken into bite size pieces, then return to pot and toss with sauce. Serve over rice.

To bake chicken as a 30 minute meal:
Dice chicken and season both sides with salt and pepper, place in 8x8 pan. Pour sauce over chicken and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.

We usually serve with steamed broccoli.  The sauce is yummy on it.


Easy peasy lemon squeezy, only without the lemon

Stick a pork tenderloin in the crock pot and cover with root beer.  Once the meat falls apart, pour out the soda and pour in your favorite BBQ sauce.  Heat until hot, then serve topped with provolone cheese on soft rolls.  It's messy eating, but super tasty.


Pizza bites - but ours aren't nearly as pretty as the picture

1 roll refrigerated pizza dough
Brick of mozz - cubed
Pizza toppings, whatever floats your boat
Cooking spray
Garlic bread sprinkle

Preheat the oven according to the dough directions.  Lay out the dough; use a pizza cutter to cut into squares (24, give or take).  Place your toppings on each square and top with a cube of mozzarella.  Wrap the corners of the dough around the toppings.  One dough fills a 9” pie pan – put the ends side down.  Spray the top and sprinkle generously.  Bake for as long as the dough tube says (keep an eye on them).  Eat ‘em while they’re hot.  Dip in pizza sauce if you want.


Chicken and rice soup

It's soooo good.  Crunch up some saltines and toss 'em in.  Oh man!  This barely fits in my crock pot, so I usually cut back a little on the water.

4 1/2 cups chicken broth
1.5 cups water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package of Uncle Sam's long grain and wild rice 
1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half 
1 cup diced carrots

Combine broth, water, carrots, chicken and rice (along with seasoning packet) in a large slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours. Take out chicken and shred with two forks and then add back into slow cooker. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour mixture by tablespoon to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Stir cream mixture into slow cooker and then let cook on low for 15 more minutes.


Cashew Chicken, without the green onions

I don't do green onions.  Or any onions for that matter.  I do like Burger King's onion rings, though.  Not convinced there's anything that ever resembled an onion in those things, so maybe that's why I like 'em.

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, chopped
8 cloves garlic
1 cup cashews
4 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons corn starch
3/4 water or chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
steamed white rice
1. Cook white rice according to package directions. Preheat large skillet or wok over low heat. Add olive oil, garlic and cashews to skillet. Saute over low heat until garlic becomes golden, but don't let the garlic brown, or it will become bitter.
2. Salt and pepper chicken. Add chicken to skillet and cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add cornstarch to a small bowl with the water and mix well. Add cornstarch and water to chicken. Then add hoisin sauce and vinegar. Simmer for 5 - 10 minutes, until sauce has thickened. Serve with rice.

Bacon Cheeseburger Chicken

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, split
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 lb bacon (or bacon bits)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large skillet, heat oil & butter over medium-high heat.  Add chicken breasts, and sauté 4 to 5 minutes each side, until lightly browned.  Place browned chicken breasts in a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Cover with teriyaki sauce and dressing.  Sprinkle with cheese and top with bacon bits.  Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

For as long as it lasts, here's where I got it.

Meatballs! And a lesson...

We're making our favorite super easy crock pot meatballs for dinner tonight.  I went to pull up the recipe from my Recipe Keepers Pinterest board, and the link was broken.  *despair*

Fortunately, I was able to find it - someone else pinned it and included the recipe with the photo.  Whew!!

So, to make sure it doesn't happen to more favorite recipes in the future, I'm going to bring 'em over to here over the next few days...

14 oz ketchup
1 c brown sugar
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t garlic
1 T Worcestershire sauce
a few dashes of soy sauce
1 bag frozen meatballs

Dump it all into the crockpot and cook until hot.  Doesn't get much easier than that!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Achalasia update

I last posted on this about a year ago.

Things are... ok.  I'll never be normal again, and I'm starting to think I'll never eat a meal without problems again.  That being said, it's not bad.  As long as I don't try to eat without a drink, it's fine.  Try to eat even something as slippery as mac & cheese without a drink, though, and it sticks.

I did go to Cleveland Clinic.  Had all the tests, even the dreaded manometry, again.  The GI doc did a dilation during the EGD, but it didn't seem to help.  Still, I'm glad to know my esophagus isn't getting stretched out.  I was prescribed Prilosec for a while to heal some erosions.  I made sure to take the meds longer than he said to (but still far less than the refills he included) to make sure everything was good and healed.  I'll probably just make sure to go in once or twice a year for a look-see, and hope things stay as they are...

