Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lovin' the List {and welcome from the Springpad blog!}

DIY journal

Welcome to those that came over from the Springpad Blog feature on how I use it to keep me on task! I do love how Springpad has allowed me to keep my information, to-do lists and important documents on hand on all of my electronic devices. If you are a regular Way off Base reader (and I invite you to be, if you are not!), check out the article!

I was asked in a comment on my last post what resources I use for my list making and I wanted to share my favorite resources on the web for all things moving or general task mastering. I typically don't use any source verbatim or exactly how they present it but these resources present good info that you can work out for yourself.  And what better way to share those things but in a good ole' list?


** Can't recommend Tsh from Simple Mom enough...they are a family with young kids that have moved around the world (and the US) a couple of times so her website has TONS of great information on moving overseas, traveling with kids, etc.

Day-to-Day Organization

Hope those lists and resources help you plan an upcoming move (or just use the summer to get organized!) Use what format works best for you, or a combination: apps, online tools (Springpad!) or a paper notebook or journal!
What resources for moving or other big projects do you use? Any favorite websites or links you have to share? I would love to check them out!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Morning

Common by June Vintage
Common, a photo by June Vintage on Flickr.
When I worked, I dreaded Mondays.

(Although, in law enforcement, there was no actual "Monday" that began your week...just a technical day that began your strange rotation of days and hours that we called a "work week.")

Now, I rather look forward to the week beginning. It brings a organized schedule and a prospect of goals accomplished. The weekend and its cleaning, family chores and later bedtimes comes to an end and Monday is a reprieve. Monday is the cool down from the last game and the warm up for the next.

This week is our last in this place and the hard work of the pack out and clean up is done. The next weeks bring fun (Disney World! Road trips!) and family (we get to stay with both sets of grandparents during this time.) So, I feel like I am sitting on a bigger, theoretical Monday for our journey to Guyana. The not so fun stuff (traveling on a plane with a 3 year old and two Jack Russell Terriers top the list, closely followed by the having-to-live-in-a-hotel-when-we-get-there) is coming. But I have my calendar all written out, my to-do lists are in order, and I, like on every Monday, feel prepared.

I know that, by Wednesday or Thursday, I will be ready for the weekend. Goals and plans may have had to be altered. So, in this parallel/theoretical week, it will be right about the time that I am flying solo from one state to the other with the kid while the husband is eating out on the Navy's per diem in DC.

But that is how the week rolls sometimes, isn't it? And that is what makes me good for this "job" of "trailing spouse." I organize and plan. I write lists and take orders. But I am equally good at learning to be flexible when the time comes (although I recognize that it takes more effort to maintain that flexibility the older I become.) I can take command as easily as I understand how this (often rigid) process goes, moving via the government.

Just like I know when I write on my Monday morning meal plan that I intend on making a 3 course-dinner on Thursday, I most likely will be eating, exhausted, over a bowl of cereal. That may be how this next "week" goes before we get in Guyana. I have goals: I aim to exercise through each little move, to blog this transition, to take more pictures. Maybe it will happen, maybe I will just get an A for Effort.

But, the best things about Mondays? I will get another "beginning" at the start of next week.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Celebrating BFF's {and a giveaway!}

my morning routine! by June Vintage
my morning routine!, a photo by June Vintage on Flickr.
I hated The Babysitter's Club when I was growing up....
More specifically, I liked reading the books but could not figure out for the life of me how people could be friends for so long and be that close! As a third-culture kid growing up overseas, friends came and went and the idea of life-long friends totally baffled my mind. But, as a grown up, knowing we will move in 2-3 years, I have matured in how I view the whole BFF thing...and I celebrate the friends that I have who I don't see often but still email each other when no one else "would quite understand." I celebrate the friends that I made here in such a short period of time but will forever be counted as some of my best friends. When you move often, friendship becomes something other than what it is often defined as in books and movies. But that makes it all the sweeter! Isn't friendship the best when you can be away from each other and when you are back together, it feels like no time has passed?? {and thank goodness for email, Facebook, and Skype!}

quiet time

And to celebrate the best friends in our lives- a giveaway!

I fell in love with Amanda of Mrs McPorkChop Quilts a long time ago: her quilting skills, her photography, her lovely blog. And getting to "know" her online, I must say that she is one of the nicest people in the quilting/sewing world. She and her best friend, Ashleigh, started The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery to sell some of the cutest little {embroidery and quilting} patterns around.

