Wednesday, March 25, 2009

US Diplomacy at its Finest

We have been crazy busy the last week or so. This is the first time I have had to sit down since Friday. Last week, Nicole had her best friend from college, Aubrey out to visit. My brother Eric came down at the same time. He picked Aubrey up from the airport in DC and rode down with her. He also picked up Nicole's new bike from REI. We don't have an REI down here, so we had to order it up there and have Eric play Fed Ex. I will let Nicole go into detail on the weekend, but I will post one picture of my highlight.

Look at the size of those shrimp!

On Monday, we had a very special patriotic family home evening and simultaneously fulfilled one of my boyhood dreams. One of our good friends here is in the Navy and took us on board his ship--CVN #77 The George H. W. Bush. The George H. W. Bush is the newest and last Nimitz class carrier in the Navy's fleet. It was just christened in January just before Bush Jr. left office, so it still has that new carrier smell. This is foreign policy at its best; for those who believe in the 'speak softly and carry a big stick' ideology, this is the perfect stick.

Looks huge right? Unfortunately, huge does not do it justice. It's 20 stories tall.

it has 47,000 tons of steel and over a million pounds of aluminum.

it can hold 80 jets and 6,000 people--or about twice the population of Enoch (US 2000 Census).

it has two nuclear reactors.

We went on board and saw all sorts of cool things and we climbed lots and lots of stairs. It was by far one of the coolest things I've seen since we've been here. This is by far an engineering masterpiece. It certainly a utilitarian design--weapons are brought through the cafeteria up to the flight deck. I honestly can't think of anything that I would enjoy more than to sit down for nice bite to eat and as I enjoy my dinner watch some sidewinders or some JDAMs go by on a trolley on their way to fulfilling the measure of their creation. Below are some of the pictures we took.

Our good friends the Browns

Nicole going throug a hatch. There were lots of these.

A jet on the deck

Me riding the anchor chains

Nicole steering the boat with the backup steering wheel

Nicole Sitting in the Admiral's chair.

The deck at night

A gorgeous Virginia Sunset over the Bay

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How you like them Apples?

So it's Relief Society night at church which means I can be found at the same place I was a little over a year ago before I met Nicole: eating a box of macaroni and cheese straight out of the pan I cooked it in. I've been meaning to turn 'relief society night' into 'listening to smooth jazz in a bubble bath while eating fancy cheeses night,' but seeing as how I don't have any jazz, bubble bath, or fancy cheese I fell back into my old habits rather quickly.

However, I think I should fill everyone in on our most recent adventure. On Sunday, Nicole and I returned from New York. We went lots of places. Please note, this report is filled with superlatives--I really mean all of them. Nicole took a day off, so we left on Thursday night. We took the night bus from Newport News to China town. We arrived on Friday morning at 6:30am. My friend Taylor met us in China town, then after getting lost on the subway, took a cab back to his apartment on 80th and 1st ave. Taylor and Morgan were great hosts the whole time we were there. They were very kind and took excellent care of us.

For breakfast on Friday, we went to a small diner and had great breakfast. All of the food was really good. My favorite part of the breakfast was the sausage. They were as thick as bratwursts but still really short. After breakfast, we took the subway back down to Rockafellar center where we went to the top of the Rock for a nice view of the NYC skyline. Although it was a little cool, it was a gorgeous day, and a great day to look at the city. The view was second to none. I am always astounded at how big the city actually is. On our way back to the subway, we stopped by Magnolia's. It's a bakery that is famous for cupcakes. Nicole and I had a cheesecake, which I have to say was the best I have ever had.

Nicole and I in Rockafeller Center

Amazingly good cupcakes at Magnolia's

The Empire State Building

Central Park in the middle of the city

Our friends Morgan and Taylor

Nicole and I on top of the Rock

Then, we went back to Chinatown to Canal Street. Canal street is where you buy all the cheap knock-off stuff. We saw lots of fake watches and purses. One guy tried really hard to sell me a leather belt. Although I am in need of a new belt, and I liked the one he had, it was far too small to fit around my waist. I guess by Chinese standards I'm fat.