It won't get better, but I'd really like to not get worse.

Or, we could live down south...

Someone brought up another option - since the traffic from Schofield to Tripler is HORRIBLE, we could instead live near Tripler and have Darrell do the commute to Schofield.  Yes, the distance is the same, but the traffic flow is not.  It'd be about 30 minutes for him, similar to what I have now.  I've been hearing stories of 60-90 minutes for me.  *shudder*

I've asked to join a Facebook page for spouses that live in the IPC South neighborhoods to gather information.  Hopefully I'll be accepted soon.  Until then, I've been scouring the net for possibilities.

From what I've been able to find, the neighborhoods in the IPC South area all have the new floorplan (all fairly similar to this).  We could also apply to live in Air Force or Navy housing (Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam).  From what I know at this point, I prefer the Ft Shafter, Red Hill/Rim Loop, or Tripler housing - mainly for the high school.

We've already been talking with a lady at the housing office for IPC North, so I think we'll have to decide pretty soon.  From what I understand, we're not allowed to be on the waiting list for both, although we can get added to the other services' lists at the same time (but we'll be a lower priority since we're Army).

Forty-eight days until departure.  Fifty-nine until arrival.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Housing options - it's a win/win

We're hoping to live on post.  From what I understand, we have two basic options - either an older remodeled duplex with a bit more space between buildings and more centrally located on post, or an almost new fourplex that's more tightly packed and not as centrally located but has more modern floor plan.  There are more floor plans than these, but I believe they're fairly representative of our options.

Newer style:

Older style:

We've requested the older style, but in all actuality our request means nothing.  We'll get what we get, and we won't throw a fit.  Either way, I'm okay with it.  The older homes are zoned for the elementary school I prefer and I'd rather have a bit more elbow room between us and our neighbors, but I like the kitchen and master bedroom better in the newer floor plan.  Nothing to do but wait to see what we're offered...

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Your application status has been updated for the following opportunity(ies) in USAJOBS. For additional information, log in to USAJOBS.

Control Number: 329665100
Department: Department of the Army
Agency: U.S. Army Medical Command
Job Title: Secretary
Series: GS-318
Announcement #: WTEW12168611773765D
Status: Selected

Monday, December 10, 2012

Super yummy orange cake

1 box yellow cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 can (29 oz) mandarin orange segments, drained (reserve 1/3 cup liquid)
4 eggs
1 box (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix
½ to 1 teaspoon orange extract
1 tub frozen (thawed) whipped topping

1.  Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease or lightly spray pan bottom only.  I use two 9” round pans.
2.  In large bowl, beat cake mix, oil, 1/3rd of the orange segments, reserved 1/3 cup orange liquid, and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes.  Pour into pan.
3.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
4.  To make frosting, stir together remaining orange segments, dry pudding mix and orange extract. Gently stir in whipped topping. Spread on cake. Store tightly covered in refrigerator.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Free Kindle books - list of blogs

I love to read.  I love my Kindle.  And until I started running across blogs filled with free books, I spent a lot of money.  Now, however, almost everything I read is free.  Sure, many of what I read is the first book of a series, and occasionally I enjoy book #1 enough to buy the rest of them.  I'm okay with that - Amazon and the authors won't keep writing and publishing if the readers don't spend money.  I'm willing to do my part.  I have hundreds of books on my Kindle that I haven't read yet, but I still check every day or three for new ones.  What if I miss something awesome?  Can't help myself...  I'll be totally set for the drive to California!

Here are the blogs I check regularly:

eReader News Today
Pixel of Ink
Free Kindle Books and Tips
Hundred Zeros

And others that I've found, but haven't added to my rounds (yet):
eBooks Habit
Kindle Book List

The position I interviewed for

The interview was a couple of weeks ago.  They said they'd be willing to wait for me if I'm selected for the position.  I've heard nothing.  At the same time, I was referred to the selection official for another similar position, supporting the Deputy Commander for Nursing.  They weren't willing to wait for that position, and I've already received the notice that someone else was selected.  Nothing to do now but wait, and continue to apply for others.

