Thursday, March 31, 2011

This week has just dragged on...

This week has just seemed to just drag on and on for some reason. And as much as I love where I work, it also seemed to drag. I'm finally to the end of my week (kinda). Last night I went out to Scotty's with my amazing Bob family (and the honorary Bobs Caroline and Aubrey). I only got a drink, but I love hanging out with them. We're all different and a little out there, but we have a fun time when we're all out together. And every once in a while I just need to get out with friends and forget about school work and whatnot.

For the first time in a couple weeks, I can breathe freely, thanks to the allergy meds my doctor has me on for my ear. One of the side effects is obviously drowsiness, which makes my day seem to go by even slower. And I know it's only been a day and a half, but the ringing and partial deafness are still there. I'm starting to think that it all might be permanent. Time to by a sound machine.

Two funny random things today. The first is a video that we pulled up in my History of Epidemics class when we were discussing blood. The father cracking up made me laugh, as well as the little boy insisting that it "isn't funny" haha
The next is what I imagine any of my cats would do it challenged for a kill:
Luckily, none of my cats have even tried this. I'm sure they know what would happen if they did.

Here's hoping that tomorrow goes by quickly as well.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I just want it to go away

The constant tinnitus hasn't stopped and I haven't gotten any of my hearing back yet, so I stopped by the health center today. Since I have some allergy issues, he wants those to clear up before he evaluates my ear. It may have something to do with it (I hope) and if it does then hopefully the allergy meds will help it clear up. And like he said, if I did permanent damage, a week wont change it. We'll see in a week how things go. It's not the partial hearing loss I mind so much (sadly) but the constant high-pitch whine that is ten times worse in silence. At least I haven't had any trouble sleeping yet. Please please please just go away.

The Delta Sigma Pi girls had qualifications tonight for Little 50 and did great! I personally think they qualified, but we'll have to wait for the official results to come out, hopefully tomorrow or the day after.

I made DELICIOUS burgers tonight, but managed to fill the apartment with smoke thanks to my cast iron skillet. I cut up some jalapenos and put them, seeds and all, into the burger meat, along with chipotle seasoning. I mixed that all up and cooked them in my cast iron skillet, since I couldn't find the mini-propane tank for my little grill. The result was a smoke-filled apartment because of the grease and slightly raw burgers. I like my burgers thick, which is fine for the grill. So I had to throw them in the microwave to finish them off or risk setting off all the smoke alarms in my apartment. We put them on toasted kaiser rolls with tomato and a chipotle mayo. It was spicy but really good. I personally can't handle a lot of spice, so I ate about half my burger. But Tyler likes spicy foods and finished off his and the rest of mine. Tomorrow I'm making some stir fry, so we'll see how that goes. I actually have a wok thanks to my dad, so it shouldn't be too bad.

Random shirt I would like, or even as a sign. Just like I'd love one of those mirrors that has the mustaches etched on them. Gotta love Stumble.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Drill Weekend #9

With only 9 drills left before I'm lucky enough to get out of the National Guard, we went to Camp Atterbury, Indiana for weapons qualifications. It's only an hour away from Bloomington, but I had to drive all the way back to Illinois for drill. Luckily, my unit let me drive behind the buses so that I could leave straight from Atterbury, instead of driving back to Illinois to have to drive back to Indiana. Apparently, some people were complaining that I go to do that. This is the first time in my 5 years in the military that they've ever let me do something like that. And people like to complain and they needed something, so it was me. Honestly, I don't care. I have 8 drills and an annual training left. If they want to complain about me, they can go right ahead.

This weekend was our weapons qualifications and we were in charge of the zero range. For those not in the military or who have never fired a weapon before, to "zero" your weapon is to make adjustments to it until it fires exactly where you're aiming. It can be easy and take 10 minutes or it can be disastrously frustrating and take all damn day. This weekend we had more of the later than the former. It didn't help that all day it probably never got above freezing, with overcast skies and a nice wind whipping through all day. I luckily had an OK day and managed to zero and qualify with a 23 (the bare minimum, but still passing). And then, instead of hiding out somewhere, I volunteered to help out being a range safety (the people making sure everyone is shooting down range, not goofing off, clearing their weapons right, etc.). I stood out on the firing line for a good four hours doing that. It was such a long day I passed out at 9:30 p.m. as soon as I got done showering.

The only downside to the day was the one qualification round, when I forgot to use earplugs. Which tends to have the same result as though you were standing next to a giant speaker at a concert for 4 hours. As soon as I got the first shot off I knew it was going to hurt, but on a timed qualification there isn't any time to just stop to put earplugs in. So now I have a nice ringing in my left ear (that has yet to go away) and partial deafness in that ear as well. The ringing has slowly gotten quieter (or I've gotten used to it). I bought some drops that are supposed to help with the tinnitus (the fancy name for continuous ringing in your ear). I'd like to regain all my hearing soon so I can stop asking people "Huh?"