After Canal street, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe for lunch which was very good. After lunch, we headed back to the apartment. Up next was a wonderful afternoon of grooming. Nicole and Morgan went to get a manicure, while Taylor and I went to get a shave. This was my first time getting a straight razor shave; they are fairly uncommon nowadays. It was quite the experience. At first, I will admidt, I was a little nervous. I could tell how sharp the razor was as he worked it around my face and neck. At the beginning, I just focused on not moving so he didn't slice into one of my arterys. But after a short minute, I was able to relax, and it became very pleasant. When he finished with the razor, my face was burning slightly. Instead of using a normal aftershave, they take a bottle of alchol and mist it into the air infront of your face and then blow it at you with the blow dryer. It felt incredible. It was the best shave I have ever had. I would recommend every guy get one at least once in their lives.

Nicole and Morgan with their sweet Nails

Morgan and Taylor on the subway

After our shaves and the manicures, we went and got a pizza for the evening and relaxed for a bit. The pizza was great and came from a great NY style pizza just around the corner from Taylor and Morgan's apartment. After dinner, Nicole and I went back down to Time Square to enjoy the night. It was lots of fun to be surrounded by all the lights. We didn't end up buying anything, but had a good time walking around. After we got done, we were both pretty tired, and decided to take a cab back instead of the subway.

Nicole and I in Time Square

On Saturday, we had a lazy morning. We went and got the best danishes we have ever had. Then Nicole and I went down to the temple. The Manhattan temple is small but absolutely gorgeous. It is now one of my favorites. The temple was really busy, so we were there for a little while. When we got back to the apartment, we changed than met up with Taylor and Morgan for lunch at a little Italian place that had the best Italian food I have ever eaten. Afterward we all went down to see Blue Man Group. Blue Man Group was phenomenal. It was worth every penny we paid. The theater we saw it in was small: only 12 seats wide by 3o rows with a balcony. So it meant that the performance was really interactive. It was tons of fun. On the way home, we grabbed some really good carrot cake and cannolis.

Morgan and Nicole with one of the Blue Man Group

Nicole and I with one of the Blue Man Group

On Sunday we went to church in the morning and then had a relaxing jaunt around Central park. We left from central park in a cab back to China town to catch the bus home. I have decided that I never want to be a cab driver. It seems like the most stressful job in the world as they are on the perpetual verge of smashing head long into someone or something. There are no real lanes in any of the streets, and everyone bacsically just drives where no one else is. We climed climbed off the bus exhausted and happy to be back at home. All in all it was a great trip.

Nicole and I in Central Park

Nicole at the bus station in China town ready to go home

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Plethora of Portions

I wanted to do a quick update because we haven't blogged for so long. First of all, I had a birthday! I am officially 23. I've distanced myself yet another year from the elusive 15 year old that people still confuse me with. But, it was a wonderful day. My husband took me up to the DC temple, it's what I asked for, and then we went out to eat with his brother at Buca di Beppo. He also gave me tickets to see the Russian National Ballet of Cinderella, which we went to yesterday, and I loved it. I love ballet. And Matt found it entertaining too, especially the men in tights. One of his comments of the night was, "I can't do that, I'll clap for him!"

A highlight of last month: one of my best friends from college came home from her mission in Texas last week!! We started a tradition before she left of making Love Dumplings for Valentine's Day. It turned out excellent, better than we had hoped; however, the unlucky effect took place of it turning the exact same shade as Pepto Bismol so our roommates wouldn't eat it. I decided I was going to keep the tradition and I made it for Matt for V-Day. And I have a strong-stomached husband who likes my random amusements and he said it looked wonderful and ate it and loved it. Happy Valentines!

A gift to Matthew this year for Christmas was tickets to the Monster Jam. It was awesome and loud! So many men with their sons. Matt brought me earplugs so that I'm not deaf at an early age. He refused some. Boys. It was fun, one of the trucks tipped over, one caught on fire, one lost a wheel, one lost a drive shaft. It was wild and crazy. At one point Matt was shaking because he was so excited.

This week we were also given a wonderful Christmas miracle, a snow day! One with real snow in it. Matt and I woke up at 5:30 am on Monday morning to the brilliant recorded voice of Hampton City Schools telling me to go back to bed, sleep in late, wake up stress-free, make a wonderful breakfast with your husband, read Harry Potter VII, make muffins, bread, and tortellini, laugh maliciously at all the people who had to go to work multiple days this year with feet of snow on the ground, go to the mall and see signs that read "will close at 3:30 due to inclement weather", and then go home and smile because Virginia and its anxieties have given you one more full fun day with your amazing husband.