Wednesday, November 19, 2008

On the Road Again...

Thanks to everyone who has been keeping tabs on our blog. I just wanted to let you know there might be a little lull in posts because I'm headed to the states and it sounds like Chris is going to be kept very busy here. I'll get to be in Gainesville for my grandma's 90th birthday party, Thanksgiving, to run a half marathon with my mom, Mary's wedding, the SEC Championship Game (GO GATORS!), and my family is going to have an early Christmas while I'm there - sounds like a full trip! I'll be back in Japan mid-December and start posting again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hair Raising Adventure

Ok, ok, so it wasn't hair raising like the Sixth Sense, but definitely a little frightening. On Friday I got my first haircut in Japan - from a real Japanese person. You're probably thinking, "what's the big deal?" So, I will tell you my 3 reasons it was a big deal: 1. I only know how to say yes, thank you, and excuse me in Japanese, 2. Japanese people don't tend to have curly/unruly hair, and 3. I am overly capable of getting a bad haircut when I am able to communicate to the hairdresser in my primary language. However, I overcame my hesitation when I looked in the mirror and noticed that I resembled a chia pet.

I tried to get a wife from the squadron to do it, but she has sold all her equipment and is out of the biz. So, I started reading reviews online and there seemed to be a concensus that Mr. Miyagi at Cocok's (pronounced Cocoa's) was the person to go to if you have curly hair. I know - when I heard the name I immediately thought of Karate Kid too (wax on, wax off Daniel-san). My confidence went up when I called to make the reservation and the receptionist spoke very good English.

I got there on Friday and was not seated long when I realized Mr. Miyagi speaks no English - zero, zip, nada! At the beginning of your appointment they do give you a translator to tell him what you want. It just so happens that on the day of the haircut my hair wasn't actually as big as usual so I tried to explain to the translator that my hair is usually curly. In response to this she said, "you want palm? you want palm?" I had no idea what she was talking about until she asked one final time and made a spiral motion with her finger. She wanted to know if I wanted a PERM! I really had to stop myself from walking out as I flashbacked to my aunt Wanda giving me 2 perms in 24 hours when I was about 12 - don't ask why because I definitely didn't need more curl; you just never say no to Wanda! So after I said no perm, the first translator left and sent in another one.

The second one seemed to be getting the message across to Mr. Miyagi, but I still wasn't overly confident since I could not understand anything that they were saying!! She asked if I wanted bangs, which I politely refused and then asked me if I brought pictures. Now my American hairdressers always told me to not bring in magazine pictures because you never knew what kind of hair the models had and if your hair would do the same thing. Well, in Japan it's a good idea to bring pictures so they at least get a rough idea of what you want. I had an older picture of me that Mr. Miyagi went off.

The end result is a haircut that I would give an 8 out of 10. For me that is a complete success!! It would have been a 10 if I had known how to tell him to round it more - it's just a little too square. Overall, I am very happy and I'm sure when I go to the states in a week I'll have lots of pictures taken at Mary's wedding and I'll post some.

I hope everyone has a great week and HOW 'BOUT THEM GATORS?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Konnichi wa Oscar!

Well, with the help of Sandy and Karna, Oscar has made the journey from England to Japan! Our little family is now complete. You would not believe the paperwork that goes into transporting a cat - and it was supposedly easy since it was from a rabies free to rabies free country! He was originally supposed to fly out last week, but with a mix up in paperwork he was delayed by a week. Because of these delays and new paperwork, Oscar's quick check up by the vet turned into 4 vet trips (thank you Sandy and Karna!). Sandy also took a day off work and Karna used her Veteran's Day holiday to drive Oscar to the airport and get him started on his trip. We figure with the time it took Sandy to get to the airport, the flights and layovers, me taking him to the base vet to check him in, and then driving home the poor cat was in the crate for about 44 hours! You can bet by the time he got out he was ready for some love - maybe we should lock him in a box more often!

We gave him a few hours to adjust and then introduced him to his new little sister, Rana. That meeting did not go so well. Oscar just wants to be left alone and Rana just wants to play - it was a bad combination. Rana definitely took the brunt of the encounter and came away with a bloody ear and a busted blood vessel in her eye! Even with all that she refuses to leave Oscar alone - maybe she's not as smart as we thought. We did take some video of their first meeting, but Chris took the camera with him so we'll have to upload it later. Poor Rana's tail is going a million miles a minute the whole time - please, please be my friend, she says! She is so sweet. I think in a week or so Oscar will at least tolerate her without drawing blood - keep your fingers crossed! So, a BIG domo arigato to Sandy and Karna!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tour of the Stewart House

Hey everyone!

Here's a video clip of our house. Please come see it in person! I miss everyone!


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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rana

So, since Chris is away and we're waiting on our cat, Oscar, to make it here from England, I thought I'd show off our newest baby, Rana. I know there have already been pictures of her, but this blog will be completely dedicated to her.

As far as we know Rana is 6 months old. We told ourselves we were going to get an adult mutt on the small side of medium with short fur. The only requirement we met was the short fur part. She's definitely a puppy, with the size of her feet it appears that she'll be pretty big, and the older she gets the more people think she could be a pure German Short Hair Pointer. I loved her picture when I saw it on the adoption site, but tried to avoid looking because she was a puppy. Then Chris saw the picture and said, "Her tail's a blur she's wagging it so fast. We've got to get that dog." So as soon as we landed in Japan we emailed Rana's foster mom and set up a meeting. We were done after that. She was too cute to pass up and we fell in love with her immediately.

After 2 months we are still convinced we made the right choice. Rana is precious, sweet, and smart. She doesn't have very good dog etiquette yet - she wants to jump and play on any dog she meets instead of doing the polite thing and sniffing and getting sniffed - but I'm sure we'll be able to train some manners into her. She learned sit, paw, and waiting for her food very quickly. Plus, she hasn't had an accident in a long time (knock on wood).

I'm attaching some videos so you can see just how cute she is. Make sure you have your speakers turned on for the narration, but please ignore the cutesy baby voice I use in some of them - Rana brings out the sap in me.

This first video is Rana meeting her new squeaky duck:

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This next one shows how smart Rana is. She could do this dinner trick within her first 2 weeks with us.

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This last clip shows off Rana's tricks, kind of...

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Check out the Pictures of Our Travels folder in the next few days for some Rana still shots.