prosodic: (Charlie Brown tree)
It didn't become real to me until we pulled up to a guard shack and a member of the Secret Service checked our IDs. That's when my stomach dropped. Once he checked our IDs against the guest list, he directed us to the parking lot. From there, we boarded a shuttle bus. In a short while, we were here.



We were given a ticket with our names on it to hand to the official White House photographer. (This is why you'll see no photo here of us with the Bidens - we have to wait until it's processed and emailed to us...48 hours.) At that point, we ended up in a line that snaked around the wrap-around porch. There was Christmas music and a beverage station set up serving hot cider. The Red Cross was there with blank holiday cards that we could fill out for the deployed troops.

We seemed to be in line for ages. At one point, I snuck into the house to find the restroom (I wasn't the only one). The restroom was incredibly posh, as you'd probably expect. The paper towels even had the Vice President's seal on them.

We moved up and up and up through the line. At one point, I came around a corner and saw Jill Biden. Someone was obstructing my view of Joe, but then that person moved and there he was. I might have had a mild freak out at that moment.

Next thing I know, someone is taking our ticket. Someone else offered to take my purse. We heard our names announced, "MSgt. Lance Johnson and Mrs. Karyn Johnson." Jill Biden reached out and took my hand and thanked me for coming. Then Joe, the man himself, approached me and came so close that we were almost nose to nose. He thanked me for coming. He looked at Lance and said, "Hey Buddy! Good to see you! Thank you for your service." Next thing I know, his arm is around my waist and he pulled me close for a photo. I remember being kind of stiff and thinking that I probably looked awkward and tense, but it was too late. The camera clicked and we were shuffled off (someone handed me my purse as we left). Lance told me later that he wasn't prepared either. I can't wait to see what this photo will look like. We're probably going to look awkward as hell, but everyone we talked to had a similar experience.

Once we moved into the reception area, my legs started shaking. So badly that I almost had to sit down. I ran into another spouse that I know from Lance's squadron. We made a little small talk and she indicated that the breakfast buffet was in the adjoining room.



Coffee! Blessed coffee. Quiche, scrambled eggs, bacon, fresh fruit, pastries. A separate table with platters of assorted cookies. Servers with trays of mimosas and bloody marys...other servers coming around with tiny sausage biscuit sliders and tiny grilled cheese sandwiches.









We stayed for a bit and talked to Lance's co-workers. I had 3 mimosas and may have accidentally spilled some of the third one on the Bidens' beautiful hardwood floor. We were only supposed to stay for an hour - every attendee had a scheduled time to be there and our scheduled time was 9:30 to 10:30. But we ended up staying for 2 hours.

When we finally decided to leave, the shuttle bus was waiting. We were handed a parting gift:



Awesome glasses, but I kind of wished I had gotten what was passed out to the kids. All the kids who attended got a plush version of Champ, the Bidens' German Shepherd. Super cute.

I consider the day a success. I was not rendered incapable of coherent speech. I did not trip, burp, cough, sneeze, or drool in front of the Vice President. Lance admitted to me that he was also worried about making an ass of himself, but thankfully we didn't really have time for that. It happened so fast.
prosodic: (Default)
I guess I'm back to doing Meetup Sunday again. Same thing as last time - potluck lunch at the winery. Though I would assume they're moving it indoors, since it's now cold.

And since I just RSVP'd and it is tomorrow and I want to use what I had on hand:

- Chickpeas? Check.
- Pureed pumpkin? Check.
- Lemon juice? Check.
- Olive oil? Check.
- Garlic? Check.
- Spices? Check.

Thusly, pumpkin hummus (my own recipe, adapted from 2 other recipes):

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 c. pumpkin puree
3 TBSP. lemon juice
1 TBSP. water
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 tsp. cumin

Combine all in food processor. Add olive oil until you have the consistency you want. Sprinkle with smoked paprika.

hummus

I'm bringing a box of crackers I already opened and didn't really like (Town House Flatbread Crisps - sea salt & olive oil flavor), but they actually go really well with this hummus. I may stop at the store on the way there though, and pick up some additional crackers. I don't want to bring the box of Wheat Thins that Lance has been snacking on.
prosodic: (Waterhouse)
By Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
prosodic: (me)
20121111_174037

I based this off a chicken wing recipe, modified it to chicken breasts (since the husband hates chicken wings), and it was crazy good. Smoky and sweet, with wonderful flavoring from the smoked paprika (a new-to-me spice).