Job Title: Secretary (Office Automation)
Department: Department of the Army
Agency: U.S. Army Medical Command 

OPEN PERIOD: Thursday, October 25, 2012 to Wednesday, November 07, 2012
SERIES & GRADE: GS-0318-07
POSITION INFORMATION: Full Time - Permanent 

DUTY LOCATIONS:  1 vacancy in the following location:
Tripler Army Medical Center, HI United States 

WHO MAY BE CONSIDERED: United States Citizens

About the Position: This position is located in HQ Tripler Army Medical Center, Office of the Commander.
- Salary includes applicable locality pay or adjustment.
- Currently authorized 12.25% Cost of Living Allowance; COLA is always subject to change without advance notice.
- Permanent change of station (PCS) expenses (i.e., travel and moving expenses) are not authorized.
- Defense National Relocation Program will not be authorized.
- Immunization screening will be required.
- Must be able to obtain and maintain a SECRET security clearance. 

Who May Apply: US Citizens

Must be able to obtain and maintain a SECRET security clearance.
Immunization screening required.
Qualified typist is required (minimum of 40 wpm)
- Serve as Secretary and principal clerical assistant to the Chief of Staff/Deputy Commander for Clinical Services, Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC).
- Receive telephone calls and visitors; respond to those inquiries which can be answered; refer calls on technical or policy matters to supervisors or subordinate staff members.
- Maintain supervisor's activities calendar; schedule appointments and conferences, providing briefs on matters to be considered prior to scheduled meetings; makes travel arrangements as needed.
- Compose and review correspondence; review all incoming mail including correspondence, reports, memoranda, hospital regulations, inspection reports, and other material related to the management of the hospital.   From brief verbal instructions or guidance, compose correspondence.   Maintain control records of incoming correspondence and action documents to ensure timely action in accordance with established requirements and deadlines.
- Obtain and present information, such as material for use in writing correspondence, reviewing actions, programming and planning, preparing for conferences, etc.   Assemble or summarize information for supervisor's convenience.
- Maintain files and records on health care administrative residents receiving training in the hospital.   Record and transcribe minutes for weekly conferences. Record and transcribe dictation for a variety of material. Establish and maintain subject matter and all other files, including personal and confidential files.
- Use word processing software and printing equipment to create, copy, edit, store, retrieve, and print a variety of standardized documents.
-- A qualified typist is required.
Specialized experience: To Qualify applicants must possess one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade/level (GS-6).  Specialized experience is defined as experience in performing all of the following:  administrative duties for an office; maintaining appointments and schedules; compiling information and files; and preparing correspondence and other documents.
You will be evaluated on the basis of your level of competency (knowledge, skills, abilities)in the following areas:
Skill in office administration procedures.
Skill in preparing and maintaining office documents and forms.
Skill in compiling and summarizing information.
Skill in using various automated software programs (e.g., Word, Powerpoint, Excel).
Oral Communication.

Oh my gosh, $10 million for me?!


This is to inform you that your payment of USD 10 Million Dollars from the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been released and ready to be paid to your via ATM VISA CARD. GET BACK TO US FOR MORE DETAILSFBI

Sent from: Robert Muller  

Army life on Oahu - where to live?

We've never lived there (although I've visited Hawaii twice), but I've been very fortunate to gather intel from others who have been there and done that.  I found an incredible message board, filled with military spouses who are living in Hawaii now or in the past, plus there are a few Facebook groups that have helped answer some specific questions.  They've given me tons of good advice (especially Karen!), and I've filled a OneNote notebook with information about everything I can think of.

First, the good news.

* The government knows it's much more expensive to live on Oahu than rural Pennsylvania, so we'll get more allowances to help cover costs.  The housing allowance is more than twice as much as we get here, plus there's the cost-of-living-allowance (COLA) that we'll receive.  In addition, whatever job I'm able to get also has a higher "locality" pay than most of the rest of the country, and also comes with a COLA.  Since my income isn't needed to pay living expenses, the higher locality and COLA amounts will help pay off car payments and such much faster.  Looking forward to that!

* I don't understand why, but we're allowed to receive our housing allowance at the same time we're paid temporary lodging expenses living in the hotel.  While we're living in the hotel, we'll be able to bank a significant amount of money!  That'll come in handy, especially since we're shipping our second car and the dogs on our own (and yes, it's probably more expensive than you're imagining).  The hotel time is not unlimited, however.  If the housing office doesn't foresee houses becoming available for us in the near future after our arrival, we won't have the option of living on-post.

Then the bad news.

