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Attempted Heroics

17th March, 2010. 9:00 am. Were it not for the lassies, oh ...

To the Lady of Memories: You were my very first lady. As silly and juvenile and ... short as it was, you were it. You were thoughtful and special and caring as a big sister - all things I still admire. When I saw you again for the first time in ... ages ... there was honestly something magical about remembering, all of a sudden, how it was to be a child.

To the Lady of Horses: Not much was shared between us but passion - for each other, mostly ... and for horses, which was, of course, how we met. I am sorry for complicating your life at the end. It was so very hard to let go. You were, and always will be, my first kiss. I could not have asked for a better one. That thrill is one I will never forget.

To the Lady of the Stage: And lo did I learn of love and hate. While you played, I fought. While you acted, I meant it. And then you left, for I was no longer diverting enough. And then you came back, with poetry, asking me to find you in the middle of the night. And then I came back, for reasons I don't yet know. And now, somehow, we are friends. Maybe there is hope for each of us.

To the Lady of Secrets: Though I had said it before to others, you were the great love of my life for a long time, and for a long time after. Unlike the others, I could not tear you up inside me because of the good person that, in the end, you still are. I do not think I was grown up enough to love until I met you. I don't understand everything about why we failed, but I know that it means you are gone forever. I want to say goodbye, to cut you out of my heart so I can move on as you so clearly have. I don't know how I can do that, now, but I will find a way.

To the Lady of Venus: Every time I think of you, I hope you are doing well. I know I disappointed you. I am sorry. I have no excuses, but I can say that I'm glad I met you. We had a few good times, and I hope they are good memories for you.

To the Lady of the Mountain: You are still tough. Life has made you so. When I learned I was your first kiss ... I was honored. I never really knew too much about you - just enough to be attracted and intrigued. You impressed me from the moment I saw you, and I think you have done a lot of growing up.

To the Lady of the Pen: I really wish I knew where you were. I am sorry I didn't know how to be a good boyfriend when we were together. Maybe the timing was wrong, maybe we were neither of us ready, or maybe I was just too involved in other things. I did you a disservice by not giving you more of my time. It ended gracefully, though, and I am thankful that we parted friends.

To the Lady of Violets: I am glad we are friends, as seldom as we see one another. You seem to have found yourself, finally. You have a good life and a much healthier place in this world. I pray it only gets better from here.

To the Lady of the Screen: What a curious time we shared, watching movies and TV series together. As brief as it was, I had fun, and I hope you did, too. It was also really nice to finally have a romantic interest I could walk down the hallway too. And I must say, yours was the most surprising first-kiss I ever had with a lady.

To the Lady of Stars: Moonbows and stargazing - how perfectly romantic. Short it may have been, but ours was a perfect romance - inspiring, invigorating, enlivening, shared in a passion for each other and between two minds that love to think. I can say it was not a moment too late. I was fair filled with despair by the time you kissed me. You are a brilliant, beautiful, worthy woman, and I am honored that you spent some time with me.

To the Lady of the Tower: The timing was all wrong, or ours could have been something truly special. You are special and beautiful and I pray every time I think of you that you find what you are looking for. Thank you for the time you spent with me. I will cherish that memory, always.

To the Lady of the Sunrise: Arigato Gozaimas.

To my Lady of the Winds: Our curiosity has been sated, I think. Thank you for your patience, and thank you for the good memories. I'm sorry that I hurt you when I left, but I know it was the right thing to do. I was very glad to hear that you are doing well, now, and remember- never, ever settle.

To the Lady of Dew and Grass: You confound me, sometimes. We shared a lot of things - interests, intellect, stubbornness ... even our age group. I am sorry for the confusion I brought to your life, and sorry for all the times I walked away from you in anger. I will not do it again, even though all our work basically came to naught and we are no longer involved.

Current mood: contemplative.

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24th January, 2010. 2:39 pm. Projects with eggs

Diced up turkey polish sausage, fried up in safflower oil and Mrs. Dash Spicy. Add diced onions, continue cooking. Add diced spinach, continue cooking. Add beaten eggs, scramble. Enjoy on flatbread.

