Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blast from the Past - Journal excerpt from Sat. December 29th, '07 & '08

I'm sure I have said this at least once on my blog - I love to journal. This could be why I don't blog as much - I have already recorded the day's events in my small, hand-written journal that I carry everywhere with me. I got this fabulous idea from my mother-in-law (MIL) who has been keeping a journal like this for years. Her style is different, of course, but the goal is the same - record our lives' mostly mundane activities so we can access it later. I love the accessing later part! I have been journaling for 2 years now and I wish I had started years ago. I love reading what I did on this day in 2007 and 2008 and I will look forward to "repeating" 2009 in the same manner. I was inspired by my MIL because I saw it as a tool to sharpen my scrapbook journaling skills. Unfortunately, it really hasn't helped with that but I am still glad I have done it and that it continues to be a part of me. I have even inspired a few friends to join in with me and I hope you will do the same. You won't regret it!!!

I chose a small, spiral bound notebook by Mead. It's a 1 subject notebook that measures 7x5 inches and has a pocket page in the very front. I use the pocket to carry small notes, a 3x5 card with our contact info on it, misc. sheets of small paper, etc. Each notebook holds 3 months worth of journaling (100 sheets) with extra pages for note taking that I tear out once I'm done with the notes. Then I tear off the card stock "ad" on the very front and tuck the notebook/journal away to view a year from now.

Most days are pretty boring but every once in a while I write something that makes me laugh, smile or cry a year or two years later. And I love it!!!! This is why I was inspired to share this idea - I read December 29th's excerpt from 2007 and 2008 and it brought back some great memories.

Saturday December 29th, 2007:

We had the opportunity to chat with our East Coast family since, for whatever reason, Bill was not golfing on this Saturday morning.

I must have misplaced my camera lens because I found it "today".

I drove down to Palm Springs with my friend, Susan and her daughter Sydney. This is always a production as I have never loved the drive out of town or "down the hill", which is at least an hour drive. We arrived in PS safely and enjoyed dinner and pie at Marie Calendar's. If you are not familiar with Marie Calendar's it is similar to Mimi's Cafe - though I like Mimi's Cafe better. I believe our main goal of our trip was to you use the "coupons" we earned at Kohl's by spending a certain dollar amount before Christmas. We had "money" to burn and a deadline to meet so shopping we went!!!! I really miss shopping at Kohl's, along with shopping at Target - they are my favorites and I found myself spending over 4 hours in a Target in Hawaii recently to get my fix. Shopping at Kohl's is especially fun when you have a "coupon" and a friend to shop with. I don't remember what I bought because I didn't write that tidbit of info down but I do remember having a great time with Susan and Sydney. We accomplished our mission and headed back "up the hill" to rejoin our husbands who were found competing on the Wii.

At this point we did not own a Wii and I had never played on it. I'm not very competitive so this kind of activity doesn't usually entice me but, in the spirit of friendship, I agreed to a game of bowling. Just so you know, I do not care to bowl in "real life" and so I am not good at it. Also, I am a right-hander and the Wii controller I was using is usually used by a lefty. So, I was bowling for the first time and using my left hand and I beat the pants off my other 3 competitors, to include my husband - who, by the way, use to bowl on a league! Obviously I am very proud of my post-Christmas accomplishment back in 2007 and I am so glad I have it etched in pen, and now on my blog, FOREVER!!!!!

Bottom line: Saturday December 29th, 2007 was a great memory building day that I will not soon forget!!!

December 29th, 2008 was not nearly as exciting though!! I was not able to locate a 2009 calendar at the BX/PX, Bill went golfing and I actually posted our Christmas Eve activities on my blog. We did close out the evening by going to the movies with Jen and Stephen Sutton - we saw "Marley and Me" with a box of tissues, of course!!! Though the day might not have been exciting the movie was great and the company was fabulous!!!! It's interesting because I just called the Suttons to see if they were up for dinner at our favorite Thai food place and Steve is down with a bad cold. I'm bummed that we don't get to spend this December 29th together but it's intriguing to see how some things are repeated on the same day a year or two apart!!!!

One of the other things I love about keeping a journal is that one small, incomplete sentence written in list style can provoke a huge memory. My small notebook/journal only allows me to write a short and usually incomplete sentence on each line so I have to keep it simple. So, what I wrote above is not what was written in my journal - my journal looks like this:

Checked e-mail, face book, etc.

Did dishes; learned to download pix

Chatted with Kim (I now include the initial of last name so I can remember which Kim)

Nail appt. with Yuko

Kadena BX: No good calendars left

Chatted w/ Jen about movie tonight
Posted Christmas Eve blog

6p.m. Bill back from golfing

Dinner: Taco Bell

Movie "Marley & Me"

This is not a complete view of that particular day - I left the really boring stuff out! One short sentence, however, can spark the entire memory that I can write about later in a blog post or journal in my scrapbook - as I have done in the above sentences! I chose a small notebook so that I wouldn't' get overwhelmed. I wanted to set myself up to succeed and I knew that if I could carry the journal with me and only have to fill a small space that I might actually create a habit of journaling every day. Mission accomplished!

