Monday, July 27, 2009

A few of my favorite things...

So, my favorite thing in the world is, of course, my wonderful husband. Well, this past Sunday was his birthday and he wasn't home to celebrate. Don't worry, his friends in Albuquerque made sure he had a nice time. However, we didn't want to let the day go by without celebration here on Okinawa so we got things ready for when Chris comes home (which, by the way, will be this Wednesday!). Here are some pictures:

Rana wasn't too sure about the signs.

The sign says it all.

Oscar tried to help celebrate, but Rana had other ideas.

One of my other favorite things is crazy Rana. I know, I know. She's naughty and she's spotty, but I just love that face! On Sunday Rana got a play date with my co-worker Magda's dog Casper. Besides Rana's normal rude behavior of skipping all the intros and sniffing, the play date went really well. Casper is definitely more subdued than Rana, but he's faster than her so he could make a get away.

Our first mistake, was introducing them in the van. Casper did not want to have to get in the back with Rana and I can't say that I blame him:

It got better when we got to the beach and they had room to run:

Here are a few still photos that I thought were too cute to pass up:
Look at that tongue!
Enjoying the ride
Calming down a little after almost 2 hours of romping.
Thank goodness she's not a kisser because that is some big time slobber!
So sleepy after her big beach day. She still tries to wedge herself into the cat bed. She fit when she was a 17 pound puppy, but at 60 pounds it's getting a little tight.
Follow this with the latest Harry Potter movie and it was a pretty darn good Sunday.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

100 Yen Plaza

I can already hear my mom's heart beat quickening as she realizes this post is about a place where you can get bargains! I got it from both sides growing up when it came to looking for a deal. Chris is amazed at how quickly I can give him a percent off at a sale, but I've got nothing on my mom and dad. They grew up in the time before we "cheated" with calculators and their math skills are razor sharp. I don't know if the 100 Yen stores ever have sales, but they definitely have bargains.
I went with the intent of getting stuff for my best friend's birthday and on that end struck out (sorry Mary - your present might be late). However, I did come home with some pictures of some pretty funny things you can buy for just 100 little yen.
My first stop was a section completely devoted to insect care. Yes, that's right - insect care. Why, you ask, would anyone need to care for insects? Well, because people keep giant beetles for pets!
This beetle was on our front porch one night, but I've seen these guys for sale on the side of the road.
If you decide to invest in a beetle, you might need this:
"Big Insect Jelly Brown Sugar" - mmmmmmm...
And if you really love your beetle, you are going to need this:
Your very own insect care kit! I'm not exactly sure what you're brushing on a beetle, but you've got 2 brushes to choose from.
Those of you who live here already know that a lot of Japanese smoke. I mean a lot! Well, the 100 Yen store had lots of ashtrays to choose from, but this one was my favorite:
"Taking break refreshes your mind. Be careful not to smoke too much." I think it's almost as good as the surgeon general's warning.
And while Okinawans might not be opposed to lung cancer with all their cigarettes, they are definitely against skin cancer (or at least getting a tan).
This desire to stay light leads to items such as driving gloves and arm covers.
When you're done playing with your beetle, smoking, and driving you might want to take a bath. Maybe you could use one of these:
Charcoal soap (thanks for the heads up blogger Mary)
Or maybe this is more your cup of tea:
Green tea soap - I tell you there's green tea in everything here!
Or maybe you'd like a nice family bath:
Alright, I don't know if this is really for a family bath since it's all in Japanese, but that's what the picture looks like to me.
When you're nice and clean and it's time to cook a little dinner for your family, don't forget to use the right tongs! I have never seen so many tongs. You've got your:
Spaghetti tongs and Ice tongs
Multi-purpose tongs (if you're a slacker who doesn't care about if your family has their food picked up by indeterminate tongs)
Sugar tongs
Serving tongs
Strong nylon noodle tongs
Or maybe you prefer metal noodle tongs?
Fried food tongs
Turner tongs (that's right - tongs just for flipping food over)
The ever useful combo salad and bread tongs.
With all these tongs you can't go wrong. However, if the dinner you're preparing looks a little scummy, you might need these:
"scum remove sheet on a ladle" OR
perhaps a "scum absorbent sheet"
When you're done with your perfectly tonged, scum free food you might want to relax with:
I'm not sure if they actually contain any part of the snake or turtle, but I have heard that locals believe that drinking the venom from the Habu snake will give you vitality.
Apparently, even skinny Okinawans worry about their weight because I found these:
I've got to say the cheese flavored one kind of scares me.
I hope you've enjoyed your 100 Yen Store tour. It truly is a place with unlimited treasures just waiting to be discovered.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Best Boss Ever

