Monday, July 26, 2010

i'll pass on the twigs and wild berries.

For the next week and half, R is sort of in the "fun" part of API. He's done with the academic portion and now he's learning CPR, land survival, and going through the altitude chamber and the dunker. Well, today he took a break from learning which plants to eat if he's stranded in the desert to eat lunch with me at the Naval Aviation Museum (his home away from home).

There's a restaurant in the museum called the Cubi Bar Cafe. It's a replicate of a famous Officers Club on a base in the Philippines that was the place for aviators in Vietnam and on. The tradition for squadrons who were passing through on their WestPac tour was to hang up their squadron plaque in the bar. When the base closed down in the early nineties, the hundreds of plaques were donated to the museum and hung exactly as they were in the original bar. It's a nice place to eat as well as a cool exhibit in the museum.

A shot of the bar.

The menu featured such clever names as "Mach 1", "T4 Trainer Dog", and the "Flight Deck Sandwich". Delicious and exciting!

R checking out some of the call signs on the plaques. There were some real gems.

Back to class after a little lunch and inspiration.

Bet he's wishing there were T4 Trainer Dogs in the desert.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

earning my paycheck.

Temperature goes up. Local Speed of Sound (LSOS) goes up.
Altitude goes up. Pressure goes down.
Standards go up. Blood pressure goes up.

After 4 weeks of continuous classes, a countless number of the above types of comparisons are crammed into my head. (Besides the last one on the list which is my truthful addition.)

The brutal month of classes really left the Navy with the best student pilots they can get. 2 Marine pilots failed the first Aerodynamics and by the end, 3 Navy pilots couldn’t meet the standards; one guy missed it by 1%. The class from the week before us lost 6 Navy pilots. If you missed any more than 4 questions out of 50 per exam, your career is over before it even started. I’ve never seen margins that narrow or stakes that high. And the exams aren’t comprised of just any old simple questions. They are convoluted, intentionally tricky questions written to trip people up. And with only 50 minutes given, I felt I was under a time crunch as well. The Navigation exam still had 50 questions and was 2 hours and 10 minutes, but even that wasn’t enough time. My 6 exam grades averaged out to be 95%, including a 100% on Aerodynamics II.

Classes all day and averaging 2 exams per week, plus lots of swimming took a toll on everyone. We are glad it is done, and upon completion, we were rewarded...

Our first gear issue included all brand new swag that added up to over $3,000. Included in that is the following:

-4 Flight Suits (two green, two tan) ($141 each)
-Flight Helmet with swivel mic ($863)
-Leather Flight Boots
-Aviator Sunglasses
-2 pairs of Flight Gloves
-2 pairs of fire retardant underwear ($80 a set)
-Green Flight Jacket
-Leather Bomber Jacket (which I’m pretty sure is a prop from the movie Top Gun)
-Log Book
-Knee Board
-Helmet Bag and Flight Bag

Thanks for Christmas in July, Uncle Sam.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

first annual anniversary.

Two years ago today, R was craving a Dreamsicle smoothie. When the place he wanted to try was "unexpectedly" closed, he suggested we just go to Alterra on the Lake. As we sat and sipped our smoothies, nothing seemed at all out of the ordinary. R calmly chatted and waited for me to notice something rather important written on the drink sleeve of my smoothie. When I finally did, he asked me to be his wife.

One year ago today, after lots of planning and a little stressing out, I put on a white dress and R met me at the end of the aisle and in front of our family and friends, we promised to love each other until our days run out. We had a big party, danced to some Beyonce, and just like that we were married.

And here we are, three states, two apartments, and 1000 miles later and we made it to the one year mark. We got lots of great advice last year; don't go to bed angry, always say I love you... But there was a lot we weren't prepared for; like without air conditioning, I make it hard to love me. And R doesn't like sharing his toothpaste. Or blankets. Most importantly, no one really told us that it was going to be hard to be so far away from family and friends, or how tough flight school was going to be, or how strange it would be to move to a different city, or just how bad the job market was going to be. So we've had to figure some things out on our own. We've learned how to support each other better, and how to laugh when things get a little too serious, how to encourage one another when things get tough, and mostly, that we're in this adventure together.

Not bad for the first year.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

whiz wheelin'.