They, so generously, have given me two patterns to {digitally} giveaway on my blog to my readers and I couldn't be more thrilled.

My favorite Frosted Pumpkin pattern is their Venti Mug Rug pattern...perfect for using up those scraps and makes great little gifts for the BFF's in your life that you love to gab with over a cuppa joe {even if it is via Skype!}. Seriously, the pattern is well written, the perfect size for someone who has never done any quilt piecing before.

The second pattern I love is this cute embroidery pattern: peanut butter and jelly BFF's! I think this would be perfect on a placemat for the kiddo! {Or as a crafty project for those older kids missing their BFF's from their last school...}

To enter, simply leave a comment with YOUR best friend comment/story. (Are you a military/foreign service spouse? Did you move away from your BFF when you were a kid? How do you stay in contact with your BFF's now? I want to know!)
Extra entry: follow this blog and leave a separate comment letting me know you are following Way off Base.
{Giveaway ends on Sunday at 9pm EST}

{And big thanks to Amanda and Ashleigh for the giveaway opportunity!}

Thursday, June 23, 2011

{Shoe} Minimalism

  by June Vintage
photo: June Vintage on Flickr.
What I am loving right now: my Kork-Ease Ava wedges..Natural color matches everything, dresses up or goes casual...perfect when living out of a suitcase and down to the bare minimum!

{PS...I just did this whole post with my new love fest!}
{PPS...I really need a pedicure.}

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Less is more...

Skeldon market, Guyana
{Skeldon Market, Guyana: Source}

Do you ever have a moment where you wish you were Julia Sugarbaker? You know, where you can come back with the perfect come-back, standing up for injustice or insult with eloquence and grace? I still soliloquize in my mind after these moments, knowing that I failed to respond in the correct amount of time to whatever set me off. I have had lots of these moments lately and the most have derived from comments relating to the assumed deprivation we will experience in our move to Guyana.

It is true: it is the 3rd poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. We will experience heat without the promise of constant air conditioning. Roads are supposedly few and in disrepair. Movies, malls and material things are lacking or nonexistent. There will no longer be trips to stadium-sized book stores for playtime at the train table for my son and a Grande Mocha Latte for me.  No more impulse buys at Target or “Everything on Sale” sales. {And has anyone else noticed that everything is not on sale at these sales?}

But here is another truth: I am actually looking forward to these things (inconsistent air conditioning aside.) More specifically, I look forward to all the things and experiences that will fill the voids caused after removing the Targets and Starbucks from my daily routine. I hope to work in some capacity when we get there and I look forward to being a part of the humanitarian missions of the embassy, USAID or the Peace Corps going on around me. I look forward to learning how to pick out the best piece of fruit-I’ve-never-even-heard-of-yet at the farmer’s market. I can’t wait to smell the food being sold by the food carts on the street and from the open doorways of homes. Here, in America, our shopping experience is sterile and controlled. I want my senses to not be controlled by marketing but by the colors and sounds of the marketplace. What is in season? What is ripe this week? Will the lady selling her cassavas tell me her favorite recipe? Will a man at another booth sneak my son a bite of his mango? I hope so. And I venture to say that it will be these moments that will last longer in memories than the oh-so-cool-only-a-$1 junk we picked up at Target last week.

Yes, there will be many things that we will go without. In reality, thanks to the good ole’ internet, we will have access to almost anything. But when we make a purchase from Target or Amazon online, the choices and decisions will be more intentional. Yes, that means that there will be less stuff. But how much more will we be experiencing because of it?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

{Sunday Dreaming} Mosquito Netting

                                     Source: via Keri on Pinterest

Sunday dreaming of how beautiful I picture our {mandatory} mosquito netting will be in our home... 
{I am ignoring the fact that they recommend soaking the nets in Deet before hanging them up...yuck...}

                           Source: via Andrea on Pinterest

                                       Source: via BrownPaper on Pinterest
                         Source: via Michelle on Pinterest

A girl can dream, right?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Crap, I forgot to pack my calling cards...