I know sometimes I complain about having to work an extra weekend now and then, but my boss Teresa is the reason why. She's great. We just spent the entire week at Okuma (a beach resort for those of you not on Okinawa) with 50 kids from 8 different bases around the Pacific for a Camp Challenge. I was a counselor and was absolutely exhausted after every day, but the amount of work I was doing had nothing on Teresa. She was in charge of all the organization, coordinating with all the bases, setting up all the challenges, and basically just making sure things ran smoothly. She also spent the Sunday night before camp at the Youth Center with the out of towners, as well as the Friday night we got back. Plus, she made about 8 trips to and from the airport getting everyone where they needed to be. And she did all of this with a smile. On top of all that we had an International Lock-In Committee meeting the Saturday after we got back from camp. By the end of the meeting we were both dead on our feet. My eyes were stinging they were so tired. When we walked out of the Youth Center to head home I had a flat tire. I could have handled it, but Teresa stuck around and helped me change it. That's why when I work an extra weekend shift I stick it out and don't quit. It's hard to find a boss that is kind and passionate about their job. I've got a lot to learn from Teresa. I'll write more about the Okuma Camp Challenge once I muster up the energy to go through the 550 pictures I took.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Is this heaven?

A couple posts ago I wrote about Yogurtland and how I was really looking forward to going only to be disappointed to find out that they hadn't had their grand opening yet. Well, perseverance won out and I made it to Yogurtland this week, twice. I've got 3 words for you - De - Lish - Us! It is fantastic. It's all self serve - you pump your yogurt, choose your toppings, and then weigh and pay. I was slightly embarrassed the first time I went with Charity, Jessica, and her friend Andromeka (sp?). I got to the weigh and pay part and the lady said "just one spoon?". I swear it wasn't that much yogurt. Certainly not enough to make someone believe that I would be sharing it!
So, Choose your size. Your options are huge and OMG! I went with huge.
Pick your flavor - feel free to mix and match. My favorite was vanilla wafers the first time, but the second time I fell in love with the pistachio. I'm hoping the next time they have the peanut butter or double oreo flavors their pamphlet advertises.
Next, choose from toppings galore! They have normal ones like fresh fruit, candy, and crushed cookies, but they also have things like puffed wheat and chocolate covered wheat (which I discovered is not my cup of tea).
Last, weight and pay! It's that easy !
Everybody loves Yogurtland!
Also, this week I had fun volunteering as a timer at an Okinawa Dolphin Swim Team swim meet (sorry no pics). I also taught English.
All of my ladies: Michiko, Chieko, Takako, and Yukiko.
Yesterday Rana had a play date with a puppy that Patti is watching (I'll spare you all the video). Afterwards, Patti and I headed back to American Village:
We had lunch at Freshness Burger. The burger was delicious and it just happens to be next to Yogurtland. Hence the two trips in one week.
I think I'll start using hence more.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Getting back to my roots

Well, as most of you know I'm from the south. Critics scoff and say that Florida isn't the "real" south, but these folks apparently haven't been to the Florida springs on a hot summer day, a Mullet Festival, the Redneck Riviera, or anywhere on the FSU campus. I've been missing the "fixin' tos" and the "y'alls", but luckily Charity threw a Redneck/White Trash Party in honor of our country's independence. I always love dressing up and my friends' costumes were great.
On the left is a redneck vase and some patriotic pigs in a blanket. The middle picture is the white trash pu pu platter, including potato sticks, cracker jacks, pork rinds, and cheesey poofs. The last one is actually a Mormon dish of lime jello and shredded carrots. Aimee, who is Mormon, assures that Mormon food and white trash food have a lot in common.
Me, Aimee, Laura, Charity, and Amy (yes, there are 3 Amys in our group. The one on the right is also married to a Chris).

Robby, Chris, and Chris

Liza and Joey (and I think Zeus coming to check them out).
This picture makes me thankful I have good teeth.
I had a great time like I always do getting together with these great ladies. The only thing that could make it better is if Chris had been in town. Oh well, hopefully less than a month to go.