Thursday, November 6

Throwback Thursday: Hawkeye Ball, East Coast 2014

It's very common in the aviation community to be not be fully understood by the surface, sub, or nuke pipelines. They're routinely thought of as Prima Donna types, semi-lazy for having something resembled children's pajamas as a daily uniform, requiring 8 hours of sleep without question, and the ability to throw a golf tournament in honor of an aviator lost in the line of duty. I'm fully aware of this, yet I embrace it. 

So while it was a bit of a surprise when we attended our first Hawkeye Ball in 2009, I've now come to love the mayhem and foolishness that it entails. There's always a West Coast and an East Coast Ball, with a lucky few able to attend both (so jealous). And since his time through flight school and first sea station,  there are long-lost friends that have moved on to other locales (i.e. Pax River in Maryland, Fallon in Nevada - both bonafide spots to procreate because there's not much else going on there) and many names/faces forgotten at this duty station because being back on the East Coast is. just. so. many. people!

This duty station can either embrace you or lose you in the action based on its size alone. While I love working as a small fish in a big pond, I prefer my living situation to be small fish within a small pond. I don't like being the New Girl and am trying my hardest to "date" the ladies here. Thankfully I filled my 'hug tank' this year with my long-lost friends of Navy's multiple duty stations. And I just now wait for fellow West Coast-er's orders for Norfolk to show up.

My handsome dinner date and I - and my hair was something else. I wasn't loving it, and it wouldn't cooperate. So I rocked some tousled beach-like waves and called it a win. Also, I only drank Sauv Blancs until I changed since ivory chiffon + red wine = oh. shit. And the salmon for dinner was a wise choice as Mr. Wookie's prime rib looked more like "homeless man leather sneaker" than bovine. And yes, that's a real bowtie - he watched 20 minutes of YouTube tutorials to not be a 29-year-old shmuck with a fake.

Mrs. Wookie's Hawkeye Ball Etiquette + Survival Guide:

1.) Do the "I can eat" and "I can sit" test in your dress. VERY IMPORTANT.
2.) While it's okay to acknowledge you're wearing Spanx, please don't let them expose themselves. Last year, an O-4 wife didn't test that by raising her arms...her Spanx exposed at the knee. Woops.
3.) Please don't drop an arm-and-a-leg on one dress for just 4 hours. My thoughts are the same on wedding dresses also. What happens after the wedding? It sits in a damn box and no. one. will want to wear your dated design. Stop wishing upon a star.
4.) The length doesn't matter of the dress - there's always equal knee-length to floor length ratio.
5.) Stock your hotel room with post-party snacks and pajamas. Derp.

Last year I missed my handsome man, oh so much. And our C(ommanding) O(fficer's) W(ife) connived us Junior Officer attaches to attend en masse as a support for the squadron and an establishment to the remaining squadrons that our men have the watch, while us ladies have the wine in glasses. We did so with heavy emphasis of "Our men are missing, we should get unlimited champagne." But I was glad to tout the faux-burden of being the homefire burning; I play the martyr very well. And I'll take that champagne.

My first West Coast Hawkeye Ball in 2010. Oh man, I didn't even know. I was berratedly interrogated by a Department Head as Mr. Wookie was the FNG in the squadron. So why aren't you married? Want me to have a talk with him? I can make things happen. Uhh...(where the f**k did we move to?). Also, short hair is a bitch to style when you're in the I'm-trying-to-grow-it-out-like-a-California-gurl phase.

West Coast Hawkeye Ball in 2011 - the year of the broken wine glass. Woops. I got a little carried away when summoning for more wine by tapping my glass. I needed to get out of the weight room, for sure. And did you notice this is the same dress as last year?? This was the squadron's best year as they brought home the trophy for "Hawkeye Pilot of the Year" - this is an amazing honor for the skilled pilot who's been selected early for Department Head and has a great continued career ahead of him.

West Coast Hawkeye Ball in 2013 - the last of the glory years with sunshine and my handsome man. This dress was the bee's knees for multiple reasons. a.) It has POCKETS. b.) It's JCrew tall. Boom. c.) It's fabulous and taffeta (my favorite). d.) It fit the theme for the year: "Mad Men." Move over, Joanie - there's a true redhead up in here!