The only upside to drill is getting to see some of my favorite people for a weekend. Yeah, sometime the training sucks, but being with good friends makes it go by a little faster.

Caynan and Lisa all got to Alpha around the same time, deployed together, and made SGT around the same time. I love them.
I lived right next to Brandi through our whole deployment and I count her as one of my best friends. She'll definitely tell me what she thinks and what I need to hear. Because of these people, I actually look forward to drills.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


After (probably) failing my Spanish exam, I got home and was rather peckish. I know it sounds really weird, but my newest snack consists of green apples dipped in balsamic vinegar. I had it on a salad and wondered how it would be alone. I know it sounds weird but its so yummy. The balsamic is tart enough that it makes the green apples sweet, and the apples soak up the vinegar. Num.

I was watching Chopped on Food Network, a show where chefs are given a basket of random foods and have to come up with appetizers, entrees and desserts. And  I got to thinking, they may be a little more creative than I am (probably with a better pallet), but I do the same thing. I'm a broke college student, so I shop my cabinets for different combinations for dinner. Like tonight, I had Tyler take some frozen chicken out when I was at work. In my casserole dish, I threw together a can to diced tomatoes (with salsa seasoning), milk, corn, taco seasoning, brown rice and the chicken. Throw that in the oven for 45 minutes and Voila! Yummy dinner. It took a little more time than they have on Chopped, but see...I can do it too!!

Now to go and enjoy my creation :)

I found this while Stumbling and found it pretty funny:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

That Time of the Week

It's that time of the week again...when I realize that I probably shouldn't sleep in order to catch up on everything I need to do. That is only exacerbated by the fact that I have a 3-day drill this weekend, which means I'll probably get NOTHING done. So I could either sleep, or fail to finish a 2500 word rough draft, study for a Spanish exam and finish some anthropology readings for a quiz Wednesday night...can I go back to Spring Break again? Or I guess I'll just make a rather large pot of my Mint coffee :)

The rough draft is for a class that I actually don't mind - my History Intensive Writing class. The main grade is a 20 page paper about a legal topic that is associated with famous cases. I like the topic I picked and I'm actually interested in my research topic (but I still refuse to think about law school). I just have a TON TON TON of readings that need to be done to get what I want from the paper. I have about 6 or 7 law reviews (never short of course), along with about 10 different cases and results that I also need to go over. And all this needs to be somewhat put into a coherent rough draft.

In other, less stressful activities, I'm starting to work out again. I didn't gain all that much weight on the cruise (luckily), but I'm still ridiculously out of shape. So, I signed up for a Pilates Reformer class (where they use a machine) as an incentive to keep working out, since I did pay for it. I thought I signed up for a class at 6:45 to 7:45 pm on Mondays (and the little paper they gave me confirmed it), but it was apparently at 6:45 to 7:45 A.M....I am not that gung-ho. The staff at my Rec Center were nice enough to let me switch to the Sunday afternoon class.

The weather here has been really nice the last couple days, with temperatures in the 70s. Of course it's Indiana in March, so that's only supposed to last until tomorrow and then it'll drop back down to the 40s. Of course it will, because I will be outside on a shooting range all weekend in Indiana. And having nice weather for that would defeat the purpose ;)

Well, time to get my nose back to the grindstone!
This goes out to all the guys in my small, country, surrounded-by-corn town of 4,000 of thought they were "gangster"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break - Part Three

The last three days of the trip were just as good as the first. The fifth day we docked at St. Maarten on the island of Philipsbug/St. Maarten. Half the island is French and half the island is German. We docked along with everyone else it seemed:
We were "parked" behind a Princess Cruise ship, along side a Celebrity, which was behind a Disney, as so on. So there were a TON of people everywhere. There was no beach nearby and all rides to the beaches were at least $10 on way, per person. So we wandered around the port area for a bit, bought some guavaberry and mango rum (it was yummy) and then just headed back to the ship to hang out there (but not before we go the normal tourist picture):
I know it sounds kind of loser-ish, but we're broke and there was NO ONE by the pool on deck, and they open the retractable roof. So overall, it was still pretty nice.