Here are some pointers:

Figure out why you don't journal and fix it. I didn't journal because I always wanted to fill the 8 1/2 x 11 page or I didn't think I had done it "right". My MIL uses a 81/2 x 11 spiral bound notebook and only writes as much as she wants and then keeps adding days on the same page until it's filled up. That works for her. A small notebook works better for me and a pen attaches nicely inside the spiral area of the notebook for convenience.

Figure out why you want to journal and focus on that reason - this is your motivation. I wanted to create a habit of writing memories down every day. This was not an easy goal to accomplish so I made the journal small so it would fit in my purse and I could write in it through out the day when time permitted. Now that it has become a habit I usually only write in it before I go to bed, even when I'm tired. I'm motivated because I know I will want to record this day and read about it in a year. Bill asked me last night what we were doing in March of 2007 and I was bummed that I didn't have a journal to turn to since I started journaling in December of 2007.

Choose a notebook that works for you. I chose this particular notebook that can be found in the office supply section of many stores to include Target, Wal-Mart and all the BX/PXs I have been in. I wanted my notebooks to always be the same size, for continuity, so I chose a notebook that I thought would be around for a while. It is practical, as well, since I can carry loose notes, business cards, etc. in the front and have a little room, in the back, for note taking. I always have at least one empty notebook on hand so I don't run out.

Get started. This is the hardest part. I didn't want to start in December because I knew that one entire year would not be in my notebooks. I did it anyway because I didn't think I would be as motivated in January of 2008 so I just started it in December. It doesn't bother me anymore.

What to include:

It's up to you. I just wanted to remember what I did that particular day. Sometimes I include what our pastor spoke on through his sermon that Sunday to remind myself of what God was teaching me that day. Sometimes I close out with "One Cool Thing" - a concept I got from my friend Ginger. You just write one cool thing that happened that day or one cool thing that God showed you that day, etc. Write only one line to keep it simple. Some people like to journal about a quote or scripture they read and their feelings on it. You can do anything as long as it works for you. You can use this as an opportunity to record all that you are thankful for that day or your goals for the future. I just read a great idea from one of my favorite scrapbookers in the industry, Ali Edwards - check out what habit she has started and has kept at for three years now. The "one little word" concept just might spark your motivation to journal!!!! (If you are a face book friend of mine I just posted this info in my notes.)

Leave a comment and let me know if you journal and how you journal. Or, if you will be creating this new habit for the new year!!!! Looking forward to hearing about all the boring, mundane stuff you do everyday!!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Have I accomplished enough today?

"Finish each day and be done with it.... you have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you will begin it well and serenely." Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote was posted on my friend Debbie’s status, via face book, and I couldn’t resist “borrowing” it and sharing it on my blog. It’s amazing how God speaks to us in so many different ways and, if we are listening, He will minister to us right where we are. This quote came at a perfect time. I always thought it would be fun to blog about a recent quote I had read and I have been encouraged to just sit down and write on my blog without worrying about the topic – so I’m not ignoring the fact that it has been months since I have posted here, I am just adopting this quote as my new motto. I am finished with this day and I’m going to be done with it and look forward to tomorrow.

Why are Emerson’s words so hard to apply, even after a practically perfect day like today?

I had an AWESOME day with several of my friends today and yet I found myself slipping back into that “I didn’t accomplish enough today” mode. This usually happens when I am making my way home, a small commute from Kadena to Courtney, and assessing what I had accomplished thus far in that particular day. Why is it that I feel I have to accomplish anything in a day to feel justified in how I spent it? Do you feel that way? I do feel this way a lot, unfortunately. Even on days that I have accomplished a lot I still wonder if it was enough!

Was it enough that I devoted most of my day to creating a craft for an upcoming PWOC program?

Was it enough that I laughed with my friends today?

Was it enough that we talked about what God was doing in our lives this week?

Was it enough that we prayed together and shared a meal together and we even used a coupon?

Was it enough that we laughed until I thought we were going to cry?

Was it enough that 6 of us piled in my van and we ran our errands together? (3 of “us” were kids)

Was it enough that we did everything in our power to get said craft done today?

Was it enough that we visited with other friends along the way?

Was it enough that I turned up one of my favorite songs on my iPod, “Sweet Escape” and we sang our hearts out while others were watching us drive down the road, dancing and singing?

Was it enough that I drove over 30 minutes each way just to spend time with my friends?

Was it enough that I did the dishes and a load of laundry once I got home?

Was it enough that I tried to put out more Christmas decorations but found sitting on the couch with the hubs more tempting?

When is it enough?

Today I am allowing “it” to be enough!!! I laughed, I cried, I listened and I even acted as referee for a few disputes over the Wii and “they” aren’t even my little peeps!!

Today I have done what I can do and absurdities definitely crept in. And that is okay!!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday's Tidbits

On Thursday I attended a leadership training workshop titled W.I.L.D. training through PWOC International. The international organization that overseas our local chapter of PWOC sent out a trainer from Hawaii. We spent the day learning about our personality types and how to use our gifts, talents, etc. to our advantage as a team. We then took our guest, Melissa, to a Y100 shop and our favorite izakaya - Kitakaisen.