* The waiting lists for on-post housing are long and complicated.  I'm not convinced that anyone, even the people that work in the housing office, know exactly how families are chosen for houses that come open.  *laugh*  There's a priority list, and rules about family size and number of bedrooms, but reading others' stories about how many kids they have, and how long they've been waiting, and all the rest of the details, just makes no sense to me.  We're allowed a three bedroom house.  As a Master Sergeant, there are certain neighborhoods they'll place us.  After that, we wait until it's our turn and they offer us a place.  If I understand correctly, we're allowed to turn down one offer and remain on the list.  If we turn down the second offer, we're on our own to find a place off-post.  More on that below.

* Only some of the neighborhoods we're approved to live in are zoned for the same schools as the hotel we'll be living in when we get there.  This means that if we move into a house in a different neighborhood, Kaden will have to change schools, only weeks or months after we get there.  I'm not thrilled about this idea, and I know some families have chosen to hold their kids out of school until they know where they'll be living to avoid this problem.  I don't like that idea either.  The neighborhood I want to live in is zoned for the same elementary school as the hotel, so we plan to start the boys in school soon after we get there and hope for the best.  Justin's middle school is the same for any of the neighborhoods we might live in, so he won't be affected unless we end up having to live off-post.

* We have three pets.  If we live on-post, we're only allowed two.  If we live off-post, we'll be limited to houses that allow both cats (Mo) and big dogs (Tank, a 75 lb lab, and Dozer, a 55 lb boxer).  Many houses don't allow pets at all.  Many don't allow cats.  Many don't allow dogs, let alone two big dogs.  Since we're hoping to live on-post, we asked Darrell's mom if she'd be willing to take in Mo.  She said yes, thankfully.  I think Mo will like her house better anyway, as Tank is way too interested in her.  So, we have "only" the two dogs to worry about.  Looking at potential rental houses, most that do allow pets either allow only small dogs (under 20 pounds), or only one, or only outdoors, or other limitations that don't work for us.  If we end up needing to look off post, I think we'll find it extremely challenging to find someone to rent to a family with two large 50+ pound indoor/outdoor dogs.  There are many school districts I'm not willing to live in, which limits our options drastically.

* If, as stated above, the housing office says we're out of luck waiting to live on-post, we'll have to find a place off-post.  We have to turn in a list of places we've looked at, and reasons why they won't work, every ten days to continue to receive the temporary lodging expenses.  No pressure!!  And, we're limited on what those elimination reasons can be.  While we can certainly turn down a place because we don't like it, that's not an acceptable reason for the list.  Bad schools?  Not an acceptable reason.  They don't allow pets?  Not an acceptable reason.  Only one bathroom?  Not an acceptable reason.  And of course, there's no list of acceptable reasons supplied to us - just reasons we're not allowed to use.  I'm really (really!!) hoping this never comes to pass.  There are only a couple of places I'm willing to live in (good schools) and the rental market is tough in those places.  While our housing allowance is fairly high due to Darrell's rank, we still have the dogs to worry about.  This has the potential to be stressful.

So, here's hoping we will be offered a place on-post, and in the neighborhood I want!!  And quickly, but not too quickly, as I'd love to save up some of that extra money!!  =)

OCONUS PCS from an ROTC gig

Apparently not too many people move from an ROTC position to an overseas assignment.  We've been running into challenges through the entire process.  I'm not complaining about specific people as almost everyone has been super helpful.  It's just that no one really seems to know exactly what needs to be done and who we're supposed to contact to take care of things.

Normally, a PCSing servicemember lives on or near a military installation with all the offices needed.  This is not our situation.  We live outside Erie, PA.  Our closest military installation is Ft. Drum in upstate New York.  Driving there to handle simple paperwork is not preferred.  Darrell's brigade is at Ft. Dix, New Jersey, and Cadet Command is in Ft. Knox, Kentucky.

Usually, Darrell would attend a levy briefing that brings all of the people to one location to explain what needs to happen, the paperwork that needs to be submitted, and which offices the paperwork needs to be submitted to.  Darrell didn't get a levy briefing.

Each step of the way has been extremely frustrating.  Darrell has literally spent hours on the phone, just looking for the name and phone number for the person he needs to talk to.  Examples:

* Exceptional Family Member Program - the Army doesn't want to send dependents to a place that cannot support physical, mental, or educational needs.  Therefore, all dependents must be screened by an EFMP coordinator.  We all went to the doctor and got physicals, filled out some other paperwork, and faxed everything to the EFMP office at Ft. Drum.  They looked it over to make sure it was completed correctly, and sent it to an office on Oahu.  Since none of us need to be enrolled in the program, the approval came back quickly.  This allowed our names to be included on his PCS orders.