We had a spontaneous visit from Brad this weekend. Valerie and Noah are visiting her family in Virginia, so it was just him and Billy. We always welcome visits from our loved ones (hint hint) and we enjoyed relaxing, hanging out, and sleeping in. However, future aviators do not have the luxury of relaxing for an entire weekend, especially not with a navigation exam looming in the days ahead. So, in an effort to practice and study, R thought it would benefit him to teach Brad and I some navigation calculations such as finding your true air speed and drift angle and headwind using a tool called a Whiz Wheel. Well, it took me about 6 minutes before I lost interest, but Brad actually understood it right away and before long, he was figuring out the calculations like a pro.

The guys sat there figuring out wind speeds and angles for hours. Obviously, Brad was impressed with himself for being able to pick up a pretty tough concept in such a short time and R was impressed with himself for knowing the information well enough to teach it effectively.

Billy and I weren't so impressed seeing as it was past 1am and navigation goes way over our heads...

We can't all be Whiz's.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the joy of cooking.

Sorry about the hiatus. Since I am sans job these days, it's been hard to fit in blog updates in between all my busy afternoons of watching Grey's Anatomy reruns and wandering around Target looking for things I can't live without. Hey, you play the hand you're dealt, right? However, my abundant free time has allowed me to discover a little something in life that I had previously avoided at all costs: cooking!

You see, I come from a line of women who are fantastic cooks. My mom can take chicken breasts and garlic and turn it into something heavenly. My grandma could get even the pickiest skeptics to enjoy exotic treats. Even my sister inherited the gift! Not me, though. Before my married days, I had happily survived on Captain Crunch, pizza rolls, and take out. And then I got married. Turns out the way to my man's heart is through his stomach and the way to his stomach is not a dinner of Toaster Strudels...
So, armed with way too much time and a hungry man to feed, I have been cooking. And baking! Along with the burgers I conquered a while back, here are some of my other masterpieces.

Cinnamon Streusel muffins.

Chocolate Chip cookies. (Psst...These are from today. I'm going to eat some right after I finish this post...)

Cinnamon Raisin bread. Particularly exciting because I have never made anything I had to knead or rise. Most of my baking adventures were usually found in a box with the words "Funfetti" on the front.

Coca-Cola Cake. A little treat my sister introduced to us. R requested it after passing a swim test a while back. Also my first non-box cake. Very decadent.

Today's dinner in celebration of Bastille Day; Croque Monsieur with green beans. It's basically a fancy ham and Swiss sandwich.

I know from these pictures it looks like all I feed R is baked goods, but I swear I make real dinners, too! I've made a yummy rigatoni with spicy Italian sausage, homemade pizzas, chicken enchiladas, a cheesy salsa skillet... I think they're just so mouth watering when they come out that we can't bother to take out the camera! I guess this post is just my way of assuring R's family that I'm not making him live off Lean Cuisines and Oatmeal Cream Pies. He's being taken care of by a wife that loves him enough to master the kitchen for him!

Cari Crocker, out.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

a first time for everything.

On this quiet Tuesday evening, after a long day that involved a tough weather exam and looking forward to a night filled with more studying for tomorrow's aero exam, all R wanted was a delicious burger. But when would he find the time to make one with all the studying he had to do? Firing up the grill, getting everything ready, then grilling the burgers to juicy perfection takes time! That's when I stepped in and lovingly said, "Honey, I've never once grilled a thing in my life, but I'll do it for you! Now hand me that charcoal!" Hey, I'm just trying to be a wonderful, supportive wife.

Okay, not exactly... Actually, he asked me to make the burgers and I whined a little before agreeing. (Somebody has to watch E! True Hollywood Stories!) But the point is, I agreed to grill burgers and I'd never done that before! (Grilled burgers, that is. I have in fact agreed to do things for R before.) I even got the coals ready and everything! Turns out it's really not blog worthy as it's pretty simple and straightforward, but that's still not the point!

Watch out, Bobby Flay.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

happy independence day!

I just love the 4th of July! They say it's a holiday to celebrate the 3 F's; food, friends, and fireworks. Well, this year we're celebrating 2 F's and an S; food, fireworks, and studying. R has been holed up all weekend cramming for a weather exam and an aero exam. Poor guy. But today he gets to take a much needed break to grill up some BBQ burgers and corn on the cob, then we'll head down to the beach for fireworks tonight. Just a quiet weekend with the two of us and all his books.

But I managed to keep busy last night while R was studying by making some festive cookies. He took a quick break to help decorate some. (And by decorate, I mean frost one then eat one, frost another, eat another...) Here's a couple pics of the finished product.

We hope you are all enjoying your 4th with the friends and food you love!