24 February 2011

A Visit from Dad!

Hello, blog world. Thanks to all my friends who have been writing blogs lately...I love it :) Even if I have to coerce them. Sorry, AC! :) And I promise you, our life is not that exciting...I mean, we live in the desert...

This past weekend my Dad was in town to visit! He had to be in Tucson for work last week and this week, and decided to come visit us over the weekend. We had so much fun! We ate some amazing food (don't you love when company comes in town and then you have an excuse to eat at all your favorite restaurants?!); we went to Kiki's, which I think I've mentioned before. It's a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place that's been around for the better half of a century, and it is divine. Dad has come out here a lot before for work, so he knew some good places and took us to a delicious steak house--it was so good. But I promise we did other things than just eating. Saturday we took Dad around and showed him around post and Brian's "footprint"; this is Army lingo that basically means their office buildings that they work out of. We also toured around our side of town and Brian got the rest of his Christmas present: camping gear! Essentials like a rolling cooler and bag chairs--now all we need is rattlesnake repellant. Praise the Lord I have not seen a snake here yet, but I'm just waiting...I mean, we live beside the mountain. I think I need to practice my shovel de-heading skills. Actually, I don't think I'd be that brave. Instead I think if I came across a snake (mind you, a big, poisionous one...) I'd be hightailing it in the other direction! My grandmother did send me a flora/fauna guidebook for the Southwest, and I've been acquainting myself with what lives around us. I thought I had seen a genuine roadrunner the other day, but upon futher investigation it was a quail. But it was a fast quail. My mission is to see one in person, and attempt to chase it-I think that'd be hilarious. Emily and I did see a huge jackrabbit when we first got out here...check out this picture-they are hilarious looking!

Another Southwestern thing we're getting used to are tumbleweeds. Apparently we are approaching the "windy season", where it is typical for us to have straight-line winds between 50-70 miles an hour. I think this season started last night as the whistling wind woke me up 4 times...it's loud! Anywhoo, windy season means lots of tumbleweeds, and Brian and I pummeled two of them as we were coming back from New Mexico (more on this in a minute). The thing is, you have no other option but to hit them, lest you swerve and crash into the car next to you. Sometimes you see them coming, other times you don't. But you always have the reaction of "oh, oh, a tumble... oh no, we're going to hit it!" Poor car paint. Maybe the "scratchy-chic" look is in these days...

So yes, as we encountered our two tumbleweeds, we were returning from a day trip to New Mexico with Dad! We went up to White Sands, NM, which is awesome. Dad has talked about this place for as long as I can remember, and it was so fun to see it in person! Although, the part Dad goes to is restricted so we just went to the state park. White Sands is an old, dried up lake bed that has been replaced with naturally-occuring gypsum sand...which is blindingly white. And since the wind is so crazy, it forms these insane dunes. If you've seen dunes in Florida, those are like pre-schoolers compared to what's at White Sands. They're so huge they rent "sleds", aka, plastic discs, to people so you can sled down them! We didn't do this, but we're planning on going back and sledding! It's kind of a surreal feeling being there; you sort of feel  like you're on the moon...at least, that's how I felt. I'm sure in the summer you feel like you're in the 5th ring of hell, but hey, don't visit the desert in the summer, silly!

After White Sands we drove on to the towns of Alamogordo and Cloudcroft. Cloudcroft is up in the mountains, at an elevation of almost 9,000 ft. Now, to give you a little better perspective: Ft. Benning, GA, is at an elevation of 350 ft. and El Paso is at 3,700 ft. It was a big jump moving here. But guess what is found at 9,000 ft. in the desert? TREES. Beautiful, green, huge trees. I was in heaven. Cloudcroft is a little mountain town with a pretty tiny population, but they rent out lots of cabins and in the winter you can ski there--we even saw some snow!

All in all we had a really fun weekend, and it was great to get out of El Paso, even if just for a bit! It was so great having Dad here to help us around! We're looking forward to our next set of visitors too--Clay and Eric! They've decided to come spend a few days with us out here for part of their Spring Break--we're excited!

On a more mundane level, I had substitute training this past Monday. It went really well and I was really impressed with the amount and quality of training they provided for substitutes! Although, there was no lunch break....I don't do so well without food! Speaking of food, I've found I'm addicted to edamame in their shells. So good. And bonus: it's 99 cents at the store! Buy the kind with Chinese characters...delish. I also have this really yummy citrus turkey dish to share with you all, but as my hunger is growing, I'm going to go fix dinner and I'll post the recipe later! Love you all!

17 February 2011


Here are some pictures of the house! Enjoy the "tour"!

Front door

 View from front door!

Entry way...ignore those boxes...they're for a paintball exercise Brian is in charge of planning!


Looking into the dining/living room

 Clay made the "P" for us...I love it!

Guest bedroom! There's a bathroom to the right.

 Camo litters our house.

Master bedroom

Cramped bathroom!

Guest bathroom downstairs...this place has 2.5 baths--love it!

It's 80 degrees here...

Yes, that is correct: today's temp is probably pushing over 80 degrees. Now, who wants to visit El Paso?...that's what I thought! Although, I'm having a hard time determining appropriate attire for this weather. I mean, it's February 17. People at the grocery store have on shorts and flip-flops, but I just can't do that...I mean, it's February. And these people didn't come from the gym; they're just in their summer clothes. I've even seen some tank tops. And while it's definitely warm enough outside, I just feel crazy wearing this except in the privacy of my home at this time of year! Although, I have considered attempting to lay out...You see, our front door opens to the mountain, and the afternoon sun comes from that direction. I also never see my neighbors, so I think I could get away with a few hours of uninterrupted sun...but I risk my dignity. When we were looking for apartments here, some of the complexes boasted that their pool was open year-round. Yes people, pools in El Paso are open year-round. I now understand why: it's 80 degrees in February. I'm totally OK with this...I'm a sun-lover!

Saturday we had a "Brigade Fun Day" for Brian's entire brigade (about 3,000 soliders + their families). Brian calls this "mandatory fun"...haha! It would've been really fun if we had kids; they had all of the vehicles, guns, mortars, and tanks out for the kids to climb all over and look at. They were precious-I loved watching them shriek and laugh and climb all over this multi-million dollar equipment! The day was beautiful; sunny and warm! And apparently, the UV rays were working their magic too; Brian and I both got sunburned! Not tan, sunburned! We got to see some friends and I got to meet some of the guys who Brian is working with as well as his office, which was really fun. The guys are really nice, but none of them are married! Ha! So I'm flying solo in the "wife" department, although some of them have girlfriends, so I'm remaining hopeful :) One awesome thing of the day is that an incredible organization called "Steaks for Troops" cooked 5,000 steaks for all us....5,000! Apparently they had been working on them since midnight! And honestly, they were pretty good steaks! Definitely worth the wait. Although, we came across a travesty: west Texas does not serve sweet tea. Very sad. Realized this after I took a huge gulp of my tea and subsequently grimaced.

This week has had quite a bit of good news! Dad is in Tucson for business, so he's coming to visit this weekend-very exciting! Plus it means it gave me the final push to finalize the house. I finally got a vacuum cleaner, so hooray my carpets are clean!

Brian and I have found "our" Mexican restaurant! Now I know this sounds ridiculous, but we've been looking for a good one and this place is incredible! It's a hole-in-the-wall that's been here for decades and the food is incredible. We'll take you there when you come :) And, it's really close to our house! In addition, I have found some great "chic food" restaurants, so girls, when you come, I have cutesy, trendy places to eat. Brian doesn't like going to these kinds of places because he says he doesn't get enough to eat at them...haha!

I'm in the process of becoming a substitute at the Canutillo ISD (Independent School District). You have to differentiate between districts in El Paso, because there are 5. Crazy! It's not the closest to our house, but as long as the road in the mountain doesn't close down, then I'll be able to make it to the schools in about 30 minutes. That sounds long, but it takes at least 25 minutes to get just about anywhere here other than the grocery store/gym. But there is a chance that the road could close any morning...the intense wind here causes rock slides. Terrifying.

Today I found out that I am now (drum roll please) a genuine, CERTIFIED TEACHER!...in Mississippi. haha! But hey, I've got the certification, so now I can get the ball rolling on becoming a Texas educator. This whole licensure-transfer thing is a hassle! Apparently there is some legislation in Congress that's trying to allow military spouses who hold licenses (in things like medicine, education, vet med, and others) to have a special license that will easily transfer to other states...praying this goes through, because it's going to save me a lot of time, money, and hassle!

And finally, I have house pictures. But, I need to put them on the computer, so I'm going to post them in just a bit!

10 February 2011


Decided it was time for a blog-background change. This one is called "The Places You'll Go". Thought it was fitting. :) And the colors sort of look "southwestern"...

A loco week here in El Paso!

Well howdy from the Southwest, where we have been experiencing some STRANGE weather. I left off last time telling you about our snow days...they were blissful. We loved them. But, snow melts, ice causes all sorts of problems, and El Paso has found itself in quite the crisis. Much like the South, the Southwest doesn't do this whole "freezing cold/snow" weather. Well, at the end of last week, the electric company began doing rolling blackouts all over El Paso as a result of the terrible weather/fallen lines/other, unknown reasons. Thankfully, Brian and I did not fall victim to no power. But, we did fall victim to no water. El Paso Water had some serious issues last week. The outdoor pipes at their water treatment facility froze and then subsequently busted due to the extreme pressure of the frozen water inside. Here are some pictures. Well, this in turn meant that a lot of us El Pasoans lost our water. Brian and I had great plans to finally check out a church here on Sunday morning....those plans were thwarted due to the fact that we couldn't shower. Didn't want to show up nasty on our first morning there...we then realized that we were due at a Super Bowl party that afternoon at someone's house we had not met before. A few of our other friends were going and we were invited along. Once again, not wanting to scare off new folk, we were faced with a dilemma...So, off to the store Brian went to buy water. According to him, Wal-Mart did not have an empty parking space so he settled for the gas station. We then proceeded to take showers with water bottles...it is really hard to hold a large water bottle while both of your hands are covered with shampoo. I almost had to call in back-up. Thankfully, we made it to the party in a cleanly fashion and had a great time! The girls talked at the table through the entire first half, watched the abismal half-time show, and they decided to tune into the second half so that we could say we watched some of it. The part I was most excited about was the episode of Glee that came on afterwards...which was awesome, by the way.

So back to El Paso's problems. On Monday, the mayor declared a state of emergency concerning our water situation, and mandatorily closed all car washes, laundromats, schools, and several other businesses. We were encouraged not to shower, wash dishes or do laundry. We also had to boil our water if we wanted to drink it...scary stuff floating around... I drew the line at showering--but I showered really fast! And I had reason to shower: I was going to a professional job fair! Which was sort of productive...I think I picked up about 4 brochures to either be a customer service rep for a random company or to be a telemarketer...no, thank you. Although, I have some beef with these companies: A) when running a booth at a job fair, you, the employer, need to have a board or something that tells me what you do. Because I want to find a job, but I also know how to "pre-screen" myself as to if I even want to inquire with your company. Out of the 65 or so companies there, only a handful actually had an informative board that let you know what they did before you got up to their table. Beef #2: I'm obviously looking for a job. You the employer should try to help me understand what types of positions you have available. I can't tell you how many times my friend Nancy and I walked up to a table to be greeting with....nothing. Just a "hi, how are you?" and nothing else. So then we had to awkwardly launch into questions like...can  you tell me more about what your company does? What positions are you trying to fill?...it was quite strange. It was like we were interviewing them...I got a few ideas/leads from this, so we'll see how they pan out!

On an interesting side note: I've been looking for job postings all over the internet, and guess what I found: Emergency Director for the City of El Paso. No wonder we were in such hot water this past week!! The schools just opened up on Tuesday/Wednesday--the kids were out for a whole week! In addition to the water drama, we had a water leak under our sink. Thankfully we have the nicest maintenance men in the whole world and the fixed it for us :)

Ok, I'm about to totally switch gears, but I don't have a good way to segue, so here we go: Brian has been working throughout the days and I typically spend that time putting things away/getting unpacked. Well, the unpacking is completed, and I've just been moving things around now so that I can get them where I want them...especially because my Dad's going to be out here in a week! :) Well, here's a reason to let your husband help you set up the house (or a reason to give him a "tour" of where you put things...) Example 1: when Brian puts away dishes or kitchen-wear, I often go on a scavenger hunt to find them the next time I use them. Example 2: (this is hilarious) So I have this 3-drawer wicker organizer, and I put it right next to our dresser. I decided to put Brian's PT clothes into this organizer as well as his ACU undershirts and socks into it so that all of his Army gear was in one place. I showed this to Brian--remember this. I showed it to him. Even what was in each drawer. Well, last night I was getting ready for bed and I noticed something...Brian's PT shorts were hanging over the edge of the tub, looking like they were drying. Here's our conversation:

I asked him, "Brian, did you wash your PT shorts in the shower tonight?"
He answered yes, to my consternation.
So of course, I asked him why he did this.
His answer: "Well, I can't find all of my PT clothes."
So I asked: "How long has this been going on? Do you wash them every night?
 He replied, "Not every night. Sometimes I wash them in the morning and let them dry in the car."
I countered "But aren't they wet still at PT? (PT here is in the afternoons)"
He said, "Yeah, but it's not too bad."
I remarked, "Brian, you know all your PT clothes are in that organizer; you know, the one RIGHT THERE." He replied, "What??....They're where??...Oh gosh I thought you'd thrown all of them out! I was going to buy new PT's this week because I couldn't find any of mine!"

Oh. my. gosh. We then had a discussion as to why he didn't just ask me...he didn't know. He just figured I'd thrown them away! I told him I'd never throw Army stuff away--it's too expensive! We then (playfully) argued about the fact that I did show him where I'd put them; he still doesn't believe me. I then decided I should tell him where others things are, just in case. I told him his jeans were in the guest bedroom dresser and he said, "Oh yeah I know." (how?) "Oh, I found them when I was looking for my PT clothes."

I was about to die I was laughing so hard. It was hilarious. He told me he didn't want to ask me because he was always looking for them in the morning, when I'm still asleep (hey, it's early!). It was so funny...that boy! I think I'll give him a tour of the house later...you know, show him where his stuff is. I simply told him that this is why he needs to help me put up laundry =)

Hope our mishap makes you laugh :) One last tidbit of good news: Brian got a platoon yesterday! He's now in charge of about 30 guys!

04 February 2011


Okay, I know--I've blogged WAY  too much this week :) But, I am in the midst of selecting photos for a wedding album, and I just had to share a few. It is impossible to narrow down all these pictures! And the ones from the fountain aren't even in this stash! Just wanted to share a few and say a big thank you to everyone who made our wedding day SO. MUCH. FUN! I seriously would do it all over again. I keep trying to talk Brian into renewing our vows... Every time I look through the pictures I want to laugh/cry/dance--it was that much fun. We're coming up on 9 months of marriage, which just seems crazy. This year has absolutely flown by! So, for your viewing enjoyment: May 15, 2010.

The end of the night...ca-razy!

Patrick Franks breaking it down!

The boys

So many didn't get to experience this, but most of the groomsmen/Brian's friends decided to serenade me with "You've lost that love and feeling"...it was amazing.

MSU Buddies!
My trusty bridesmaids starting the dance floor!

My handsome groom!

Family + girlfriends/fiancees!

My girls =)


Goofy boys...

I desperately miss all of you.

How handsome is he... :)

Well, there are just a few from the 700+ pictures, plus all of the additional pictures taken by friends! I have so many favorite memories of the night...A) getting married...duh, B) being surrounded by all of our friends!, C) Paul serving as our personal attendant, D) floating all of the kegs...thanks to mom/the uncles/cousins, this was easily remedied...E) Dancing in the "fountain"!, F) Watching everyone let loose and dance the night away :) G) the fight song as we left...and so, so, so many more! I should probably write them all down so I can remember for years to come! Dear friends I miss all of you so much! Let's have a reunion...

02 February 2011

Going Green (and white!)

So today, we finally got what everyone else in the nation has had...A SNOW DAY! Yes, it snowed in El Paso! Not much, but snow in El Paso is like snow in Alabama/Mississippi: we shut it all down because we don't know what to do... Unfortunately we didn't realize this until after Brian was up and dressed for work and I was awake as well...we made up for it by deeming today a movie day and lounging in our PJ's--my kind of day! And there's really no motivation to go outside...it is freezing. The temperature is somewhere in the 20's I think, but the windchill is biting! The wind blows all the time here, but when it's freezing outside, it really cuts through you! That's why I've chosen to be wrapped up in my blanket all day :)

So the Page household has begun to "go green", but not in the way that you might think. Yes, we are earth friendly, but this kind of green is more of a struggle for me...VEGETABLES. Yep, until about 4 years ago, the only vegetables I would eat were potatoes and tomatoes, and both of those can be argued into another food category other than vegetables...miraculously, a few years ago I craved a salad, and my life changed. Prior to that, eating a salad made me feel like a rabbit...and all other vegetables I harvested I used to "create" dishes in my playhouse with Emily. They usually consisted of vegetables and then other inedible things, like sand. And dirt.

But, as I grow up I know it's important to eat my veggies...sorry to my bones. I take calcium and iron vitamins, so no worries :) Recently there was an article in Real Simple about 25 superfoods that we should attempt to incorporate into our diets. Some things appeared appetizing, others, not so much...I figure we'll just chip away at the list. I have had success with two of the "superfoods" this week: edamame and kiwi! Now, I'm a fruit addict, so kiwis were no problem. And since they're $0.20 each at the comissary (the grocery store on post), I have been gorging myself. They're kind of a pain to get the fruit out, but I've discovered a new use for my vegetable peeler... let's be honest- it wasn't getting that much use anyways...

Some of the other superfoods include quinoa (gotta learn how to cook this first...but it's a classy food...I mean, the chefs on Top Chef use it all the time.), salmon, all sorts of berries (pumped about this!) and all sorts of other things. Some things I'm not too excited about: kale, mushrooms (it's a consistency thing...), eggs (I try, but I only like them in things...not on their own...), chard, and sardines (gross.) Although, I have had a traumatic experience with sardines. When Brian and I first started dating, we were hanging out in his dorm room with his roommate, Harry. Well, Harry "went to the bathroom", and Brian leaned over to give me a hug-or so I thought. Instead, he clamped down on me and yelled "Harry, come on--I've got her!", to which I then saw Harry running out of the bathroom, laughing, with a huge sardine on a fork. They attempted to shove it into my mouth. And I married this man?...Yes. I believe I demanded Bop's as a form of apology. Oh, and they failed in their mission--I'm a good squirmer.

Some of the superfoods I'm excited about and that maybe you can use too: oatmeal, whole grain pasta (hey, I used this too this week!), skim milk (yep, can't do this either...), walnuts, peanut and/or almond butter, barley, lentils, bulgur, almonds, nonfat greek yogurt, chicken breasts (skinless, boneless), broccoli, blueberries, avocados, black beans, sweet potatoes, EVOO, kidney beans, oranges, spinach, and pumpkin! Not too bad a list of superfoods! And yes, I don't like milk...I know, I know-I've been given heat about it for going on 24 years now... :)

So dream team--get to cooking! And share those recipes--haha! Anyways, I thought quite a few of these ingredients you might already have in your kitchen and could incorporate easily. And I hear that you can make kale chips...perhaps that's the only way I'll ever eat them...I'll let you know if I find some crafty ways to use these. Since I have no job, I suppose I'll cook :) Or bake...I reallly prefer to bake. Too bad things like sugar, chocolate chips, and icing didn't make the list. Sugar-free?...

Well, off to watch Top Chef Masters. I'm not too big into following TV shows, but Brian and I really like Top Chef. But most of the things they make I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like....

Here's to hoping for snow day #2 tomorrow! Hope you're all staying warm and doing well!