In a gallon size Ziploc bag, combine:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper

Add 1.5 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast (or hey, if you want bone-in with skin, so much the better. This recipe was originally for crispy, flavorful skin anyway). Zip bag closed and shake until the chicken is well coated. Let it hang out in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

I had 3 rather large, thick breasts. I baked them on a foil-lined baking pan for 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Your mileage may vary.

While the chicken was baking, I made the roasted red pepper creme. This involves a tub of original flavor Philadelphia Cooking Creme. Scoop out about 1/3 of the creme into your food processor. Add some roasted red peppers from a jar - whatever amount you want according to your tastes. Pulse until well blended and a saucy consistency. (Note: I made it as soon as the chicken went in the oven, so the creme was room temp by the time the chicken was done.)

And that's all there is to it. When the chicken's done, let it rest a few minutes so it stays juicy, then slice it and spoon the creme over the top.

I served this with egg noodles (mixed with the remainder of the cooking creme and some dill) and peas. Definitely making this again.
prosodic: (my sweet rose)
Ever since we moved here, I have been searching for good walking trails. Preferably wide trails that are paved, gravel, or planked. Reece and Blitz picked up about half a dozen ticks between them at Flag Ponds. The trails there were too narrow with too much tall grass along the sides. King's Landing here in Huntingtown didn't have much of a trail. American Chestnut Land Trust trails are also too narrow and difficult to navigate with dogs. Dunkirk District Park has some paved jogging paths, but they're not particularly scenic and the main attraction there (for us, anyway) is the dog park. I have only walked the dogs around those paths to cool them down after a game of fetch.

Today, I drove to Chesapeake Beach. Honestly, I don't know what took me so long to drive there. It's about 6 miles away and getting there couldn't be easier. I didn't even need my GPS. Anyway, I thought I'd try the Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail, which spans 39 miles through 3 counties. Obviously, we aren't ambitious enough to walk the entire thing, but I covered probably 2 miles today with the dogs. Had I gone earlier in the day when it wasn't so close to lunchtime, we would've walked a few more miles.

The trail is a boardwalk where it goes over Fishing Creek (a small channel off of Chesapeake Bay) and it is paved when it's on land. It's also wide and goes through a lot of very nice scenery. I imagine there is good wildlife watching, too, if one happens to be there at the right time. I wasn't, or maybe I was distracted too much by the dogs to notice. All I really saw was a grasshopper on the trail. No turtles, birds, fish, or frogs.

The trail was kind of hard to find. I heard it was near the water park, so I aimed the car in that direction, turned down the road that runs alongside the water park, and found a sign for the trail next to an apartment complex. I parked at the "Tot Lot" - a public playground right next to the apartments. I asked, and I was told I could leave the car there without problems. One of the mothers at the playground told me there was a different parking area I could use specifically for the trail, but I never did find it. All the parking right by the trail entrance was permit only. No matter...where I parked was only a short walk from where the trail started.

Anyway, here are the photos I took during our walk. I love, love, LOVE this trail and I'm so sad I didn't find it sooner. I will be coming here a lot with the dogs. And Lance is looking for good places to jog. This fits the bill nicely.

20120821_110936
The beginning of our walk

20120821_112650
Fishing Creek from an area called the Forest Canopy

20120821_113636
Looking back toward the Chesapeake Beach town center

20120821_114512
Where Fishing Creek meets Chesapeake Bay
prosodic: (Default)
Made this to take to a potluck barbecue that I went to last night. It was DEVOURED.

I combined parts of 2 different recipes for sundried tomato bread because I didn't want to go out and buy additional ingredients. Lucky for me, the result was delicious. This bread is perfect for making sandwiches - it wasn't nearly as dense as a lot of bread machine breads tend to be. I made a parmesan herb dipping oil to go with this - which quickly disappeared - but someone else started eating this with spinach dip and said it was really good.

In the bread machine pan, add ingredients in this order:

4 tsp. olive oil
3/4 c. + 2 TBSP. water
2 TBSP. snipped dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
3 c. flour (I used half bread flour, half all-purpose)
1/2 c. parmesan cheese (I just used Kraft)
1 TBSP. sugar
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. yeast

Make sure the yeast and water have no contact with each other as you're adding ingredients or it'll ruin the bread. Set the bread machine on the basic bread setting for a 1.5 pound loaf.

