Saturday, May 30, 2009

Me Jane

Finally, I have something to blog about! I've been working so much I haven't had time for anything fun. But today was the day. This morning I met up with a group of ladies (about half of who I run with) and we headed to Forest Adventure. It was awesome!
Forest Adventure is a great ropes course for adults and kids over 140 cm (that's 55 inches for all us 'mericans). After a short safety brief and the guide watching us do the first section, we were on our own to conquer cargo nets, rope ladders, free falls, and zip lines. In situations like this in the past I've had an almost paralyzing fear of heights, but today nothing. Nada. Ok, on the free fall one I knew I couldn't hesitate or I'd never get off the platform, but besides that nothing. I don't know what switch flipped in my brain, but it felt very empowering to be able to do every challenge.
Plus, the big bonus is that all the ladies were awesome. Most of them are teachers together, I know a few from running, and one from that Extreme Fitness Challenge class I took. There were 11 ladies total and everyone was encouraging, fun, and would laugh at you if you deserved it. It was all very comfortable. A couple other ladies are also not overly fond of heights, but with the encouragement (and sometimes ridicule) of the group everyone made it through the entire course.
I was afraid of dropping my camera so I looped it through my bra strap and then tucked it in my bra when it wasn't in use. You know I am nothing if not classy! Here are some pictures and video of the adventure:
It was a gorgeous day in Okinawa. The sun was shining, but it hasn't gotten ridiculously hot yet!
This "play area" was at the end of the course.

A lot of us found the play area more intimidating than the actual zip lines.

The view from the top of one of the platforms.

All the ladies - me, Laura, Margot, Carrie, Megan, Nadine (Lacretia Rachele), Laura S., Tiffany and sitting: Astrid, Leslie, and Susan

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Puppy Love

Now, everybody knows I'm a sucker for a dog. We've got thousands of pictures of Rana, our old dog Christi was the flower girl in our wedding (I think I just heard Heather snort), and apparently people know that if they want me to respond to something on Facebook all they need to do is make sure they include a picture of a dog. So, imagine my delight when a sweet, adorable dog started hanging around the neighborhood. It's no surprise that I brought her inside and even less of a surprise that Rana went NUTS! with her. The stray dog is super calm and wants to just curl up in your lap. Well, Rana is not so calm and just wanted to put her big, spotted feet on the new dog. The new dog is one third Rana's size and wasn't too appreciative of Rana's playful gestures. I thought that Rana would surely calm down, but after having the dog inside for 4-5 hours Rana was still just as crazy as ever. So, despite the fact that I'm in love with this new cutey (I'm not giving her a name in the hopes of not getting more attached) I'm trying to find her a new home. Anyway, here are some pics and a video. Let me know if you know of anyone looking for a super sweet dog that is good with kids.

She went right into Rana's old kennel.

Looking wet and precious after her bath.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Maybe biking isn't for me...

So, as most of you know Chris has gotten really gung-ho about biking. While he's in town he and his friend Sam head out early on Saturday mornings for 50 mile rides. Chris is so into it that he boxed up his bike and took it with him to the states. He's thinking about competing in a Half Ironman this fall. That consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 miles of running. Now, I could do any one of those disciplines, but not all of them back to back to back!
Well, since I got a bike when we moved here and Chris is having so much fun biking I thought I'd step it up a little and get in the saddle. I normally run with a couple ladies on Sundays and one of them, Tiffany, was willing to bike an 8 mile loop around the flight line and then we'd run our 5 mile route. We were probably 6 miles into the ride when we were moving from the flight line on to the main road and heading back to our vans. A car was coming so I came to a stop and when I put my foot on the pedal to get going again the pedal flew off shooting me forward and downward. I was definitely more shocked than hurt. I was checking myself over when Tiffany pointed out that my pedal was on the ground and my front tire was torqued. Oops. Could you imagine what I'm capable of if I actually had the bike in motion? Well, Tiffany biked and got her van while I walked back. She met me halfway, we went back to my van, and went ahead and did our run. Yeah, we're pretty much rock stars!

Here are a few pictures of the damage. I can already feel Chris cringing when he sees the bike.

So, you might notice that while the handlebars are facing the right direction, the front wheel is perpendicular to the bike. And yes, that's my pedal laying on the floor.

I took a nice chunk of skin off the side of my thumb when I mushed it between the handlebars and road.

This is the back of my left leg. I think the seat might have come down on it, but I'm not certain.

So, I know I'll get back on the bike (after I get that tire straightened out), but I think running is more my speed. I'm good at just one foot in front of the other.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Common things you see driving around Okinawa

So, this picture blog doesn't include everything (people driving in huge visors and guys in baseball uniforms were mysteriously absent these last couple days), but here are a few things you are sure to see while driving in Okinawa.