{commentary by yours truly}

In view of the confusion arising among many junior officers' wives from reading various books on Naval Etiquette, which sometimes contain conflicting and even out-of-date information, the Fleet Officers' Wives Committee has compiled this booklet in response to numerous questions submitted to it.

{Damned junior officers' wives...they are always screwing up Naval Etiquette. Good thing there is a committee to respond...}

Calling Cards:

 In Navy life...calls are still expected and, for very sound reasons, should be made. By means of these social calls, Navy families become quickly acquainted in their new surroundings. In general, we follow the old civilian custom of leaving cards at the first call...

The wife's card is engraved with "Mrs." And her husband's full name. The use of a joint card is acceptable.

If there is a servant answering the door, hand the cards to him. Never hand cards to members of the family.


You are expected to call on your husband's commanding officer and his family, the executive officer and his family, as well as your husband's department head and his family. There is no specific order for making your calls.

When a call is made, a suit or simple afternoon dress, hat, gloves, and stockings are correct attire for you. Your husband may wear either a civilian suit or a uniform, as indicated by the custom of the station. Sport clothes are not acceptable. (There may be exceptions to this rule in hot climates.) If you are in doubt, do not hesitate to ask.

{Thank goodness we are going to hot a climate so I can call in my "sport clothes."}

Never take your children with you.

{I guess the servant is watching the children.}

Receptions and other official functions

The gentleman takes the lady to the receiving line. It is considered discourteous to go through the line smoking or with a glass in your hand. If the receiving line is long, you may decide to have a drink first and go through the line later. This is quite all right at large receptions, but you should go through the line, and you should deposit your glass and cigarette before doing so.

Gloves may be removed before going through the receiving line, if you prefer, or may be worn. Your attire on such occasions should be conservative, and hats are optional, depending on the hour.

Those in the receiving line should not receive with drinks or cigarettes in their hands.

It is always the obligation of junior officers and their wives to seek out and speak to their seniors.

Other parties

While you may have the best-behaved children in town, it is still an imposition on your hostess to take them to an adult party.

{Of course not, with all the drinking and smoking everyone can't put down...}

Don't hesitate to invite senior officers and their wives. They should be invited, and they will be happy to come if possible. Don't always expect the senior officers and their wives to do all of the entertaining. In military as well as in civilian life, you are expected to repay your obligations.

{Oh, those nice senior officers...they are always so generous, throwing parties all the time!}


The following is a basic guide to attire for less formal occasions:

(1). Coffees…A suit or simple dress. Here hats are optional. Shorts, slacks, bobby socks, etc., are never acceptable, unless specifically indicated by the hostess.

(2). Luncheons…A suit or simple dress, stockings, hat, and gloves.

(3). Teas…A simple afternoon dress or suit, hat, gloves, and stockings.

(4). Cocktail parties…Hats are not generally worn. The formality of your cocktail dress will be dictated by the custom of the area. Gloves and stockings are correct.

(5). Dinners…Semi-formal…Would require black tie for men and a short or long formal dress for the ladies. Your hostess can tell you if you are in doubt.

(6). Church attire…A suit or simple dress, stockings, gloves, and preferably a hat-always some head covering-a mantilla or veil.

{What?? No bobby socks? And where am I getting that veil for church?}

Never eat, drink, or smoke with your gloves on.

{duh...everyone know this.}

"Should I wear a hat?" is a frequent question. For any day-time social affair prior to 6:00 p.m., hats are always correct. Hats have become more or less optional, but remember if you have any doubt-wear one-it may always be removed later. Various areas of the country have different customs, so if you are in doubt, inquire.

{Yes, this is always on my mind. So, when in doubt, put a hat on it.}

Social Obligations:

Senior Officers Wives:

When the ship is out, the commanding officer's wife and the executive officer's wife should initiate activities for the younger wives.

The executive officer's wife should be of assistance to the commanding officer's wife on all social occasions.

Junior Officer Wives:

Do not address senior officers' wives by their first name until you are asked to do so.

{See above where the calling cards has "Mrs. Whatever-her-husband's-name-is."}

When asked by a senior officer's wife to take on a responsibility, do so if it is possible. A senior officer's wife often has many responsibilities which must be delegated.

{You know, help out. Her servants are busy watching the children.}

The wife of your husband's commanding officer has no rank. A certain courtesy is extended to her, however, regardless of age, because of the position her husband holds


Shipboard Etiquette:

It is a privilege to be invited aboard a ship! The wardroom of a ship is like a man's club, and you are expected to dress and behave accordingly. Under no circumstances are shorts or slacks proper on board ship. 