Note: When I made it, the dough didn't spread out in the pan, which convinced me that the bread wasn't going to turn out. It pretty much just formed into a ball inside the pan and baked that way. So if that happens to you, don't worry.
prosodic: (Waterhouse2)
Here's a picture I took on Sunday of one of the many barns in Calvert County, Maryland. I look forward to snapping many more barn photos, and photos of churches, too. The churches here are old and cool - many of them surrounded by old gravestones.

prosodic: (ex libris)
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Illiteracy, especially adult illiteracy.
prosodic: (Default)
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White Christmas.

prosodic: (Default)
Children of the '80s may appreciate this especially.

Click this link:

http://blackacrebrewing.com/home/

Make sure the volume is turned up on your computer.

Click on "I am under 21."

Incredible

Dec. 13th, 2011 03:17 pm
prosodic: (Default)
Got 3 minutes? Watch this. Totally worth your time, believe me.

prosodic: (Default)
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I'm already getting the Kindle that I want. I guess my REAL wish list would be getting the chance to leave here on January 9th with a totally clean slate. And I want my friends and family to be happy and healthy.

Testing...

Dec. 1st, 2011 12:34 pm
prosodic: (Blitz)
All you iPhone folks have had Hipstamatic and Instagram and other cool phone apps for awhile. I've been looking for something similar for my Android phone.

RETRO CAMERA!

Blitz is a perfect test subject. I have 5 different cameras on this app (inspired by Japanese toy cameras, Lomos, Holgas, Polaroids and Dianas), but each time I take a photo with any of these cameras, it comes out a bit different each time. I'll figure it out eventually. Each of these cameras have various settings, so it seems like I can achieve a different effect with every photo. I can't wait to experiment more with this! I think I can take some pretty amazing landscape pictures during our travels next month.

prosodic: (poppy)
Last day for NaBloPoMo! Then I can slack and not post for a day or two. Although I doubt I'll run out of things to say for the next several weeks. :)

Today's moving tasks: photographing things in the bedroom and finishing the book inventory.

Non-moving tasks: taking the dogs for a nail trim

I'm starting to assess what we need to use up in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. I'm happy to give away any unopened packages of food that we have, but I'm trying to use up condiments and spices. And obviously, the opened packages of food. Therefore, tonight's dinner was cheeseburgers and tater tots. And we'll have it again, because there are still burger patties and tater tots left over.

So...I have 2 kinds of mustard (both pretty full bottles) and a lot of Heinz 57 to use up. I see a lot of meals featuring these two things in our near future. Time to get creative and figure out how to incorporate them into recipes. I should also include honey in this because honey is great with either of these things, and I also have a bottle of that to use up. Hmmm...and mango chutney, which will probably work better with Heinz 57 than mustard.
prosodic: (The Artist's Wife by Henry Lamb)
Lance ordered the Kindle! He won't let me have it until Christmas, but I have actual books to read until then, so that's fine.

YAY! I'm so excited! A few months ago, I would've refused to even consider getting an e-reader, but now I can see the value in getting one. This doesn't mean I'll stop reading real books. I still love the feel of a book in my hand and the smell of the pages.

And I already have a book I can read on it when I get it. I'm currently reading this book via the Kindle app on my phone.

Speaking of books...I think I'm now addicted to this GoodReads app. I've been going around this evening scanning Lance's books into my GoodReads list. So if any of you are friends with me on GoodReads and you see some updates from me with some book titles that seem a little odd, that's probably because they're Lance's books. I haven't touched any of his computer books in the office, but I might do that tomorrow if he wants me to.

If I hadn't already taken photos of our entire movie collection, I would check to see if there was an app that allows me to scan all the DVD and VHS cases. But I don't really need to do that now. What we do need to do is fire up the old camcorder that's been collecting dust for 7 years and record our appliances and electronics to show that they're all in proper working order.

I need to figure out what my task will be for tomorrow. I know we have to start tackling things in the garage, but a lot of that stuff is Lance's. Still, I should probably photograph our bikes. And here inside the house, I should take pictures of our furniture. Or...since we still have pictures from the house listing, I probably already have that taken care of. But I'll look at the pictures and see if we missed anything.
prosodic: (Fairy)
This will be our only Christmas decoration this year.



And that's only because Mom shipped it to me from Grandma's house, and it arrived with one of the peppercorn eyes missing. I just glued that back into place today, and hung it on the hutch. I have to put it in the Christmas box anyway. I might as well just wait until after Christmas.