Friday we met with Mrs. Mixon - an Army wife who has been involved with PWOC International and Regional for several years. She likes to get together with the local chapter to visit and see how things are going. Then we took Melissa to the Airforce Gift shop and to the Botanical Gardens for lunch. After lunch we walked the gardens and worked really hard at avoiding all the Banana spiders that call this beautiful place home. Later in the evening we watched the movie "The Time Traveler's Wife" with Eric Bana and it was good. Then we ended the night with several exciting rounds of Mario Kart on the Wii - this is our new obsession!

Banana Spider at the Botanical Gardens

Jenny, Sarah with Grace and Ginger at the Gardens

On most Saturday mornings I am home alone while Bill is golfing. I usually take this time to work on my to-do list or finish my Bible study - I did both!!! Later in the day we finally got a chance to plan our long drive to the Naha area to check out Thai In The Sky, aka Cafe Caracuma. We still love Somchai's better but you really can't beat the view - unless you go to Pizza In the Sky, on the opposite side of the island!! We ended the night at a bar listening to a friend's son play with a band he has recently joined.

Ginger and Shannon on the grounds of Thai In The Sky

A chicken salad and a traditional Thai soup that we really liked!

We found ourselves skipping church on Sunday but I did get a chance to chat with a friend of mine. Our Sunday mornings are always convenient for those who live on the East coast to call - it's their Saturday night!!! Then we did the usual Sunday afternoon stuff: commissary, nippy nap, and PX run. Then we got to do the not-so-usual-stuff, dinner with the Gariepy's at Macaroni Grill!! We did this in honor of Dasha's sister-in-law leaving the next day. Her first and last meal in Okinawa was at the Macaroni Grill - gotta love die-hard Americans!

The Gariepy Clan: Dasha, Rob, Aaron & Heather

On Monday's I try to stay home to catch up on everything I didn't do last week and is due sometime this week. Usually that's my bible study or preparing for PWOC. I was brave and tried my hand at making bacon, again. I still managed to burn a small batch while trying the tried and true method of "baking" it in the oven. I did eek out a few pieces that weren't burnt and even the burnt ones were edible, since I like it crisp.

Tuesday was our last PWOC study day for our summer sessions. I always hate endings but hung on to the fact that we start our Fall session next week!! The study on "The Fruit of the Spirit" was excellent and I was able to get all but one of the week's scrap booked!! Our last week in this study was spent discussing how God gave us the opportunities to practice self-control over the past week. Queen Esther was a great example of obedience to God while showing self-control with a worldly King.

"Fruit of the Spirit" study participants

Bill had duty today so my friend, Dasha, came over and spent the night. We enjoyed dinner at Brisa de Mar ( I will post about this local eatery on Okinawa Hai next week), we worked on our laptops, enjoyed awesome Quad Chocolate Cake and ended the night watching the world's newest obsession - "Twilight"!!
Wednesday I typed my last "To Shop" post on Okinawa Hai. It was bitter sweet. I have really enjoyed the challenge of finding new places to spend money and yet I'm really looking forward to being the new "To Eat" editor. It also makes me sad as my friend, Dasha, is pcsing and this is why I am making the move!!! I will miss shopping and "doing" lunch with her so we both can keep up with our weekly commitment to this weblog! We worked on a creative project together until she had to head back home.

Happy Thursday and I'll see you next week!!!!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What A Military Wife Is.............................

Each one may look different and each is wonderfully unique, but this they have in common:

Lots of moving...



Moving far from home...

Moving two cars, three kids and one dog...all riding with HER of course.

Moving sofas to basements because they won't go in THIS house;

Moving curtains that won't fit;

Moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours.

Moving away from friends;

Moving toward new friends;

Moving her most important luggage: her trunk full of memories.
Often waiting...



Waiting for housing.

Waiting for orders.

Waiting for deployments.

Waiting for phone calls.

Waiting for reunions.

Waiting for the new curtains to arrive.
Waiting for him to come home,
For dinner...AGAIN!

They call her 'Military Dependent', but she knows better:

She is fiercely In-Dependent.

She can balance a check book;

Handle the yard work;

Fix a noisy toilet;

Bury the family pet...

She is intimately familiar with drywall anchors and toggle bolts.

She can file the taxes;

Sell a house;

Buy a car;

Or set up a move...

......all with ONE Power of Attorney.

She welcomes neighbors that don't welcome her.

She reinvents her career with every PCS;

Locates a house in the desert,

The Arctic,

Or the deep south.
And learns to call them all 'home'.

She MAKES them all home.
Military Wives are somewhat hasty...
They leap into:
Career alternatives,
And friendships.
They don't have 15 years to get to know people.

Their roots are short but flexible.
They plant annuals for themselves and perennials for those who come after them.

Military Wives quickly learn to value each other:

They connect over coffee,

Rely on the spouse network,

Accept offers of friendship and favors.

Record addresses in pencil...
The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands; his commitment is unique.

He doesn't have a 'JOB'

He has a 'MISSION' that he can't just decide to quit...

He's on-call for his country 24/7.

But for her, he's the most unreliable guy in town!