And what's even better - I'm set for Hawkeye Ball 2015 thanks to a winter wedding in the Palm Springs area in February. Hello floor-length (what!) and wine chiffon into the mix. Can you get what I'll be drinking that year?

Wednesday, November 5

The travel itch.

"Not all those who wander are lost." -J.R. Tolkien

We were dutiful sea-going-station inhabitants as we put ourselves through an extended work-up cycle, a pushed-back deployment, and compressed work-up cycle again, and then his lil trip to sea. We squeezed in trips where we could and I kept the turtles alive when he did his trips to Fallon where I would hear from him every few days (Fallon has a true O-Club experience...thus the lack of communication). We got a dog, experienced a "family lifestyle," and grew to be home-bodies on the couch with our favorite Jeopardy.

But it's been awhile since we truly went away for a we-have-no-plans trip, like Raleigh (above, and the cute lil French cafe where we enjoyed each other's company and expanded our waist line with a plethora of butter in the croissants!). There's something about impromptu trips, made on a Thursday night, and executed at Noon on a Friday (which takes an early email to the boss - "Yo, you need me this PM?"). Mondays are bitches to miss at work, but sometimes you just have to stop giving a shit.

And to's been years since my Passport's had love and attention. It was 2010 (I think) when my family trekked Eastward, cross the pond, for some English and Scottish beer, landscape, a bit o' family fighting (because what's a vacation without conflict), and plenty of souvenirs (and again, a slight expanding in the waistline thanks to the delectable brew). Mr. Wookie had his own trip to NYC for a handful of days. We separate, experience life, come together, and then plan more trips. Sometimes my family overwhelms him and I just need to soak in more dysfunction to make the heart fonder from farther.

Mama Ging and Castle #427

 Dad, we're leaving you!

Of course there's been some dabbling of vacation when moving from station-to-station, but what fun is it when you stay in some lackluster locations (i.e. Oklahoma City) that wouldn't be your first or fifteenth choices for a night away? I need a triiip to rejuvenate. I need damn-good breakfasts. I need museums, and art galleries, I need skylines, and a cocktail promptly at 5:01pm. I'm on vacation. I require no reason.

And now that we're back in "East Jesus Nowhere" from my family, Beaver Nation (moment of silence for their season this year), and all things "the West Coast is the best coast," it's time to plan our escape from the Navy's Armpit. And I'm thinking quarterly.

The boys are attempting to mount a trip to good ol' West Virginia this winter for skiing, but I'm hesitant on a few concepts. First off, it's West Virginia. Secondly, I'm not exactly a "car trip" person. My limit is 3 hours; unless I'm allowed a wine bottle...then it's 4.5 hours. West Virginia is at least 5 hours; so I'd have to take Thursday, Friday, and Monday to make that a worth-while time investment. Why don't we just go to Chicago?? That's only a couple hours via plane, a Kimpton hotel reservation Downtown, and a PLETHORA of excitement. How's Spring sound? Perfect. BOOM. We're in.

And the remainder of my above thought is that West Virginia barely has hills. I need mountains.

Where else is on our plan for next year??'s a list. You ready??

January: I'll be possibly making the trek back to Oregon for a BABY SHOWER! Yes, Mine. Lolz. No.

February: I'll be whipping up a party as a BRIDESMAID in the Palm Springs area. Hello Temecula wine country, hello. And yes, I'll be staying behind in lovely California for a WEEK while I work from my division's office just 12 miles from the beach.

We're eye-balling the above Chicago trip sometime between February and May.

May: We'll be hosting an invading Mama Ging and Sheriff for a week before they venture off to Chicago themselves while we bust semi-South to Memphis for another country bumpkin-style wedding.

July: Mr. Wookie's BIRTHDAY PARTY!! We be going away! Hopefully...

September: Hello GUVNA! And top of the morning to ya, lass.

Mr. Wookie has also put his name on the list as a "farm out" option to the East Coast deploying squadrons. So should he be joining deployed forces in European and Middle Eastern port calls, I'll be cannon-balling my own vacation plans. I don't need him to be here for a trip; I'll make my own plans. Iowa? Sure! I got a friend living there; I didn't just pull it outta a hat.