I think Grandma got this at her Christmas party with her siblings. It was still hanging in her kitchen when I arrived in late January. I guess it used to hang by the back door all year round. It was either Mom or Sue that wanted to make sure SOMEBODY in the family got this, because the stocking is made out of an antique quilt that's been passed down through the family on Grandma's side. The quilt had apparently seen better days, so stockings were made from it. I seem to remember something similar happening several years back with a quilt being made into pillows. Either Mom or Sue has that pillow now, I suppose. And I, the eldest granddaughter, am now keeper of the heirloom quilt stocking.

I glued a few other things of Grandma's back together too. Pretty much everything that came in that box arrived broken - some of it beyond repair. I thought the little angel bell that once graced her fireplace mantel could be saved. But I couldn't repair it. The wings broke off, and I tried to glue them back on separately, and that didn't work. And I realized that the wings fit together, so I glued the wings together and then tried to glue them on the back, and that also didn't work. I think another piece chipped off somewhere that I no longer have. I had to throw it out.

I have another ceramic knick-knack that I tried to glue back together, but the broken piece wouldn't adhere no matter how much glue I used or how long I held it together (I was using Gorilla Glue, btw). I just fit the broken piece into place and left it alone, hoping it would adhere on its own. And it seems like it is, but there is a big enough gap between the broken piece and the rest of it that I think it'll break during the move and I'll have to glue it again.

There was another angel with one broken wing. I successfully repaired it, but you can still see a crack, and I'm pretty sure it'll break again during the move. That was something handmade by Grandma's SIL in 1990, so I would really like to save it if I can.

So that's been my main task today...trying to repair these little trinkets. None of these things are items I have memories of growing up (one of the few things I took from her house that does is the tiny metal and stained glass hand mirror that I used to play with). But they have sentimental value simply because they were once in Grandma's house, and they are the only tangible things that still connect me to it.
prosodic: (friends)
Four years ago - just a few days before we left Germany - two friends (one of whom is currently in D.C.) took me out to lunch at one of those restaurants that serves several tiny and artfully plated dishes.

We had some sparkling wine to begin our lunch, and we toasted, "To new beginnings...and friends."

This toast is more true now than it was four years ago. I'm about to embark on another new beginning (and hopefully a much better one than I had here). And where I find my new beginning, I also find my friend who joined me in that toast four years ago. I'm not saying goodbye to her as I was then. Instead, she will be part of my new beginning.
prosodic: (Waterhouse2)
The bad news (unless you're a Michigan fan) - Ohio State lost today. But they put up a damn good fight. Considering our last two games, I wasn't feeling optimistic anyway, but considering we've dominated over the past decade and it looks like we're getting a new coach...well, there's always next year.

Otherwise, it's been a good day. I've been very productive. Two loads of laundry done and one in the washing machine. I bathed both dogs (and cleaned up the aftermath). I am nearly done photographing all of our movies for inventory. And I suppose I'll vacuum at some point when Lance is watching something that's okay to interrupt (he's got one of the Indiana Jones movies on right now).

Lance needed to buy a couple new pairs of Levi's, so we headed to the Levi's Outlet Store at the SuperMall. Fifteen minutes later, Lance had 2 new pairs of jeans, and we popped into the Sprint store there to get car chargers for our phones. They were on sale for $10 each (original price - $29.99). SCORE!

He decided to go to Walmart, even though looking at the parking lot was enough to turn me off from going in. But it wasn't that bad. We made a quick trip to the automotive and electronics departments, but didn't turn up anything he was looking for. Then we got a few groceries. Unfortunately, their bakery is no longer selling pumpkin rolls. They had red velvet cake rolls instead. I suppose that's actually a good thing, since I don't really NEED more dessert. But at least I got the ingredients to make penne alfredo with Italian sausage tomorrow night.

We made a quick stop at Home Depot before going home. I stayed in the car and there was a guy sitting in the parking lot playing guitar. He was just outside our Subaru. He was very talented, actually, so it was nice for me to sit in the car and listen to him play.

Home now and I want to relax this evening. I'm just reheating meatballs for dinner. I think I want to watch Mary Poppins or something this evening, but it's likely that I'll watch it on my laptop. I'm sure Lance will find something he wants to watch tonight, and I'm pretty sure it'll be something that I have absolutely no interest in seeing.