Omelette with pepper-jack cheese folded in and black pepper on the outside. Enjoy with spicy grilled toast and turkey polish sausage cut lengthwise and grilled. And an apple. An orange juice.

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18th January, 2010. 11:47 am. Wolfhound

So I just finished the movie Wolfhound. It's a medieval fantasy made in Russia, and the tagline is, "Conan the Barbarian meets Lord of the Rings."

At first I was skeptical, but the film really did hit that mark, and brought something of its own to the mix. Something ... I don't know. Complex. LotR is about the battle between good and evil, Conan is about living freely in a dangerous world, and Wolfhound definitely brings those two things together, and yet ...

... there was more to it. The main character's primary motivation is vengeance, but in following that path he meets people who make his life more than that simple and self-destructive quest. There are times when I'm not sure what he's after, because the two paths run so closely together. Basically, the man he is after wants to capture this princess. Now, if he were only out for vengeance, our hero would just use her as bait, but he actively, forcefully, and purposefully protects her.

So ... Conan the Barbarian, Lord of the Rings, and Westender. Live free, conquer evil, and redeem yourself.

I may have a new favorite movie.

Also, the last fight scene is probably the coolest I've seen, yet. The final monster is truly horrific, and the way it's beaten takes the Rule of Cool to a whole new level.

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18th January, 2010. 10:03 am. Going all out

Yesterday I made two things to brag about.

First, a sammich on rye bread with hummus, baby shrimp, spinach leaves, turkey deli meat, and a fried-hard egg. Yum!

Second, a full blown meal.

I took more of the chicken, this time cut much smaller and marinaded in the same juice of milk, ginger, cilantro, and garlic, and cooked that up in a little frying pan. I soaked chopped spinach, onion, and tomato in olive oil, white vinegar, basil, and Mrs. Dash Italian Seasoning for a while, and let that simmer. I cooked up Fettucini with four-cheese alfredo sauce and added some more of the Mrs. Dash for good measure. Mixed it all together into chicken fettucini alfredo.

Also: my new favorite garlic bread with olive oil, garlic power, Mrs. Dash again, and Mrs. Dash Spicy, grilled on the Skrillet.

For desert: thinly sliced fuji apples in vanilla yogurt mixed with maple syrup.

The wine: a slightly aged Reisling. It had turned a bit sour, but I think it went better with the meal, that way.

And to wash it all down, some black currant juice.

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16th January, 2010. 5:54 pm. Marinaded chicken

Finally got around to that chicken. Marinaded for ... wow, several days ... in milk with cilantro, ginger, garlic, and a little bit of salt, then grilled on the grill-skillet. "Skrillet."

Turned out delicious. Maybe more garlic ...

I also feel like it needs a sauce. Maybe I'll do it with smaller pieces in pasta and alfredo sauce, next time.

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16th January, 2010. 5:48 pm. Salad and Sausage

Grilled up some polish sausage with a hefty hunk of onion.

Also made a salad with baby spinach, diced onions, baby carrots, green beans, shrimp, and smoked salmon. The dressing was of my own making: safflower oil, white vinegar, Mrs. Dash Italian, and mint leaves. It has a very light taste, which also managed to make the smoked salmon (too salty on its own) much more palatable. I had too many onions in the salad, but the extras went well with the sausage.

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13th January, 2010. 8:56 pm. Ramen Plus

 I tried something today that I haven't tried since I was in Korea: taken spicy ramen soup and added sliced spinach, green beans, diced chicken lunchmeat, and tiny shrimp, then cracked an egg into it while it was boiling.  "Ramen Plus."  Okay, so it didn't always have those exact ingredients, but the idea was the same.  Spinach and the egg were almost universal.

An oldie but a goodie.  The grill-skillet needs to soak more, so the chicken will have to wait.