Sorry this picture is so far away, but it is gas station attendants! I think that an attendant has to pump your gas, but I'm not sure because we get ours on base. The Japanese gas is about 2 times as much as our prices, which makes it half as much as England gas.

Ladies with parasols. It's not uncommon to see someone covered head to toe on a really hot day.

100 Yen Stores!

Roadside ice cream stands - I haven't tried one yet, but this is going to be a long, hot summer.

Family Mart - the Japanese 7-11.

Pachinko Parlors

Taxis and cars pulled over anywhere. If they're just to the side of the road they are usually on their cell phones, but if they're really parked they are usually napping. They put my napping ability to shame!

Drink machines

American fast food - KFC and McDonald's are the most common

Used car dealerships - I swear there are more cars than people on this island.

This is a 2 for 1 picture - there are LOTS of scooters and cell phones!

There are lots of recycle bins, but very few trash cans.

Tombs, tombs everywhere!

People with faces masks and yes, they wore them before the swine flu outbreak!

Commuter bikes - no matter the age of the rider you almost always see commuter bikes. It was explained to us that it's so nobody feels bad about riding a P.O.C. There's something to be said about a country where people do what's good for the whole instead of the individual.
School girls in uniforms with too short of skirts. This picture is actually pretty tame. I swear some girls wouldn't be able to bend down to pick up a chopstick if they had to!
This is my favorite - kids hanging out of windows! There apparently is no law that kids have to be belted in any way while riding. I've seen kids hanging out windows, standing up, roaming around the backseat, in grandma's arms in the front seat - it gets scary. I love this one because their bumper sticker says 'Child on Board". I guess it's my job to not hit them and hurt the kids since they're not concerned enough to buckle them up.
I hope you've enjoyed this brief tour of Okinawa.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ready to go

So, this picture is from a couple weeks ago when we worked on getting Rana used to the kayak, but with 3 cameras to keep up with sometimes pictures get temporarily misplaced. One thing we don't have to get Rana used to is riding - she loves to jump in the car or van. I think she looks adorable here with her life vest on.
Here are a few more pictures off the 3rd camera:
Sam enjoying some ribs at Easter. Sam is Chris' friend from the squadron that he bikes with. He's a super nice guy.
The next pictures are from multiple lunches with my girlfriends. The first is from Zen (an awesome restaurant with a beautiful view of the East China Sea:
The sushi, porno shisa dog, and bathroom shots are from Genki Izakaya.
The shisa dog is showing his junk and this indoor bathroom had a rock floor. I don't even want to think about how they clean it.
The final shots are from Cafe Caracalla (which, sadly, is now closed). There are pina colada pancakes (that came with coconut syrup - heaven!) and shrimp pizza. This is half of my normal lunch crew - Amy, Jessica, and Charity.
Anyone else hungry after reading this post? Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Slippery Feet

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Check out those melons!

I know that title got the attention of every guy that reads this post (thanks Dad and Tyler). I just thought I'd show one of the very few draw backs of living on such an isolated island:
Double click on the picture so you can see the prices! $19.83 for a cantaloupe! Yowzers!
I remember getting 10 ears for $1 back in Florida. Man, I'm getting old!

Dragon Boat Races

Tuesday I played hooky (you all know I'm too much of a good two shoes - I got permission) and went to the Dragon Boat Races down in Naha with my friends Liza, Jessica, Charity, Amy, and Heather and Bekah. The boats are called Hari and the races are a tradition intended to bring luck to fishermen.
At these races American and Japanese teams compete. We didn't stick around for all of the men's races, but the Air Force ladies totally kicked two male Japanese teams' butts and the Marines, Navy, and Army ladies all competed against each other. Navy won by a lot and then Army and Marines were last. I know that was a surprise. I was thinking, you're Marines, you work with boats. How can you let Army beat you? But my running friends, Astrid and Tiffany, were rowing for Army so I was glad they had a good showing.
It was an absolutely beautiful day and a perfect time to be outside and away from work. After the races we went to Pineapple Place. There was a restaurant upstairs and a gift shop downstairs with all sorts of pineapple products. I sampled many, in the name of research, and I can tell you that my favorite was the pineapple wine cake. Delicious! I also like the soft serve pineapple ice cream I got upstairs in the cafe. So refreshing on a warm day. Here are some pictures. I might have to steal some better ones from my friends, but these are good enough for now.

Liza and Amy Bekah, Heather (standing with camera), Charity (with glasses), and Jessica (in the white hat). Yes, I am aware that you can't really see their faces, but I was so focused on taking boat pictures I didn't really take people pictures! Bekah is going to be just like her mom, Heather. She's already snapping away on the camera. In the 2-3 hours we were there Heather took 1500 shots! Liza's pineapple wine cake and 5 drinks! She was thirsty!
The soba noodles were hecka long!
Me and Charity as the latest Japanese cadets.