The next day was at sea, so we slept in and I sat on the balcony for a while reading and watching the water go by. The only downside with the days at sea is that there are NO deck chairs at all available. And some people will hold them all day with a shirt or a book and then leave for hours. Not cool. I managed to find one for a while, but the sun ended up being on our room's side of the boat, so I just hung out on our balcony in the sun. We went to the casino and I managed to lose money at blackjack (go figure), but I held my own for about an hour and then cashed out when I was down by half. Tyler managed to win quite a bit from both blackjack and Texas Hold'em, so he made up for me :)

The last day was at the cruise line's private island, Half Moon Cay. It looked exactly like what a tropical island should look like.
We spent a good part of the day on the island. The beach was gorgeous and pretty shallow. It only came up to my knees about 20 feet out.
We hung out on the beach for a while before we went to our first excursion - swimming with the stingrays. It was actually pretty cool, if not a little creepy. Of course everyone knows what happened to the Crocodile Hunter, but as long as you didn't step on them or whatnot, all the sting rays seemed kinda tame. They felt really smooth when they brushed up against you (which always surprised me and kinda scared me). And we got to feed them, which was like having a vacuum cleaner suck the squid out of your hand. Overall it was pretty fun.
After that, we went for lunch and then had a little time to kill until we went para-sailing, which was pretty cool. They "launched" us off the back of a speed boat and then let us get pretty high up. After about 5 minutes, they slowly lowered you back to the boat and you landed on the back. We had some fun.
We went back to the boat after that and took a nap. It was also the last day, so we packed and ordered some room service for the last time.

Friday morning we docked and started the incredibly long and tiring drive back to Indiana. Apparently, the rest of Indiana and Illinois decided they wanted to drive back too. We hit traffic outside of Atlanta around 8 p.m., all caused by one car (from Illinois) rear-ending another and therefore making people merge from 3 lanes to two. This will cause stop-and-go traffic for 10 miles. Fun. We left around 9 a.m. from Ft. Lauderdale and got back to Bloomington at 5 a.m. And we went straight to bed.

Luckily it was Saturday morning, so we had all of Saturday and Sunday to recover. And we needed it. And now classes are (sadly) back on, so I hope that week of relaxation starts to pay off!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break - Part Two

Our first stop was Grand Turks in the Turks & Cacos. The weather was gorgeous by the time we got to the beach and we hung out there for a while. That's our ship, with our room third from the front on the second row of windows from the top.
There was also a Margaritaville on the island, so of course I had to stop by:
I had a Banana-Apple Ice Cream drink of some kind. And I got to keep the glass. After that, it was time to get back on the boat. Our next stop was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We got in about noon, so we go to watch the ship enter port. And it was SUPER windy on deck...
After reaching port, we knew we wanted to go to the Bacardi Distillery, but we were not about to pay the $44 the cruise ship offered to take us there. Instead, Tyler suggested asking the local hotel and they helped so much. Instead of the $44 for the tour, it was a 50 cent ferry ride across the harbor and a $3 taxi to the distillery = $14 total. Sadly, my Spanish only helped out a little, as a lot of the people we came across spoke English, except for our cab driver, who didn't really talk much anyways. The distillery tour was pretty cool and I would suggest it if you're ever in San Juan. You learn about the history, the family, and how to mix drinks, PLUS you get 2 little drinks - all for free! People were also giving us their drink tickets (I guess we looked like college students who would use them?), so in theory we could have had about 2 or 3 extra drinks as well.
Unfortunately, we didn't do much else in San Juan. We're broke college students and we went back to the boat for dinner and kinda just hung out (on our balcony) until we left. I would like to go back and stay a week or so in Puerto Rico (which Tyler did when he was younger - make sure to see the cows, he said).

Well, classes officially start again tomorrow and I have some catching up to do. So tomorrow I'll finish up the cruise and start on life back in Btown :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Break - Part One

I had a great time on Spring Break. The drive down to Ft. Lauderdale, however, was ridiculous and I would suggest flying.We left Bloomington at 9:30 p.m. and arrived around 3 p.m. the next day - only after speeding the second half to make sure we'd get there on time. It took a toll on us and my poor Amy (my Accent).

But we arrived on time and made it to our cabin. When I booked, I booked a cabin with a window "partially obstructed" between 2 lifeboats. But this was our cabin...  
We somehow managed to get a cabin with a balcony. I won't lie, it was awesome. I would sit out there and read during the trip and whatnot. Our first night we both got a little sea sick, Tyler more than I. I think it was the fact that we had just driven 18-odd hours and were running on no sleep in the past 24 hours. But after a good night's rest, we felt a lot better.

The second day was a day at sea, so we got breakfast in bed and then I scrounged for a chair up on the deck to read. I read Anthony Bourdain's first book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. It's about how he got started as a cook, where he's work, his problems and (then) current job as head chef of a New York restaurant. For those of you that don't know Anthony Bourdain, he has a show on the Travel Channel called No Reservations and has been a guest judge on Top Chef. He doesn't pull any punches and that definitely comes across in his book when he talks honestly about his drug problems in the 80's and how life truly is in kitchens. If I ever entertained the idea of being a chef, I don't any more. Hearing and knowing that long hours are needed are different than having a chef walk you through one typical day of theirs. Maybe I'll just continue to cook for fun and friends cause I enjoy sleep far too much to get almost none of it. 

