July 31, 2007
July 30, 2007
July 29, 2007
And one more thing this week that made me appreciate our good life is the book "Jesus Land". A compelling, but tragic memoir. I was drawn to it initially because it is a sister's account of her childhood with two adopted brothers (I haven't come across many adoption books from the sibling perspective), but as I started reading I was also interested in the connection to the Dominican Republic (where my mother spent part of her childhood) and the issues of identity, race, religion, family dynamics, and abuse boiling in the stew of adolescence. I gobbled it up in two days and it left me feeling very grateful for my own childhood, my family, and my children.
This book is one in a string of memoirs that I have read in the last few months. At our most recent book group (Families with Children from China book club) we discussed the book "Falling Leaves" and part of our discussion centered on the apparent increase in this genre of memoirs ("The Mistress' Daughter", "The Liar's Club", "Angela's Ashes" etc). It was interesting to consider why there has been an increase in their popularity. Is it a reader's version of "reality tv" that compels us to soak up others tragic stories as a point of comparison for our own lives? A way to connect? or to increase appreciation for what we have? Our book club struggles with finding monthly selections that aren't too depressing but our primary subjects of China and/or adoption aren't usually the source for humorous material (if you have suggestions please share them!).
To counteract some of my recent heavy reading, we watched a very entertaining/uplifting documentary called "The Journey" ...a guy, his dog, and VW van...a great summer film.
Today we headed to the coast and visited Amelia Island. We spent most of our time in the town of Fernandina Beach. Instead of broiling on the beach we opted to stroll the quaint streets meeting friendly locals , checking out the local book store, admiring the architecture, and daydreaming about what life would be like in a small Southern coastal town. We enjoyed meeting Felix who sells small bags of chips from the back of his bike while serenading potenial customers with his harmonica. Today's trip already has us looking forward to future trips to learn more about the island's pirate history, Fort Clinch, and the beach.
July 20, 2007
Here are a few more photos from our last beach week (I needed to do something to take my mind off of all the crazy stuff of this week and remind myself that we don't always have such bad luck). In addition to family fun while at the beach, we also met up with our good friends and neighbors from Okinawa who now live in Pensacola. Drew very kindly arrranged a special visit to one of the Blue Angel practices and we also spent a GREAT day out on on their boat. As always the kids had a blast together.....playing on the beach, having a sleep over, loving the time out on the boat.It is hard to believe how quickly they are all growing up. Noah was 18 months old when we moved next door to them. Noah was sad several days after saying good-bye because he worried he would never see his "best friends" again. I agree with Noah it was hard to say good-bye but I reassured him that we are already working on plans to get together again soon.
Also, Adam's car is now fixed...perhaps our luck with finding local professionals is getting better.
July 19, 2007
Update on Camille. Her eye got worse this afternoon with increased swelling (eye almost completely shut) and spreading redness so we brought her in to the hospital. I was especially concerned because of her previous history with skin infections (MRSA). We are back home now with more meds and watching her through the night. Hoping things improve in the morning. Not fun. Send get well vibes and let those darn bugs know Camille is off limits!
July 18, 2007
And while on the topic of outdoor workers here is a link to one of my favorite aspects of Japanese culture: construction worker's outfit. Take note of the shoes and billowy pants. And also a plug to this wonderful site/blog "Okinawa Hai" created by a group of great mamas still living in Okinawa. I wish this had been going while we were there. It is an amazing resource for those getting ready to move there and for those still enjoying the island life!
And still in keeping with the construction theme. I recently came across this photo of my favorite little construction guy...I think he had just turned one. There was a lot of construction in our little Japanese neighborhood which Noah loved to watch. We were able to climb up on this vehicle one day while the workers took their break. hard to believe he was ever that little.
July 17, 2007
Getting back to the source of our current discomfort....when we got home I discovered that our air conditioner had water gushing from it which was quickly filling up a corner of our garage. We contacted our home warranty people who said someone would be there in an hour. When it got to be 10pm we realized they had lied. But luckily we had some relief from the heat because of the daily afternoon storms. It was actually very nice to sit in our living room with all of the windows open listening to the sounds of a summer night. Sleeping without air conditioning was tolerable thanks to ceiling fans. But right now in the middle of the day it is not fun. The kids and I are cranky but hanging out in the heat hoping someone will come and fix it. Despite our frequent phone calls it seems that all of the air conditioning people are busy and there is only a slim chance we will be seen today.
