Archive for the ‘Me’ Category

Back to school, back to blogging

September 5, 2012

I guess I took the summer off from blogging. The spring too, if you look at the date of the last post. It’s not that I haven’t been doing fantastic things I’d love to blog about. It’s more that I’ve been so busy doing fantastic things that I haven’t had time to blog. That and I’m lazy. But I’m sure that’s a secondary reason. Pretty sure, anyway.

So what have we been busy doing? Well, we started hiking with the kids. Which, in reality, means that we went out 2-3 days this summer and hiked — sometimes driving hours for that perfect view (and lots of DVD time in the car).  Still, that’s 2-3 days I couldn’t blog, plus a few more because I was fiddling with Photoshop actions, which I discovered this summer. Why, yes, you can see the results of both:

No, my camera can’t actually capture that blue of the mountains. But Lovely & Ethereal and Boost actions from Pioneer Woman can.

We also did a lot of sports. Thing 1 tried basketball in the spring. She surprised everyone (herself included) by making 2 baskets during the season. Not bad for a first grader. And, of course, soccer. I may not have mentioned it, but I’ve been part of a soccer family for over 30 years. And so my husband and kids are stuck being part of a soccer family, too. Things 1&2 are a little small to travel to tournaments every weekend (thank goodness!), but we still had practices and mini Wednesday tournaments every week. Some weeks the kids liked it:

and some weeks, not so much:

But even though they don’t always want to play, they always want to socialize. This was our first real summer full of playdates. Here, there, everywhere. Playdates don’t lend themselves well to blogging time. But the kids do enjoy them.

Yes, there have been other things. The Cat is on shore duty, so hanging out with him is up near the top of the list. Oh, there are plenty of other things up there too: work, crafts, cleaning, landscaping…the list goes on. But today the school bell rang the death knell of summer.

Which marks a whole new list of things I need to get to. Hopefully, blogging will make it to the top of that list occasionally.

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Aloha, Washington!

July 1, 2008

After weeks (months?) of promises, the Cat finally got his orders. We are going to Washington! I know, who in their right mind would be happy to move from sunny Hawaii to dreary western Washington? A mom with two kids under three who has family there, that’s who. We’ll probably stay with my parents while we look to buy a house. (Did you hear that? Clear out a guest bedroom!)

This next month is going to be difficult, to say the least. The Cat is going to be out to sea for four or five of the next six weeks. The movers will come to pack us up in less than a month. Two weeks later, when we see the Cat again, we’ll move out of our house. Then a few days later we’ll be hauling everything to the airport for the last time, at least for awhile.

I’m really going to miss Hawaii, but I’m really looking forward to having family to help out. And being on a much bigger land mass. With rising airfares I’ve been feeling the island fever lately. But I don’t want to complain too much, because I’m sure I’ll be missing all this sooner than I think. I better carve out some time to sit on our front porch and stare at the ocean.

SLR spoiling

June 24, 2008

Gma – my mom – spoils me so. First, when I needed to take photos for my magazine articles (see this work photo post), she sent me two SLR film bodies and, I don’t know, maybe 5-6 lenses. Plus filters, flashes, and miscellaneous other camera accessories. I love the photos from SLRs, with the choice of lenses and depth of field (I can blur out the mess in my house!), but the expense of developing film for my own use was starting to get to me. But we were waiting to get a digital SLR, maybe as our Christmas gift if we could afford it.

So 10 days ago or so, an unexpected box came in the mail addressed to The Cat and me. Curious, I opened it. It was a Sony dSLR. And on the packing slip it said “Happy Birthday” to both of us. Mind you, our birthdays are in March and September, so I guess June does split the difference, but the gift was a surprise for more than just that. I hadn’t even been talking to my mom about camera stuff for awhile. Plus, my mom’s not very good at keeping secrets. (I had just talked to her. She hadn’t even given me a hint by asking if we’d gotten any packages lately.) Plus, dSLRs are on the expensive side for her to be doling out as birthday gifts.

The Cat’s reaction was a little different. He wanted to be mad, because she had spent too much money on us. Then he tried out the camera. After that he was upset he didn’t have more time to play with it and shop for accessories for it. Anyway, thanks, Mom. The camera’s great, and all our Minolta lenses work with it, which is quite a boon. And for everyone else, I’ll spoil you with some photos giving you a little taste of the Things in Hawaii:

Taste of Hawaii - baby style

Climbing the plumeria tree

Yeah, the color’s a little flat in these, but maybe my photos will get better once I get the instruction manual out. Yes, surprise to those who know me, I started using something without reading the instruction manual.