The food on board was Delicious!!! I read good reviews about Holland America's food and we weren't disappointed. The main dining room on the ship had a 3-course menu every night, with delicious appetizers, a soup/salad course, and an entree. We had amazing appetizers of caviar, veggies, cheese and escargot to name a few. The soup courses usually had a fruit gazpacho (cold soup) that were good enough to be desserts. The entrees consisted of meats or pastas, and we had (in no particular order) fillet mignon, lobster, crab, chicken with mango dressing, tuna, and three cheese raviolis. Unfortunately, I think I gained another ten pounds from the cruise, but it was totally worth it.
I leave you for today with a view from my balcony of our first stop: Grand Turk in the Turks & Cacos.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why I Stay Out of Politics

After opening the IDS this morning (my school paper), I read through it before class like normal until I came on to an opinion column defending PFC Manning, the one who gave Wikileaks all the secret cables, as a whistle blower. Whistle blower? Seriously? A whistle blower, by definition, is one who uncovers corruption or wrong-doing. He uncovered none of this. He gave away secret government and military information that included the names of those helping us in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as government cables used to help conduct government business. That's the definition of a traitor. And I hope he is convicted and executed like the traitor he is. Being a member of the military who has served in a war zone, I am well aware of the dangers little pieces of information can cause. And he released tons of it. He is no hero - he has blood on his hands and I for one and furious that people defend him. But then again, these people have never and will never experience what those in the military have and cannot comprehend what he actually did.

Alright, done with that rant. And then I read about Congress holding hearings about Muslim extremism in the US, claiming that there was nothing "un-American" about the hearings. Except that they seem exactly the same as the hearings held by Congress in the 1950s to hunt Communists. The article, which you can see here, also says that "In the United States, we don't practice guilt by association." What United States does this guy live in? A nice idealistic world of his own? Of course we do it. We're programed to do it without realizing it. So holding these hearings cause normal citizens to distrust all Muslims. Way to go Congress.

And that, in a nutshell, is why I can't stand politics anymore. Everything is so screwed up in the country that I can't follow or be a part of the political system without getting upset. And nothing I can do is going to change the extreme polarization of the country. And the idiot people who run it, Republican or Democrat. It's basically voting for the best of the worst, which is why I prefer to not vote at all.

On to happier things....I leave for my Spring Break tonight :) After the Ron White show at IU Auditorium tonight, Tyler and I are starting our 16 hour drive to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for our cruise. But I think someone is going to miss us...

Bella wanted to come with. Spaz cat. Alright, I'm sure no one wants to read any more after all my ranting. Hopefully the ship will have some internet and I can randomly post. Otherwise prepare yourself for a long post with lots of pictures when I get back!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring Break Ahoy!

I can already see the disapproving look from Jenny, but I went for a quick tan yesterday and managed to burn myself. But in my defense, I will be on a cruise in warm weather for a week and I'd rather burn here than there. Which got me thinking about Spring Break plans and the difference between mine and my friends'. My boyfriend and I are going on a 7-day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean on Holland America which, according to the travel agent, is for an "older" crowd than us - in other words, not a party boat. Which is perfectly fine with me. To me, Spring Break should emphasize the "Break" part. I'm all for going out every once in a while for a good time with my friends, but a whole week of it? I would be drained after a night. My idea of a break is sitting around by a pool or on a beach, reading books I wanna read and jumping into the water every now and then. A lot of my (male) friends are heading to Florida to party for the week. Thinking about that just makes me tired, but to each his own.
Am I the only one who would rather chill for a week than go out and be drunk for 7 days straight? I do go to IU, so it's not like I can't do that here normally :)

For all of you unaware of what Stumble is, its this AMAZING website/tool bar that takes you to random websites you would have never thought to visit or never knew existed. Its very addicting and I have been known to Stumble throughout an entire class. I introduced it to my boyfriend and now all he does is Stumble throughout class. My bad. If you wanna check it out, you can find it here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jumping on the Blog Bandwagon

After being an avid reader of all types of blogs, I've decided to start one myself. That might be a little narcissistic, but I think that some of what I say could be important or at least entertaining for other people besides myself (and my cats).
I'm planning on posting a little bit of everything on here - yummy foods I make, the good books I'm reading, movies, exercise, money, cats, classes and probably a little bit of the Army thrown in. This is really intended for friends and family to check up on me and see what's going on in my life (not that Facebook can't do that, but you can only write so much on a status). And it's kind of an outlet for me as well.

I'll probably end with funny things I find while Stumbling (and if you don't know what that is, you are probably too productive).