I just threw this in a reminder of times a-loggin' mad miles and skinnier jeans a-fittin'. 
What would it take for Mr. Wookie to get NPS in lovely Monterey (which would boost morale tenfold as it looks most like Oregon)? Many things. The aviation pipeline is pretty limited for fun-and-games. They prefer you make the scheduled steps through sea station, then Norfolk for instructing, then a "dis-associated" tour (i.e. it's when a naval aviator is forced to work with...gulp.. the Army, Marines, or Air Force), and yada yada yada. Does he want a Command? Hell-to-the-no. Does he want to have fun with his career in a flying capacity? Yup.

I would give almost anything to be back in this great state; minus my income. I mean, I could probably find something comparable in project. But what about the EXTREME LAZINESS I have of working from home now?? This gig is legit and hard to beat. I can Google vacation destinations, respond to my family, keep up with my sales calls, orders, and customers, all while sipping on some coffee and wearing pajamas.

But a move back to the PacNW would provide much more weekend entertainment for us, beyond the sniveling at the windows as the lack of terrain brings a depressive state to our home. I've come to realize that I love where we live in Norfolk and the amenities our DINKdom requires, there's just not much entertainment here to suffice our needs. 

So we need to get out. It makes perfect sense of why people choose this duty station. It's proximity to all-things-historic-and-awesome. As mentioned above, we've made the trek to Raleigh, to his dad's in Asheville (just not the Biltmore yet), D.C. likes it's going out of style, Ocracoke, Charlottesville during our first visit to the 757. But now that we're back, it's time to cross more off the list: Baltimore, Pax River (for friends), Savannah (I'll bring 2 bottles of wine on the drive), NYC, Boston, PHILLAY (and the Mudder Museum), and across the Pond as we have English and French connections to a great time.

I like my vacation a mix of I'm-not-moving-from-this-lounge-chair and yes-please-refill-my-drink to cultural and educational enlightment! Whale's Vagina has beaches and Balboa Park, Charleston has Downtown and Ft. Sumter, D.C. has Russia House in Dupont and the Mall, Nashville has Downtown and Downtown (lolz), Pensacola has beaches and inbreds, Vegas has the Strip and the Nuclear Museum...and so on and so on.

All this West Coast camping supplies, and no hills to entertain us.

Help me, Obi Wan Wookie. You're my only hope. Put in that leave chit. And let's travel some more. Yes.

Monday, November 3

Meow Monday

This picture still cracks me up as I should know never to leave a water glass with enough room for a snout to invade. She'll hijack anything that'll fit the whiskers; then drip water as she moves onto the next.

Sunday, November 2

Happy belated Halloween.

"Most of us don't need a psychiatrist therapist as much as a friend to be silly with." -Robert Brault

Since settling into Norfolk again, there's been a range of emotions from longing for California and my salty friendships from yesteryear's deployment, to begrudgingly attending the Knives Meetings when everyone already has their friendships intact from flight school and East Coast duty stations. So like a moth to a flame, I've been extra clingy attentive to spending more time together and trying to navigate he-in-the-instructing-pipeline and I in my working-from-home-sponsored-Vitamin-D-deficiency.

I literally can't thank the world enough for sending fellow West Coast brethren to live in this now-frigid location that's not quite as chic as The District nor as classic Southern as Charleston. It's Norfolk. Le Navy's armpit. And yes, I know there are sketch parts to both D.C. and Charleston, but let's be honest - you think we'd live in less than glamorous places?? No. No. No.

Thankfully this Halloween we were able to celebrate in style and warmth as I rocked my 30-degree leggings beneath the made-in-China penguin suit with my fellow West Coast transplants. It's been a very rocky transition back here. It's obvious as I fall off the blogging wagon, hunker into my bed before 9pm each night, and eat myself into feeling better (hello slightly-bigger-butt). I sense that I'm failing at this military move mindset and can only watch myself trudge through the motions. Thank goodness I have tickets already for California. We're going to need a bigger boat checked back for the return trip.