There’s a reason military families get health care

June 23, 2008

Last week was not good for me. It started going downhill Monday around lunch, with a sore throat. By Wednesday I was in the doctor’s office with a strep throat infection with so much pus on my tonsils everyone wanted to come in and look at them. Then the cough started. And runny nose. By Friday night I had pinkeye in both eyes. And on Saturday, I went to the doctor’s with laryngitis. The laryngitis was probably the most difficult to deal with, since Thing 1 is in her “Why?” phase and Thing 2 is just learning what the word “no” means. At least I’d like to thing he’s learning.

It’s a good thing all of these doctor’s visits are covered by our military health care, because I blame the military for my current condition. Yes, I believe stress and anxiety brought all of this on. After all, I’m not one to get sick too often, but the last few weeks of military life have been more stress-inducing than normal. I’m used to the military treating The Cat however they want, but at the moment they are messing with my family and our future, and the fact that there is nothing I can do about it has me lying awake at night steaming. We’re supposed to leave here in 6-8 weeks, but we can’t get anything in writing so we can make our plans. I have no idea if The Cat will be around to help with the move or have time on the other end to help shop around for a house. (We’re planning on buying our first house, another stress factor.) So here I am, feeling crappy, with a trans-Pacific move upcoming at an undetermined time that I may be doing with just me and the two kids. I’m not ready for this.

The Cat, bless his heart, has been trying to get this taken care of for months, to no avail, because others just aren’t doing their jobs like they should. And now, since there’s no official word on when we’re supposed to go, The Cat’s boat will probably take him out to sea and keep him here longer. Ugh. I really don’t like to complain about the military, after all, it is our bread and butter, plus I’m as patriotic as the next guy, but I also hate it when my life gets screwed up because some paper pusher hasn’t done what they should’ve done months ago. Okay, rant done. I’m going to take all my meds now. At least they didn’t cost me anything.

Becoming a part of a community

June 14, 2008

Somewhere in Hawaii (or anywhere in the world, for that matter), there will be a double size quilt that I helped with. Sure, the basting stitches I put in will get pulled out and my fingerprints will be washed away, but I know I helped baste all the layers together. I had very little idea of what I was supposed to be doing on a quilt for a woman I barely know, but it was a community effort in quilting class, so I jumped in and helped. How fun is that?!

It was a beautiful green on green money tree design. It was done so well you couldn’t even see the applique stitches. (I can only dream of the day!) I haven’t made much progress on my project, although I did learn how to applique the valleys in the design today. Hopefully I can finish it before we leave. The Cat’s been great about setting his schedule so I can go to class (we had a lot going on today!), but he’ll be gone much of July, so I’ll need to ask the neighbors if they can babysit.

Next on the Hawaii List: Surf’s up

June 12, 2008

Yesterday The Cat and I took our first (and probably only) surf lesson. It was a blast. No, I wasn’t great, but I was better than I had worried I’d be. The Cat, of course, was a natural. I can only hope Things 1 and 2 will inherit his natural athletic ability. And my charm and intelligence, but that goes without saying.

Our lesson was at White Plains Beach, which I had stayed at once, but never entered the water because the waves were too big for Thing 1 back then. It was a nice day for surfing, but I had forgotten about the holiday. Actually, I remembered that Wednesday was Kamehameha Day, but I forgot what beaches are like on holidays. So, instead of the half empty weekday beach I was hoping to make a fool of myself in front of, it was a beach packed with local families and surfers. And, of the surfers, I looked to be the only 30-something female. And, I think I was the only female who wasn’t wearing tiny bikini bottoms, which was probably a good thing for all involved. It doesn’t look like fun to pull those things up to cover the top of your crack every 10 seconds or so.

Our instructor was Dustin, and he was great. We started on the sand, where I was fantastic at standing up. Yes, I could balance like a champ on the beach. On the water…well, we’ll get to that.

We paddled our boards out to meet up with Dustin and start catching waves. I was good at paddling, so I figured at least I’d have that to feel good about. I let The Cat go first, and of course he caught his first wave, stood up on his board and looked perfect (from what I could see). Can you hate the man you love for being too good?

My turn. My board caught the first wave, and I pulled my first foot up underneath me. Then I was froze. I rode the wave in, half standing, half sitting, all the way to the beach, because I didn’t know what to do to stop. (Jump or fall off would’ve been the correct answer here.) Like The Cat says (more frequently to me then I’d like), “You can only get better.”