Children are definitely out of place in a wardroom except on specified family occasions.

Be on time for all shipboard functions, especially for meals. You should wear the same attire on board as you would at the officers' Club.

{What is the official dress at the good ole' O Club? Oh yeah...when it doubt, wear a hat.}

It is best for wives not to get involved in shipboard business.

{Amen. And hallelujah.}

Final Notes

Your attitude will make a great difference in your husband's job, his career…in short, his happiness. 

You will enjoy the Navy even more as you learn about it, and the Navy becomes a part of your life. However, the most important tradition of all for you is the one that is handed down by the wives, and if you who are now in the Navy will preserve it and "pass it on", the "Navy family" will always be a happy one.

{The pressure is on! Don't mess your husband's career, happiness or the future of the Navy family!}

**Linked to the Foreign Service round-up...this week's theme: manners!**

Thursday, June 16, 2011

From where I sit...

Today, I sat in my house observing, changing from sitting on the bed to various chairs as the movers took pieces of furniture out from under me. I filled out my calendar with important dates for the months to come. I planned last playdates, doctor appointments and dinners with friends before we go. The bittersweet excitement that comes with change was poignant in these quiet moments of merely being present as the movers worked.

Tonight, I sit in a {very generous} friend's home, our temporary residence until we head through three different states for my husband to get prepared through schools and meetings for this new job. Two of the military bases happen to be next to both of our parents. One meeting may allow for a short getaway alone for my husband and I. We may even fit in a couple of days at the Happiest Place on Earth. Despite the upcoming whirlwind, despite my worldly possessions being put on a container shipment headed south, despite being essentially homeless, from where I sit, the view looks pretty good.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Viva la PCS move!

                                       Source: via SmithChristina on Pinterest

Looking at the status of my house one day out from our pack out, I must be really living life! Viva la PCS!

{PS- for my readers who are not familiar with military terminology, PCS is a Permanent change of Station. Wikepedia also says that it stands for "post concussion syndrome." With as much as a PCS move makes you want to bang your head against a wall, I would say both are applicable.}

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Move Status Report

Sam's Club haul for our consumables shipment...I now know how the Duggar's food bill must make them feel.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

But you said Military Hiring Preference!

Interesting article over on SpouseBUZZ...two thoughts: 1) I would NEVER ask my employers the questions about how they deal with military spouse {I take a don't ask, don't tell policy when it comes to disclosing my military "dependency." and 2) it is always good to get feedback that we are all often in the same boat.

And military spouses that work in a licensed or certified job field: leave your feedback about how the military could help you deal with job portability issues...

Source: via Diane on Pinterest

Friday, June 10, 2011

Georgetown date night options

Georgetown Seawall at night {Source}

While searching in our little Guyana tourist guide, I ran across these little gems of Georgetown nightlife...

Direct from the guide:
  • Celina's Atlantic Resort: resort it is not, but Celina's is the city's only waterfront restaurant and bar...Let the sunset and capuchin monkeys distract you from the sometimes slow and aloof services.
  • Club Latino: area just off the lobby at the Pegasus hotel is transformed into a happening nightclub complete with DJ and Latin dance music.
  • El Club Latino:  (Note: do not confuse with above) Popular west-end hangout with large bar and separate dance floor.
  • Buddy's Nite Club: A popular and safe pick, this ever-growing complex features a disco, pool hall, Chinese restaurant and exercise gym (not necessarily best enjoyed in that order.)
Buddy's, you had me at "disco."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

{Screencast} Organizing the Move with Springpad

This week's Foreign Service Blog round-up's topic is {the dreaded} paperwork of moving. I am beginning to think a military move is worse because they seems to think it is fun to make military members play "guess the rule" when it comes to move protocol. However, I am keeping things straight and my list-making under wraps using Springpad. I decided to get all tech-y and make a screencast to show you how I am using Springpad to keep on top of my paperwork...enjoy!

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Making Memories {and taking note...}

                                        Children's  Travel Journal Round-up via 

In the world of online blogs that cover those that live overseas, there is often a distinct difference between the expatriates and the "travelers." Those that live in another country tend to immerse themselves in their country where those who port hop seem to live in a constant movement to the next adventure. Military and foreign service families fall into a different category all together, it seems. While they try just as hard to learn the cultural ins-and-outs of their host country (and most certainly, you cannot do a job that requires this sort of constant change without a bit of wanderlust,) it is hard to separate being a "settler" and a "traveler." I want to capture the experience of both soaking in the culture and settling in to build a permanent (albeit short) residency...and I am hoping that documenting these experiences will help capture these memories for me!

I love these inspiring travel journals (how creative!)...

                                 Source: via Heather on Pinterest

                      Source: via Heather on Pinterest

                                  Source: via Heather on Pinterest

Note to self: buy pretty washi tape before pack out!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Why I need a new blog...

                                                                    Source: via Kaia on Pinterest

I often complain that the last two years of my life have been some of the most emotionally difficult that I have ever had. I left a job that I loved. A job that was, if I may be dramatic, my calling.  My ministry in life, if you will. I decide to try my hand at staying at home with my son, partially because it seemed the “right thing to do” and partly because we were going to start the foster-to-adopt process upon moving. The plan was to finish out our family through adoption and I would begin getting my master’s degree, putting us in a great place for me to concentrate on building my career.  (Note: I would say rebuilding but, alas, the saddest part about being in law enforcement is that, when you leave, that is it. You have to start from Step 1, all over again, assuming you are still under the age limits. And I am sliding down a hill fairly quickly towards “too old.”)

But, to fast forward two years, our journey to foster-adopt failed. (Yes, failed is a dramatic word, but I call it like I see it.) My son and I had lots of moments of incompatibility in our constant together-ness. I learned I suck at full-time housekeeping. It has seemed like these two years have been a long lesson in parenting hard-knocks, accepting that dreams do not come true (or atleast in my own timing) and learning to swallow my pride. It hasn’t been fun.

So, to answer the question: why start a new blog? For a couple of reasons but namely: I am ready to move on. I have had a couple of blogs that related to the identity I was trying to build online (with my little Etsy stores.) They weren’t disingenuous but concentrated on the “pretty” in my life (or the one that I was striving for in my head.) But what made me succeed in law enforcement was that I didn’t conform to the stereotype: I was academic, I was a humanitarian. (And most importantly, I didn’t eat donuts. Although I can’t say that I don’t enjoy a chocolate Munchkin or two nowadays.) I don’t know if I will be gainfully employed when we are in South America. (Please say prayers, cross fingers, light candles or send good vibes that I do. Heck, I will even take ungainful employment.) But I want to create a space where I can share it all: the pretty, the ugly, and the personal (and sometimes the stuff at the intersection where all three meet.)

Here is your warning: there is a reason that I chose the name “Way off Base.” Besides being incredibly clever, of course (we are moving away from living near a military base, get it??!)… I overthink things, I talk a lot and I want to have an outlet to share those things (my husband’s ear is going slightly deaf and needs a reprieve.) And sometimes those things will be way off base from my typical pretty pictures and crafty ventures. If you know me, I have no lack of opinions and I am not sure why I have steered away from sharing them online. So, I hope you’ll join me in my epic journey of figuring out where (besides south to Guyana) this next part of life takes me.

(Sarcasm life preservers encouraged.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Revisiting the {Before we go} Bucket List

We knocked out #5 on our before-we-go-bucket-list on Friday night to celebrate our wedding anniversary...Blackberry mojitos, tapas bar by candlelight, and electric excitement of a busy downtown sidewalk. It was perfect.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Happy {11th} Anniversary to us.

                                                                                            Source: via Heather on Pinterest

11 years ago, I married the person who would become my best friend, my biggest cheerleader and the love of my life. We were crazy young and have been dating for all of about five minutes...I am sure people thought we were crazy (or, lets be real, most people thought we were pregnant) but we have successfully maneuvered each difficult pothole and roadblock along our journey. Now, as we are on the brink of another adventure, I am comforted in knowing that we are in it together

Homecoming 2001

Living the dream...Happy 11th Anniversary...

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Up for a Challenge?

A Feathered Nest is hosting a 30 day Photography challenge...

I need something else on my plate like I need a hole in my head but I am a sucker for a challenge that gives me ideas of things to take pictures of...