His language is foreign










And so, a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.
She is the long- distance link to keep them informed; the glue that holds them together.
A Military Wife has her moments:

She wants to wring his neck;

Dye his uniform pink;

Refuse to move to Siberia;

But she pulls herself together.

Give her a few days,

A travel brochure,

A long hot bath,

A pledge to the flag,

A wedding picture,

And she goes.

She packs.

She moves.

She follows.


What for?

How come?

You may think it is because she has lost her mind.
But actually it is because she has lost her heart .

It was stolen from her by a man,

Who puts duty first,
Who longs to deploy,

Who salutes the flag,

And whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her Military Husband,

She will remain his military wife.

And would have it no other way.

--Author Unknown (Thank you to my friend, Katie, for passing this along to me!!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thursday's Tidbits

Before I begin I have to admit that I'm in a little bit of a funk. I won't go into it right now but I just couldn't get my act together to post last Thursday. Now it feels like I haven't posted in months - ugh!!!! But as they say, put one foot in front of the other.........................

Last Thursday was the end of Jenny's birthday week. We did a little something everyday to celebrate and I will probably post separately on that one. Today, though, we enjoyed our Cocok's pedicure.

The green toes, at the bottom, are mine. These pictures do not do this artwork any justice!!

Ginger acting shy while we wait for our appointment. We were running late so we had to eat on the fly - gotta love Subway!!!

What is interesting about life is that it keeps rolling by whether you want it to or not. And whether your car starts or not. Whether you are driving your own vehicle or have to swap with the hubs because he lent yours out. Whether you are having a good or bad hair day, whether your toes look great or not, life just keeps on rolling. And when you have fun and creative friends to roll with you just almost don't care. Ginger is one of those friends. She offers to sing "Happy Birthday" with three selection choices - Opera, Country or Cartoon. Not sure what cartoon sounds like but Jenny picked opera and I thought we were all going to pee our pants. I can say that because this is my blog and it is true. Ginger laughed so hard after we finished singing that I thought all her mascara was going to roll right off her face! After I recovered from this rendition of Happy Birthday and made it home in one piece, while driving Bill's car, we finished our night out by watching the new season of "Pushing Daisies" - we love this series and though this is their last season we will enjoy it 'til the very last episode.

Ginger can always bring a smile to my face!
Friday's have been reserved for my friend Dasha. We have only been friends for a few months and now they are preparing to leave the island in October. Again, I'm reminded that this is how the Marine Corps rolls. So in rolling fashion we have set aside a day every week to cram in anything and everything possible. Sometimes we scrapbook, sometimes we are productive, sometimes we burn bacon and other times we spend all our time together on our computers - gotta love modern technology and flexible friends!!!! Jenny joined us today as she closed out her birthday week with one last present and lunch with us. She even stayed long enough to create a Mii and play on my Wii while I sat on the couch as her coach - I'm so good at Coach Couching!!!! I'm even better at laughing hysterically when her Mii rolls into a snowball on the ski jump balance game. Then the hubs and I continued our James Bond marathon with Roger Moore in "For Your Eyes Only".

Dasha, or Dash A as Bill likes to call her, and I at Marino's for Saturday Night Dinner.

Saturday found me with a cold or allergies, staying home all morning trying to catch up while the hubs was on the golf course. We reunited over lunch, took a nippy nap, did laundry, yada, yada, blah!!!!! In the evening we joined our Saturday Night crew at Kitakaisen - our favorite izakaya for eating sushi and soy beans and hanging out with friends.

Just being goofy!!!

I took Bill to the airport on Sunday so he could begin his long trek back to Virginia for a work-related conference. He was so excited that it only took him 10 minutes to get through the check-in process and security. And that's not all, as a frequent flyer he also got bumped up to Business Class where he was served OJ in an actual glass not plastic and his water cup was never empty. I finished working on my Fruit of the Spirit bible study and IM'd a highschool friend on facebook.

Monday found me suffering from a potential migraine that I nipped in the bud with Pepsi and vitamin M - it almost works everytime!!! I had lunch with my new neighbor who's husband is now Bill's new boss. I worked on my to-do list the rest of the day, chatted briefly with Bill and called it a night!!!

Tuesday is almost always predictable, which I love. As our bible study classes are coming to a close in a few weeks I start to get reflective and grateful that God continues to allow me to facilitate some of the best studies ever written with incredible, encouraging women who take the journey with me. God is so good and worthy of all our praise!!!!

On Wednesday I was blessed beyond belief by my new friend, Cathy. She had offered to come and get the dogs yesterday and today so that I didn't have to rush home to take them out. Not only did she walk them today, but they got to spend the entire day in her yard, with grass. And if that was not enough, she brought home two tired pups who had recently been bathed. Who does that for an almost stranger? Cathy does. She lived out my bible study today by blessing me and releaving so much stress. Now both pups smell fruity-fresh and may shed one less dog hair because they deposited it in her yard!!! My house is clean, too, because of my sweet mamasan so that leaves me to work on my never-ending to-do list!!!!

Happy Thursday ya'll - see you next week!!!!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday's Tidbits

Better late than never!!!! It's still Thursday in the states so I'm counting it!! It is amazing how Thursday can come and go and I have no idea what happened!!!

Last Thursday we watched "New In Town" with Renee Z. (long last name that I can't remember how to spell). Harry Conick Jr. was in it, too, and they were good together. Very funny movie and it's clean - as long as you don't mind the Minnesota accent!!! (JK)

Friday I was still feeding Socks a bland diet as she got "sick" while I was away and left me a "treat" to clean up when I got home. No more details and definately no pictures for your viewing pleasure - or displeasure!!! Worked on a scrapbooking project with a friend, met my part-time neighbor who has a permanent yard sale every Friday and Saturday. Nice to have finally met Miyoko-san. We enjoyed our favorite Thai restaurant (aka The Noodle Shop that Richard the Cook works at) with the Harringtons. I "do" ministry with Ginger and Bill knows Mark from work and golf. I also posted my interview with Ginger last week in Thursday's Tidbits. She has been a very popular post of mine, receiving some really fun comments!!!! I spent most of Saturday morning trying to SKYPE with the Mulroy clan and I managed to sneak a peek at the 4 small family members a few times in between being disconnected. Gotta love modern technology!!! Dinner with our Saturday Night Crew at Arin Krin - greatest garlic place in the world.

Tomatoe dish with yummy garlic sauce. I didn't try this, of course, but I hear it was great!

Sunday brought my introduction into Farm Town on Facebook and I will never be the same. If you do not have a Facebook account then you won't understand what Farm Town is or why we are all obsessed. If you have a Facebook account my words to you are as follows "Don't DO IT!" It's an obsession and you won't be able to quit!!!! (Off my soapbox now!) This was our second Sunday in a row that we didn't make it to Calvary - ugh!!!! Bill wasn't feeling well and I had a blast chatting on the phone and creating my farm on Farm Town!!! Thanks Kim!!!! We managed to watch two movies, in between my new obsession with farming. We saw "21", the card-counting movie, and it was good. We also watched "Appaloosa" with Vigo M. (another long name I can't spell) and Ed Harris. I didn't like Appaloosa as well. If I don't like the ending then it ruins the whole movie for me.

Monday I joined my partner-in-crime (PIC), Dasha, for a quick ride up to Nago to investigate a restaurant that we call "Hello Kitty". This actually might be the real name and once I get all the info and it's posted by said PIC, on Okinawa Hai, I will let you know. This is what I do know: The food is good and everything is pink and decorated with Hello Kitty. Even the outgoing message on their phone line is Hello Kitty speaking in her best Japanese. I started outlining a great book on leadership for an upcoming, local Leadership Conference I will be attending and training at. Looking forward to it and, again, I will share more details with you later. Are you just dying with suspense??????????? One fun food note: We enjoyed a Dragonfruit sorbet at an Italian restaurant at the Jusco in "downtown" Nago. Dasha has the picture or I would post it here. No worries, just know that it was fun to eat and left our tongues purple - briefly!

Tuesday is always PWOC day. We only had 6 of us in class today but, as usual, God still shows up and our conversations are always good!!! One of our ladies had her 5th child and though Matthew was almost 2 months early both he and mom are doing well. Congrats Kristal!!! Her picture is on a previous Thursday's Tidbits - way back when!!!

He was born on Thursday, July 23rd @ 4:26 am, weighing 4 lb 5 oz via c-section. He is in the NICU and they anticipate keeping him 3-4 weeks. He was born at almost 33 weeks gestation and so far he's been a superstar, breathing on his own, very little oxygen requirements, trying to regulate his own internal temperature, etc. He is a little jaundiced and is under the bili lights, but that was to be expected with his prematurity. Please pray that he continues to stay strong and that any setbacks we face will be minor.

Harue, one of my mamasans, showed up this particular Wednesday with a gift. She is incredibly creative and must stay busy all the time. She had made small dresses out of two hand towels for my kitchen. One of the many perks of living in Okinawa!!! We actually enjoyed a meal at home today with Bill firing up the grill and making us personal, grilled pizzas. Yummy!!! We are continuing our James Bond marathon with 9 DVDs or Blu-Rays arriving in the mail today. We watched "Die Another Day" with Pierce B. as JB and Jada P.-Smith as the "Bond-Girl"!!!! I was asked by my friend Dian "Who is your favorite James Bond?" Not an easy question - do you have a favorite?

I hope your week was as exciting as mine!!! See you next Thursday!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thursday's Tidbits

This past Thursday was a jam-packed day that was mostly fun and definitely productive. I started interviewing my friend, Ginger, for an extra post I did for Okinawa Hai this week. This was far more challenging than I thought it would be but it was so worth it. We had a girl's night out that started at Chili's and ended at the movie theatre. I watched the new Sandra Bullock movie, "The Proposal", for the second time this month and it was even funnier the second time around.
I did not know Ginger well last year at our Marine Corps ball but I knew she would be a fun friend to have.

Friday was spent on Kadena with Ginger, again, continuing the interview process, with lunch squeezed in the middle. Our Friday night was spent watching "The Happening", with Mark Whalberg, and we don't recommend it. It was crazy and creepy with no real explanation of what happened? In our house we have a tradition that if we didn't like the movie of the night we always follow it up with a Traquair Favorite - tonight's was "Sweet Home Alabama" with Reese Witherspoon!

Saturday Bill had a later tee time so we cruised and he made us breakfast. I continued to work on my interview while Bill worked on his golf swing. We are now in a James Bond phase so we watched "Casino Royale" and "Quantum of Solace". We realized that we don't have as many James Bond movies as we thought so they'll be some ordering on-line going on later this week.

Sunday found us being lazy and needing a day home together. We skipped church and watched movies most of the day. We saw "Revolutionary Road" with Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet. I don't think I would recommend this one, either. I hated the ending and most of the movie was depressing. Then we continued our James Bond marathon by watching some old classics - "Dr. No" and "Octopussy". I don't think I've seen either of them.

Our Sunday ended on a very sad note. My mom called from the states to tell me that my grandfather had passed away - Saturday night in the states. This was not totally unexpected as he has been in the hospital or a rehab facility for over a month. And he had lived to be almost 93. I'm sad mostly because he lived this great and vivacious life up until the past few years when he seemed to always be ill. Also, his marriage to his second wife was a source of heartache in our family. His death reminds me of my grandmother, who died while we were stationed in Okinawa last time. It's hard when you are so far way, even if there is nothing you could have done or nothing you would have done differently. Though I wish I would have seen more of him while we lived in California I do have so many fond memories of spending my childhood with both of my grandparents. My goal is to write a complete post on my grandparents sometime over the weekend.
Monday found me feverishly working to complete my "To Work" post on Ginger to meet my Tuesday morning deadline. I stayed home most of the day so I could also join Bill at the movies. We saw "The Soloist" with Robert Downey Jr. and Jamie Fox. I really thought this was going to be a tear-jerker and I was really surprised that I didn't cry more. Especially since I have been so emotional lately. It was a good movie, based on a true story and very intense. I walked away from the story reminded that we just need to be "a friend" to people - we can't cure them, fix them, or force them to lead a life we want them to lead. We just need to walk along side and love them as they take their own journey - as painful as that can be. The past few years have taught me that some relationships require more work than others but they are really worth it. We have to decide to be all in and then "do life" - with all of it's sticky, complicated, frustrating elements that may never go away. That's how God intended it - He never promised us a rose garden. He only promised to be there for us, loving and guiding us and commanding us to love others.

This is just a random photo of two of my sweet stateside friends who "do life" with me!

Tuesday is PWOC day and our summer studies are going well. I love the study we are doing on the Fruit of the Spirit and this week was on Peace. God's timing is always so perfect - offering just the scriptures we need right when we need them. After our study we usually go out to lunch and I have found a new favorite - Fertile. This French bistro serves up yummy dishes with homemade soup, a tiny salad, your choice of hot/cold tea or coffee with dessert all for Y1,300. Check out the hyper link - it's worth the read. I finally posted my contribution to Joelle's "To Work" category and I loved how it came out - with all the typos an amateur writer could include. I loved seeing Ginger's life in words and the pictures she gave me completed the post - painting a great picture of her family. Thanks, Ginger, for being my victim and spending so much time with me.
My friend, Jana, is our worship leader for PWOC and my scrap booking buddy!
Wednesday I was scrap booking at Jana's with Ginger and Kim while trying to view the Solar Eclipse. We didn't really "see" the view that a lot of people saw and captured with their cameras but it was fun trying. Great day with girlfriends!!! In the evening we watched "The Code" with Morgan Freeman and Antonio Banderas. A typical heist movie that really didn't offer anything new. Not bad but glad we rented it instead of trying to see it at the movie theatre!

See you next Thursday!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thursday's Tidbits

Thursday found me doing something many of you would be surprised by - I actually made lunch and ate at home. This is highly unusual as I eat out almost 2 meals a day. Not sure why I don't love to cook but I don't and that's a reality I'm willing to live with - at least for now. But, when I have people coming over to my place to hang out my hostess vibe comes alive and I feel compelled to do the one thing I detest more than going to the dentist - cooking!!! My friend and Okinawa Hai Partner-In-Crime (PIC), Dasha, came over to spend a few hours helping me rearrange my photo folders and learn me how to use Photobucket. I knew we'd need to eat and so I planned ahead - 1st thing that I hate about cooking. UGH - you have to plan and then go to the grocery store - second thing I hate about cooking. Since I had recently visited the US of A I had a great idea - I would make Gloria's fabulous BLT's without the T. See, I'm allergic to vegetables, my mom swears I'm not, and so out goes the T for tomatoe and in it's place comes the A for avocado. Now don't even tell me that an avocado is a vegetable - I'm just not buying it. In my fantasy world this yumminess is just good and doesn't need to succumb to any one food group. Though I said I "planned" our lunch I didn't completely plan on the fact that our bacon was in the freezer. UGH!! Dasha offered up Taco Bell as a plan "b" but I was being stubborn and wanted to make a meal at home - if only to brag on this blog and in hopes of impressing you a little bit with my perseverance. Long story longer, I burned the first batch of bacon trying to thaw and cook at the same time. But the second batch turned out yummy, if I do say so myself. We enjoyed our BLT's, minus the T and add the A with a gorgeous view of the Tengan pier and the bluest water in the world. Fun, friendship and burnt bacon - what more could a non-cook ask for?

Dasha, my willing victim, getting ready to enjoy her lunch with a view!!!

I really do like my bacon crisp so I could say that I did this purposely!!!

Yummy BLT, minus the T!

Friday we attended a Hail and Farewell and I got a chance to meet some of the new people Bill works with. Once we returned home we watched "Miracle At St. Anna" and I wouldn't recommend it. The storyline had great potential but their were to many stories trying to be told and they really didn't come together for a great ending.

I attended a baby shower on Saturday with my friend Jana then met Bill at Awase Meadows Golf Course for lunch. This little outing made me miss the yummy chicken sandwiches they serve at the golf course in 29 Palms - why can't all golf courses serve the same yummy food???

As always, we joined our Saturday Night Crew for a fabulous dinner at Sam's By The Sea. We were celebrating Josh and Jenny's 1 year anniversary.

Happy anniversary couple, Josh and Jenny!

This is what happens after 15+ years of marriage!! My husband was hungry!!!

One of our many meals at Sam's!!!

We enjoyed a great Sunday worship service at Calvary and seeing friends from 29 Palms who just arrived on-island. We picked up our "surprise" in the afternoon and I held my breath as we introduced Nemo to Socks. They hit it off well and they seem to be getting into a fairly good routine. Nemo is keeping us entertained with his large-breed antics and his face always makes me smile. God truly spent a fair amount of time creating this unique breed of dog and the world is a better place for it. Nemo can be best described as an attention hound and with the mug only a mother could love, I just can't resist him. He gets his tongue stuck outside of his lips, like Socks does. One of my goals is to capture a picture of his right canine tooth - it gets caught up on his many layers of skin when he sits for a treat.

On Monday I spent a lot of time finishing my bible study and preparing to facilitate on Tuesday. This scrapbooking study has really inspired me to be more consistant in putting my memories in an album. After the normal chores of the day and dinner out of the way we watched "Defiance" with Daniel Craig (He played James Bond in Casino Royale) and Liev Schreiber (He was in both the Manchurian Candidate and Kate & Leopold). Defiance is an excellent movie but not without some brutal scenes! It is to be expected when you're watching a true story about a group of defiant refugees that persevere while being persecuted by the Germans!! I would highly recommend it!!!

Tuesday is one of my favorite days of the week. I love getting together with the women of PWOC. This week we discussed verses and questions regarding Joy as one of the Fruits of The Spirit. Drove home to check on my ever-growing four-legged family to make sure they survived their first day together without me. They did well and Nemo's happy dance that I am naming the "sidewinder" for now, which I have to get on video, makes me want to come home more often. Socks has become so calm in her elderly years so having Nemo around sure adds energy to our place. I love having a younger dog around - it seems to make the older dog young again. Socks use to do that for Belleau. After a brief stint at home I was off and running again to squeeze in a game of bunko with my favorite Army Wives. I played as a sub and had a blast. Our hostess, Roberta, is an excellent cook and we enjoyed some great Mexian Food! It was fun to meet a few new ladies and I ended the night as the BIG winner - I got both the floater prize and was the Queen of Bunkos.

I'm the bunko Queen!!!!

Wednesday I was met with a defiant four-legged child and the beginning of the battle with the kennel. I did not prepare myself for Nemo's dislike for the kennel that, in the near future, he will need to travel in for more than 20 hrs. I had less than 5 minutes to convince my new roommate that the kennel is his friend. I didn't have the heart or the energy to "make" this 70 lb. animal enter this contrapment that he found unappealing. Instead, Nemo and Socks spent half the day in our guest room to "save" the mamasans from being loved to death by a strange and large creature they do not know. When the hubs came home to offer a potty break to our critters he tried to convince Nemo to "kennel up" and he was having no part of it. Now Socks, on the other hand, still knows the command and entered and exited the kennel several times as we tried to coax Nemo into it just once. Socks is smart - she knows that if she goes in, once she comes out, she gets a treat. Now we just need to get that message to Nemo. And after all that coaxing Nemo was warn out and spent his day napping on my guest bed. Anyone want to come over to The House of Traquair and sleep with a 70lb. snoring beast that likes to wake up at 4:20 a.m.!!

See you next Thursday!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Finding Nemo

Nemo is our surprise I promised to share in last week's post and I couldn't wait
until this Thursday to spill the beans!

Nemo's two biggest fans - the Hanson twins!!

Nemo's family, The Hansons, are pcsing this summer. Due to Nemo's breed and the heat conditions he is not able to join them right now. We only have custody of him temporarily until we find someone flying back to the states in September. Then he'll be reunited with his family in Cuba. Mike just recently retired from the Marine Corps and is taking a civilian job that will take the whole family to Cuba.

Here we are celebrating Valentine's Day with Mike and Toni Hanson at Sam's By The Sea!

Until then, he is a part of our family and Socks has taken to him well. I believe she is so use to having a large dog around that it's normal for her to have Nemo here. He is a 6 year old boxer, weighing in at around 70lbs. It's weird to have a large breed in the house again. Especially in this apartment where his size is highly noticeable in the kitchen, my office, the bathroom and on the stairs. He truly sticks out like a sore thumb!

He is getting use to our schedule and we are getting use to his interesting habits. He lays in different areas than Socks likes to lay, he doesn't like to pass her in the hallway so he'll wine until I get Socks to move. He breathes heavier than Socks and isn't a light sleeper. Whenever I move, he has to move. I know Socks does this when she is staying with our friends - I think it's normal in the beginning as they get to know their new surroundings!!!

Nemo does this "dance" when he gets excited - like he is trying to touch his nose to his tail. This picture doesn't do it justice but I love the tongue action!!!

All in all, it's going well with our new addition!!! I just tried to get a photo of the two of them together and it's just not working right now. Like herding cats or butterflies!!!! I'm sure there will be more Nemo stories to tell as the weeks pass by!!

See you Thursday!!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday Tidbits

Last Thursday I took an adventurous trip to Motobu in search of a new restaurant to try. My driver was my friend, Dasha - a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of gal. Without printing directions we headed out on our trip and soon figured out it's always best to have the correct name of a place before searching for it. Read her version of the story here - it's hysterical!

We found this restaurant in the Motobu Hills that served some out-of-the-ordinary items. I ordered the Beni-imo, Okinawan Purple Sweet Potatoe, soup which included whole-grain bread and a small salad. The soup was warm and fabulous. Dasha described it as the best potatoe soup she's had - I would agree. There was a hint of sweetness which, in my book, makes any meal better. The only thing that made it better was having lunch with a fun friend with a fabulous view of our crystal, blue Okinawan water! We then visited a fun & funky store that I will be covering on Okinawa Hai next week - check it out next Wednesday.

Friday found Bill on a four-day weekend so we did what any good American in Okinawa would do - we met friends at Mister Donut for breakfast!!! We paid our off-base bills and cruised at home for the rest of the day. We have started re-watching Season 3 of Bones. It rained off and on all day so staying inside was a great plan

Saturday was the 4th of July which I already posted about! It was an exciting day for my friend, Joelle - she gave birth to her 3rd child and her 1st girl. Little Kira will always have many friends to celebrate her special day with and two older brothers to keep an eye on her!!! Congratulations Yamada family!!! Joelle is the one who "recruited" me for Okinawa Hai and we attend bible studies together on Tuesdays.

On Sunday we we attended services at Calvary. Pastor Rick spoke on 2 Corinthians 12:11-15 and titled it "All For You" Part 1. We enjoyed lunch at our favorite Soba House with the Hawkins and did a little shopping at my favorite Y100 store. We closed the night out with several more episodes of Bones - it's getting really intense and ickier with each episode. The makeup department is getting a lot of business on this set. Our friends, Josh & Jenny, celebrated 1 year of marriage today - Congratulations!!!!

Monday started the week off well as I continued working on my Tuesday morning Bible study. This week we are talking about Love. I came away with two key points: We are commanded to love (John 13:34-35) and we are commanded to honor one another above ourselves (Romans 12:9-10). I've read both scriptures before but they came alive today and I am being challenged by them. God always gives us an opportunity to apply His Word to our lives - it is up to us to be obedient! I cruised with my friend Dasha most of the day and met Bill at Gordy's for dinner. Gordy's is our favorite hamburger joint on-island!!

Tuesday is where you will always find me on Kadena Airbase for PWOC. This is the 2nd day of our study where we could scrapbook in class as we learned about the Fruit of The Spirit. Our discussion on love was emotional and encouraging. I love our class and each women in it - the creativity abounds and their willingness to share their hearts is refreshing!

Several of us found time in the afternoon to sit for almost 2 hours for a Cocok's pedicure. I got my toes painted black with light and hot pink flowers to accessorize my newly softened feet. Later that evening we watched Max Payne. Not recommended for those of us who hear "bump in the night" to often. It was pretty violent, with some language, but the story line was good.

Wednesday I had a brain-storming meeting in the morning and a fabulous lunch. Just four of us ventured out to the Dim Sum restaurant I might have mentioned a few weeks back. It's a Chinese restaurant inside the Hotel Nikko Alivila. It serves both a buffet, with the best shrimp options on-island, and a Dim Sum cart service. Though this is not the cheapest lunch you will enjoy at Y2,500 it will be one of the yummiest with a breath-taking view.

We wandered the grounds of the hotel and happened upon the Picture Church on the property. My assumption is that the Picture Church is exactly what it's name implies - the place where they have pictures taken. They do have a typical church setting inside for a ceremony though I'm not sure how many Christian weddings would take place there. As you can see, it's absolutely beautiful.

In the evening the hubs and I went to the movies and saw "Knowing" with Nicolas Cage. Not sure I would recommend this movie either. I really like Nicolas Cage but I didn't like the ending. I should have been better prepared that this flick would have more of a sci-fi feel to it but I was still expecting something a little different. I wouldn't say not to see it, maybe just wait until it's on video. It is a little intense in parts so it's not for the faint of heart.

Have a great week and I'll see you next Thursday!!!! I'll have 2 surprises to share - one has something to do with eating "in" and the other surprise............. Here's three clues: it will have nothing to do with being pregnant, winning the lottery or heading back to the states early.