I did get better, even riding a wave or two squatting. It was when I was determined to stand up that I started losing my balance and falling off. Too soon, the lesson was over. I can’t believe I was out there paddling and surfing for nearly an entire hour. Time flew as fast as the surfboard seemed to. I loved it, although next time I think I’ll work on riding low to the board for awhile before I bother my head and body with standing up and being tall. Hopefully there’ll be a next time.

The Cat cut his toe and sat out the second half of the lesson. I joined him on the beach when I was done. It was 1 pm. We had the boards and the babysitter for another hour or so, but we were too exhausted to go back in and practice on our own. In fact, by the time we made it to the mini-mart down the street my arms and back were already sore. Uffda, old age is tough!

Today, my body is definitely paying for my Hawaiian folly. But ibuprofen makes it bearable. And a few days of soreness is a small price to pay for being able to say I went surfing in Hawaii.

First on The Hawaii List

June 10, 2008

This week I’m getting to work on my Hawaii list – things I want to do before I leave Hawaii.

I started on Saturday with my first Hawaiian quilting class. I was the only new student; all the others were older women working on much bigger, more beautiful wall hangings and quilts. My neutral color pillow looked pathetic next to their work. And that was before I started. Now it looks worse. But, everyone has to start somewhere, right? And if I don’t take the class now, where else am I going to find a Hawaiian quilting class? The only problem is I discovered I’m very slow (and bad) at hand sewing. I just hope I can finish the pillow in the suggested six sessions. I really don’t want to leave here with a half-finished pillow.

Here’s what it looks like starting out:

 Hawaiian quilt pillow week 1

The pattern is a leaf. For this, I folded the fabric in quarters and traced and cut the pattern. Next, I basted it to the background. Now I’m working on appliqueing the design to the background. I think the quilting comes after that.

Here’s a close up of the one leaf I’ve worked on so far: Hawaiian quilt close up wk 1

I only know how to sew the points, not the inverted corners, so it’s a pretty sad right now. The instructor did the point on the right, so of course it is the best, but like The Cat says, I can only get better. Hopefully. Well, no matter how it turns out, I’m really glad I’m doing it. It’ll be nice to take something away (no matter how ugly) besides memories from my Hawaii List.

Next up: surfing!

The idea of living in Hawaii

June 6, 2008

We’ll be leaving Hawaii in a few months. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, with two small children it will be great to be closer to family, especially when The Cat has to go out to sea on the submarine. On the other hand, I’m going to miss living in Hawaii. At least I’ll miss the weather and the IDEA of living in Hawaii, which, unfortunately, my reality hasn’t matched.

The idea of living in Hawaii, at least for me, means doing and seeing every type of touristy thing, from shopping to dining to activities that require sunblock. It also means going beyond the simply touristy and doing the local thing. Those word of mouth things that aren’t listed in Frommer or Lonely Planet guides. Making friends and having experiences that make Hawaii feel like home. That idea would have been ideal. But, instead, we had two kids in the three years that we’ve lived here.

I moved here, far from friends and family, halfway through a pregnancy, making finding a regular job hard. (Thank goodness for Kaplan getting me out of the house occasionally!). Oh, and The Cat has been gone – a  lot – making it difficult to keep even a non-regular job. Sure, I could’ve overcome those things and been more adventurous, but I have more excuses. (Many of them center around traffic and parking. Who knew I was such a car wuss?) The truth is, when I get back to the mainland, people will say, “Oh, Hawaii! Did you do ______?” And most of the time I’ll have to say no. I hate that left out, not-in-the-know, wussy feeling.

Still, we do now have two kids who can (forever and always) say they were born in Hawaii. That, plus the fact that Things 1 and 2 are the most wonderful kids you’ll ever meet, I guess evens things out. Regardless, it’s hard to accept the fact that I didn’t get to do everything I wanted here. But, maybe I shouldn’t give up yet. I have a few months left, and I’m not leaving without a fight.

The Cat came back

May 18, 2008

It has been two months since my last post. If that seems pathetic, it’s only because it is. TCITH was gone for 2-1/2 months and it was a very tough deployment for me. So bad that I tried to get an AMC flight home. You know it’s bad when I’m willing to go to the bother of trying jump through the hoops to get on a military flight with two small children by myself.