July 15, 2007
I then returned to the ticket booking which got more complicated so I had to call the airline directly which resulted in shouting at that dumb automated voice system. You know the one. The one with the robotic female voice who is extra patient, but seems to be hard of hearing because I have to repeat everything multiple times and then listen to her patiently and somewhat condescendingly repeat it back to me. While doing that song and dance routine, the doorbell rang. I ignored it because 1) I wanted to finish up the ticket business, 2) I was still in my pajamas (yes, I know it was 11am), and 3)I wasn't expecting anyone (except for those door to door religious folk who seem to love visiting our Jewish home).
The door bell rang again. So I peeked out the front window and was shocked to see several policemen looking in our bushes around the house. I quickly opened the door to discover they thought I was having a serious problem because of the earlier panic call through the alarm (which I already forgotten about). I was feeling pretty embarassed at that moment...disheveled housewife in ratty pajamas, screaming toddler in the background, and I am sure they overhead my shouted "conversation" with the robotic phone lady. By the time it all got sorted out and they issued a false alarm warning "ticket". I returned to the now dreaded ticket process only to discover there were only two seats left on the flight I wanted and the price had gone up $100 per ticket in the thirty minutes I spent dealing with the false alarm situation. UGH!!!!
July 13, 2007
Here's what I have been "tagged" to do:
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they have been tagged, and to read your blog.
Here are 8 random facts about me:
1. One of my favorite jobs was working on a ranch in Colorado. If you are looking for an unforgettable family vacation (or a GREAT summer job). Visit Rainbow Trout Ranch!
2.I wasn't allowed to eat sugar cereals when I was growing up except for the one week each summer that we spent at the beach. I always chose Fruity Pebbles (you know that scary, neon colored cereal full of chemicals and sugar). And guess what? I still eat it once a year when we go to the beach (but I don't do it in front of my kids!)
3. I danced with Buckminster Fuller "Bucky" when I was in fourth grade. I met Paul Simon when I was in eigth grade and he was shorter than me. I met the Prime Minister of Japan when I was 23 and he was also shorter than me.
4.I am competitive and compulsive parker. I get great satisfaction from finding a good spot and will drive around the parking lot until I get a "good" one. How lazy am I? Perhaps this stems from my lack of participation in competive sports as a child (except for the one horrible summer of softball).
5. I also have a secret desire to visit Dollywood.
6. I have eaten raw horse meat and it did not taste like chicken. One of the many Japanese food experiences I had as a teacher in a rural part of Fukuoka prefecture (JET, ALT 95-96). I have also eaten Chiang Mai "french fries" in rural Thailand...fried bugs and they also did not taste like chicken.
7. I have never had any broken bones or major surgeries. But I have survived a Brown Recluse spider bite, a DVT in pregnancy, a man breaking into my room, and getting caught in a serious flash flood in New Orleans.
8. I have a horrible habit of renting movies that I believe to be comedies but that were actually horrifically sad and/or disturbing (Cast Away, The House of Yes, and several different Chinese movies (Adam now refuses to watch Chinese "comedies" with me).
Now I have the fun job of "tagging" :
Angi, Jessica, Amy, Amanda, Jenn, Jan, Morena, Sarah (no pressure to do this...I don't usually do those chain letter things,but I have to admit that this was fun!).
July 11, 2007
July 6, 2007
July 4, 2007
Why aren't there more drive-through windows for family use? I would pay extra just to use a drive through window for the post office. I always put off mailing things because I dread standing in line with my monkeys. Actually "standing in line" isn't the correct terminology since Camille doesn't just stand anywhere these days. She's climbing, jumping, and running any chance she gets. And Noah enjoys teaching her new tricks like how to swing on the ropes that create the endless lines at the post office. If there can't be a drive-up window, why can't there be a short line or special waiting area for frazzled mothers and restless children? I know it would make everyone much happier.
And is it really bad to give your children goldfish crackers three times a day in place of traditional meals (surely there are some omega oils in those bright orange creatures,right?)? Since returning from our travels I have not made it to the grocery store yet...another place that would be nice to have a drive-up window for those emergency runs for milk, bread and toilet paper. I think I have gotten much lazier since becoming a mother.....always trying to think of ways to make outings easier or ways to make our food supplies last longer to delay a trip to the grocery store. So rest assured we did not have goldfish crackers for dinner tonight. No, we had pancakes, chicken, and the last of the frozen peas.
Towards the end of the week we all gathered on the beach for a big group photo followed by some fun in the water.
We started our walk by watching my dad work on a beach painting. He spent as much time as he could on the beach.