* Once we received the orders (which of course required more paperwork to be filled out and sent to his brigade who forwarded it to Cadet Command to actually publish them), we were able to start the household goods moving process.  This is now handled almost completely on  However, before you can get started, you have to create an account and get log-in information.  But before I could do that, I had to get my laptop set up to use a card reader.  That was probably the easiest step in the process.  Once we were able to log in, I had to contact their help desk to find out why it wasn't working.  Ah, my pop-up blocker was on.  Why didn't they say that might be a problem?  Ok, fixed that, and ah, there's the screen we need.  Filled in all the info, selected the appropriate Ft. Dix office to approve everything, and submitted.  Only, wait - they want us to go through Carlisle Barracks?  That wasn't a choice.  Another few hours on the phone, and Darrell finally gets a name and phone number to someone that listens to our situation and agrees to help us find the right place to send this stuff.  Ok, great, there's the right fax number.  Signed and sent.  Sweet.  Still need to verify that the dates we've selected for pack-up and pick-up have been accepted.

* Now we need to move US.  The dogs are on our dime, so I won't get into that for now.  What the Army would prefer we do is drive our POV (privately owned vehicle) to the nearest Vehicle Processing Center and then fly from the nearest airport to that VPC.  Only that's not what we want to do.  I haven't seen my California family in a very long time, and since they're in the right direction, and because we want to ship our second POV as inexpensively as possible, we're going to be driving across the country to California, visiting people for a few days, and shipping the Rav4 from the west coast.  We're in luck, there's a company that ships from Oakland, great!  We happily make plans to ship the car and fly us out of Oakland.  Only wait - the Army can't fly us from Oakland because there's no Government VPC there.  Urgh.  They want us to fly from LA or San Diego.  Not interested in that, thanks.  It's about the same cost to fly the four of us from OAK to LAX as it is to drive down there, plus two nights at a hotel (because we'd need to drop the car off at the shippers, and there's no way to guarantee we could fly the same day as dropping off the car), yada yada.  So, we'll ship the car from OAK (we're paying for this one, so we can ship it from wherever we want), fly from OAK to LAX, get our bags from baggage claim, drop them off at the desk, go through security again, and then fly from LAX to HNL.  Yeah, that'll be fun.  The finance folks on this end are saying it'll almost all be on us to pay for, but I've been assured by many who've already done it that the Hawaii finance folks will cover the drive expenses.  We'll see.  Either way, we're doing it the way we want.

* And that's just the big stuff.  There's been many other this-and-that paperwork, phone calls, emails, waiting, and frustrations involved.  Fortunately, this isn't our first move so we're aware of how it all needs to happen.  I can't imagine having to do an OCONUS PCS right out of training!

Our last winter for years

We were so excited about snow last winter.  We moved to lake effect land and the average snowfall for the area is way more than we're used to.  Here's the data for the last 15 years or so – averaging 165 inches:

1995-1996       200.5 inches
1996-1997       187.5 inches
1997-1998       126.5 inches
1998-1999       150.5 inches
1999-2000       132.5 inches
2000-2001       245.0 inches
2001-2002       114.0 inches
2002-2003       220.0 inches
2003-2004       173.0 inches
2004-2005       169.0 inches
2005-2006       136.0 inches
2006-2007       165.0 inches
2007-2008       130.0 inches
2008-2009       182.0 inches
2009-2010       139.5 inches
2010-2011       150.0 inches

Imagine our excitement!!

But then?  Last year?  94.3 inches.  Yeah.  Better than anywhere else we've lived, but certainly not 165"+, and somehow Darrell was out of town for two of the three decent snowfalls.

So far this year?  1 inch.  With nothing expected the next ten days.  One inch through mid-December??!  What's that about??

We're all hoping to get walloped this winter, as it's our last chance for snow for the next few years...  Be careful what you ask for, people say.  Hell yes, I'm asking for it!  




Once we get there...

Once we get there, we'll pick up the truck from the port (hopefully it'll get there before us - Darrell is driving it to St Louis in late January) and drive to the hotel.  We've reserved two rooms with a shared door - THANK GOODNESS - and we'll be there until we get a house.  We're hoping to live on post, and there's absolutely no way to know how long it'll take.