TCITH came home at the end of April. For 5 days before he came home, we (Thing 1, Thing 2 and I) were dealing with the flu. Then pink eye, a plugged milk duct that become infected, flu (TCITH this time) and pink eye again. Oh, and a yeast infection from the antibiotics for the milk duct infection. Yeah, it was a fun three weeks. But at least he’s home. I’ve been able to get some work done, to get out without kids for an hour or two, and even consider making social plans. Not feeling quite so pathetic now. It’s good to have the Cat back.

And the party continues…with cockroaches

March 11, 2008

I know for many the Ultimate Blog Party is winding down. But I’ve always been one of the last to leave a party. That’s usually because I’m one of the last to arrive, but we’ll save my problem with punctuality for another post. Tonight, there’s some other party business I need to take care of.

First, a big thank you and ALOHA! to everyone who has stopped by my party pad. Especially those who’ve left comments. The UBP is the first time I shared my blog with anyone, so it was a bit scary. It’s been a pleasant experience. Everyone has been so darn nice! Of course, that introduces a new problem. I want to visit everyone’s blog and try to leave comments, but there’s only so many hours in a day. I’m slowly getting through it though. Everyone seems so interesting and has great things to say, I just hope I can find time to keep visiting again and again. I also need to find a way to keep track of all the neat things I find out there. Hmm, perhaps another blog…

The second bit of party business I have deals with cockroaches. I can’t believe I promised to blog about this, since it’s not something I’m proud of or happy with. In fact, it’s a bit of a skeleton in my closet that I hide from friends, although the problem is so new it’s really more like a decomposing body. (The imagery just keeps getting better, eh?) Here’s the deal with my cockroaches:

Last summer, I had a few (I think) cockroaches take up residence in my garage. Now, I did not grow up around cockroaches and would have been happy to continue life in that vein. But, noo-ooo-oo, we had to move to paradise. With the cockroaches. I’m sure my over-the-top reaction to seeing one is funny to some (my husband, at least), but I’m not laughing. It’s hard to laugh when you’re screaming, crying and running. I’ve been told that they are more afraid of me than I am of them, but I’m pretty sure I had some freak cockroaches who were missing that fear gene. Case in point: one night I was heading into the garage to hide Thing 1’s birthday gift (a tricycle). There — out in the open — was a cockroach. Now, I’ve had experience flipping on the light, screaming and seeing a little bugger scatter. This one did not scatter. He lifted up those long, shudder-inducing antennae and stared me down. Or at least was going to. It wasn’t much of a staring contest. That little guy’s I-own-this-place attitude scared me so much the scream stuck in my throat. I quickly backed into the house and shut the door, leaning on it for support once I was safe on the other side. Or so I thought. About two weeks later that brazen bug (or one of his comrades) decided the garage wasn’t enough and tried to take over my kitchen. So there I was, 39 weeks pregnant, with a two year old sleeping upstairs and a husband 1,000 miles away, sobbing on the couch. Where was I going to live if the cockroaches evicted me? Luckily in the daylight — and after buying a can of Raid — I was much braver. I went on the hunt. So, two nights, three hysterical phone calls to my family, and a can of Raid later, I had defeated the cockroach. He was legs up on my kitchen floor. End of story, right?

It was until 2-3 weeks ago, when I found a couple little cockroaches scurrying around on my cupboard doors. These were small, but I still screamed and ran away. However, I was brave enough to return with a fly swatter and kill them. Still, late at night, I sat on the couch curled up in fear, thinking of the size they could become. To put my fears to rest, I called in the cavalry.  Today, Dale Gribble’s colleague visited, put a few drops of something here and there, set out a few traps and told me my cockroach problems were over. Or would be in 10 days or so. I think I’ll be keeping all the lights on until then.

And that, my friends, is how I tackled my cockroach problem. Except the little ones that occasionally get in my car. That’s a definite driving hazard (“Officer, the lady let loose a blood-curdling scream just before she rammed into that lightpost.”), so I’ll have to consider what to do about that. I think spraying a can of Raid into the air ducts might not be so healthy in an enclosed space. Perhaps I should cover every air duct to keep them out. After all, who needs air conditioning in Hawaii?

** 

Have you ever came up with a list of ideas for small talk, because you were nervous about fitting in at a party? There’s probably a good reason it didn’t include cockroaches. I’ll admit, my party small talk is a bit rusty. I haven’t been getting out much lately. But, there’s still three days left for the UBP, so maybe I’ll fit in by the time I’m forced to leave.