Grade: A+

--A--

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12th January, 2010. 11:25 pm. Chicken again

... but THIS time, grilled with cilantro, ginger, and garlic rubbed all over 'em.

I have another batch marinading in the fridge, with the same mixture. This first batch was pretty good, but I am hoping the marinade will soak the flavor through the meat.

I also made some garlic bread, some toast with olive-oil, pepperjack, and smoked salmon (the fish was too salty), and these nifty little sammiches where I cut a roll in half then stuff li'l smokey sausages and pepperjack cheese in 'em. Delicious.

Grade:

B on the chicken (we'll see about the next batch).
B+ on the Garlic Bread: needed salt.
C+ on the toast, cheese, and salmon: might be better with a less pungent brand of fish.
A- on the sammiches.

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11th January, 2010. 7:03 pm. Today ...

... I start getting more serious about this journal.

The first thing I will start writing about regularly will be my culinary attempts.

So tonight, I am eating chicken breast, sliced through the middle to make two thinner slices, grilled with lemon peel, black pepper, garlic powder, and a bit of salt. It is in sammich form on rye bread, grilled with safflower oil and Mrs Dash Hot & Spicy, with sharp white cheddar melted atop.

Well grilled- neither over nor underdone. The spices mix for an interesting spicy taste - deceptively mild at first, but growing on me. The cheese is a BIT overpowering on some bites - maybe just a bit less, next time.

Grade: A-

--A--

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25th December, 2009. 6:28 pm. Christmas Time

13 days ago I turned 26. I had an amazing birthday with my friends. We played a long-standing game I call Test of the Righteous which we haven't had much chance to play, over the years. Nonetheless, it was a great time. While home, I've been skiing, shooting, and I even attended my old Karate dojo. I went to a live Broncos game for the first time, discovered to my delight that my mother has a talent and passion for steampunk costuming, and celebrated a friend's birthday party by protecting a train with Santa Claus on it.

My last two birthdays - and last two Christmases, Thanksgivings, and New Year's Days, were spent a long, long way from home on battlegrounds in vastly different stages of cooling: first in South Korea, where I opened my presents over a video-link with my parents, and second in Iraq, where my platoon and I escorted none other than Santa Claus himself as he spread holiday cheer around Baghdad. In Korea I toasted the New Year with a shot of soju, and in Iraq I shook up and fired a Coors Near-Beer towards Pike's Peak (a tradition of our family).

Yes, that's right. My guns guarded a saint.

... huh. Seems to be a holiday tradition, now.

My Thanksgiving this year was spent in New York city where my little sister, in the finest tradition of my family's women, made a wonderful turkey. I was at her apartment, where she, her room mates, her boyfriend and I all had our first Thanksgiving away from the rest of our families. I should clarify - while I had been away the past two years, the Army provided the turkey and did its level, admirable best to bring us some cheer, and they were good Thanksgivings. This was the first that WE all put together. We kept exclaiming, "How did our parents do it? They made it look so easy!"

So thanks, Mom and Dad.

Now, it's Christmas. My family is together for the first time in ... far too long. It's good to see them all - to laugh with my dad, banter with one sister, wrestle with the other, and lean my head on my mom's shoulder. It's even good to see the cat, who is just as fussy as ever, and the dog, who will always be extremely stupid.

I am blessed. I got some great presents this year, but the best - as with so many things - is from God. My family is the center of my world - the cornerstone of my beliefs, the source of my honor, the reason for my courage. I love them with all my heart and thank God for them every time I am reminded of how wonderful they are - which is often.

I am especially blessed this year to be with them.

In a few days I head to a tropical country to welcome the New Year in a new place, with some new friends - and an old friend who has, over the past year, become a little more. When I get back, I will begin my latest job in the Army in earnest - one which, so far, has proved challenging and rewarding. A few months after that I will know if I have a chance at what I really want out of this Army. With all this in mind, perhaps it is fitting that I celebrate the New Year in this new way. I'm looking forward to the prospects of 2010.

But it was so very good to get reacquainted with the old, first.

Merry Christmas.
--Alarin--

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