Darrell will sign in from the airport (required) and I have no idea how quickly he'll go through in-processing.

The hotel is zoned for the same schools as the housing area we want, so the boys will start school within a few days of our arrival.  I think we're good to go on paperwork and immunizations and such.

The dogs will have arrived before we left Pennsylvania and will remain at a kennel until we get a house.  We'll visit often and hope we get a house quickly.  They won't have to stay in quarantine since we've already worked through that process - they'll be released to a pet mover company we've hired to pick them up from the airport and take them to the kennel.

My car should arrive a few weeks after we do.  Our household goods could take as long as two months.  If we're lucky enough to get a house before our stuff gets to the island, Army Community Service has "aloha furniture" we'll borrow in the meantime.  Basic beds, table, couch, dishes - you get the idea.

I've been applying to jobs for weeks now.  I've had one interview so far, but have heard nothing about that position, nor any others I've applied for.  Once we're about 30 days before arrival, I can apply for participation in the Spouse Priority Placement Program (info here).  Hopefully, I won't be too long without a job.

Upcoming move...

We're still waiting for the Army to purchase our tickets from California to Hawaii.  Until that happens, we can't finalize the plan.  For now, though, the draft plan is as follows:

Departure Day-4 - packers box up our stuff
DD-3 - movers pick up our stuff
DD-2 - my last day at work, Darrell cleans the house
DD-1 - the boys' last day at school, Darrell takes the dogs to the airport (not sure which one yet), I observe the packers taking the stuff we're sending to storage, the carpet cleaners take over in the afternoon, and we pass the keys back to the landlord (we're sleeping at a hotel)
DD! - 11 hour drive (not including stops) to St Louis, hoping to get there in time for Pantera's Pizza!
DD+1 - stay the day visiting with family
DD+2 - lunch at HuHot on the way out of town, a six hour drive to Manhattan, and La Fiesta for dinner!
DD+3 - eight hour drive to Colorado Springs
DD+4 - stay the day visiting with family, Elephant Bar for lunch?
DD+5 - 10 hour drive to Salt Lake City
DD+6 - 12 hour drive to Petaluma
DD+7 - stay the day in Petaluma, drive to Suisun City
DD+8 - stay the day in Suisun City, drive to Santa Cruz
DD+9 - stay the day in Santa Cruz, drive to Aromas
DD+10 - drive to OAK, rent a car, drop the Rav4 at the dock, drive back to Aromas
DD+11 - drive to OAK, drop off rental, fly to LAX, fly to Honolulu

The Army won't fly us straight from OAK to HNL, but we sure as heck don't want to drive down to LA after already driving across the country.  So, we'll fly from OAK to LAX on our dime.  Whatever...

It's exhausting just thinking about it.  I'm very much looking forward to visiting with family and friends I haven't seen in a LONG time, but dreading all the miles and hours and sibling bickering, and road food, and unpacking and repacking the car, and....  *sigh*

But then?  We'll be in Hawaii.  Could be worse....

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Tank update

Tank has lost a lot of weight. He started looking like a beer barrel with legs - no hips, no waist, no shoulders... He's down at least 15 pounds, with probably another 10 or so to go. He's our laid back dog. A bit pushy when his dog-brother is getting attention, but otherwise he's as easy as it gets.

Our next duty station

Since Darrell was promoted, he couldn't stay in the position for which we came to Pennsylvania.  Months later, we're on orders to Hawaii.  We leave soon.  Lots left to do, and a long trip ahead of us - but who's complaining?

We're now doing a snow dance.  Last winter was rather disappointing, nothing like we were expecting moving to the snow belt.  Since this will be our last true winter for several years, bring on the snow!!

A two dog family...

On February 25th, we welcomed our latest canine friend into the family.  His name is Dozer and he had a rough life before he came to live with us.

Almost ten months later, he is no longer afraid and hasn't had an accident in the house in about a month.  He's learned how to get our attention to let him out and we've learned to crate him while we're gone.  Fortunately, he enjoys his crate, as he goes in there to lay down even when the door is wide open.

He's awesome.  Still has some issues with jealousy (when petting Tank) and food nabbing (don't leave ANYTHING w/in reach!), but we'll keep working on those.

Our boxer boy, Dozer: