Just a few events on the calendar last week which was a good thing because Vic and I were still car-sharing. Tuesday was the monthly meeting of my local spouses' group and we had great speakers from the Chaplains' office (lots of great information on marriage and personal enrichment retreats coming up) and from the Military Spouse Priority Placement Program (in case anyone is thinking about looking for work). Thursday night was the first Hail and Farewell in several months. The ship's Wardroom gets together to say Hail to the new officers reporting onboard and Farewell to those leaving. We met at a local tavern that had great root beer (for us) among many other brews on tap and yummy barbecue (beef brisket to die for!) and had a very enjoyable evening. I met Vic's Department Head for the first time so it's nice to put a face to the name he's been talking about for the last two months.
Saturday was a busy day for both of us. We convoyed to the auto repair shop to drop Vic's truck off and then he dropped me at my meeting and headed off to work. I belong to the local chapter of the Navy Wives Clubs of America (NWCA) and we had our regular monthly meeting and then a Meet & Greet event to spread the word about our organization. The purpose of NWCA is to unite all sea service enlisted wives into bonds of mutual friendship, assistance and welfare for their families, bases, and communities in which they live. Although regular membership is limited to wives and widows of enlisted active duty, reserve, and retired sailors, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen, associate membership is open to those who are interested in the objectives and aims of NWCA (that would be me). Our big project every year is fundraising for Wreaths Across America, with the goal of laying a wreath on the grave of every veteran in over 1000 cemeteries nationwide.
The Meet & Greet had only a few new spouses in attendance but that's how we are growing, slowly but surely. The organization has been around since 1936 (hence the term "wives" instead of "spouses") but I'm surprised at how few people know about it. I learned about it only about four years ago as there always seem to be a myriad of other spouse organizations to join but this one is unique in that it is a national organization so wherever the Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard takes you, you can find a local chapter (or be a Member at Large if there isn't a chapter near you) and connect with other spouses right away. It's been my experience that when we arrive in a brand-new area, usually knowing no-one, until Vic reports to his command and finds out if there is a spouse group or a Family Readiness Group, I find myself searching for the information and going cold turkey to a meeting where I know no-one and don't know what to expect. Although the experience has pretty much been positive each time, it would have been so nice to connect with a group before I arrived in the new area and have resources to turn to if I have questions. That being said, Facebook has opened up this opportunity somewhat as spouses in many areas have a group that you can join. That was the case here in Washington and I am very grateful to our local group. We found our rental house on the group and I was able to ask questions to prepare us for this area.
Back to the Meet & Greet, yummy food, fun games, great prizes, what more can I say? Vic picked me up and as his truck was not ready yet, we headed home to wait for the call to pick it up which came just before 6:00pm. New radiator, new radiator hoses, ouch, that made a dent in the budget, but never mind, it was less than we expected so we headed out to dinner. I should back up a little to Friday when Vic brought home the list of possible new assignments. I know we've only been here six months but with his schedule, getting penciled in for something now would be great and one less thing to worry about as his schedule gets even crazier in the months to come. So, top three on the list are Italy, Spain and Guam - how exciting is that! I tell you this now so that you can understand what a great dinner we had on Saturday night with those options as our topic of conversation. We headed over to our local tapas bar (immersing ourselves in the Mediterranean already!) and had a fabulous array of dishes to delight the palate. I am sorry I didn't take photos but I will next time. I thought tapas was Spanish for "little bites" or something like that but no, according to trusty Wikipedia, it means "to cover".
According to The Joy of Cooking, the original tapas were the slices of bread or meat which sherry drinkers in Andalusian taverns used to cover their glasses between sips. This was a practical measure meant to prevent fruit flies from hovering over the sweet sherry. The meat used to cover the sherry was normally ham or chorizo, which are both very salty and activate thirst. Because of this, bartenders and restaurant owners began creating a variety of snacks to serve with sherry, thus increasing their alcohol sales. The tapas eventually became as important as the sherry.
We began with roasted mixed olives and marinated Manchego cheese. I had Manchego at a Spanish luncheon I went to in Norfolk and loved it. Vic is not much of a cheese eater but he really enjoyed it too. Then came clams with chorizo, sea bass skewers with salsa verde and roasted pepper coulis, focaccia bread for scooping up the sauces, salmon mousse with crostini, and the best tasting calamari a la planche. A couple of glasses of sparking wine for me and soft drinks for my designated driver, and lots of lovely conversation about Italy, Spain, and Guam made for a very enjoyable evening. Just in case you think that we had to roll ourselves out of the restaurant after that lot, let me go back to the "little bites" reference and tell you that that's exactly what they were - a few bites of each item.
Up early on Sunday and off to work for Vic for a few hours to train one of his crew on something, a new piece of equipment I think. I hopped out of bed and got straight on the phone with my friend in Naples (nine hour time difference so it was late afternoon for her) to get the Everything You Need to Know about Living in Naples lowdown. Three hours later, I am so ready to go! Where's my passport? Fingers crossed, good news coming soon. It was another gorgeous day here in the Pacific Northwest so we took a short drive up to the Point No Point Lighthouse and walked around for a bit and drove past some houses with spectacular views.
|Sitting on piece of driftwood on the beach with the lighthouse behind us|
|The Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage which is a vacation rental|
Home for lunch and an afternoon of miscellaneous jobs and that was the end of another weekend.
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