Thursday, June 26, 2008

trying to find negative things so it's easier to leave

Something that has always kind of bothered me about Hawaii is the general attitude that not only is Hawaii better than everywhere and everyone else, but they invented everything, too. It's one thing to claim things from other cultures (or even things that are universal) and put your own spin on it, but you should at least acknowledge that it isn't completely original. The ukulele? A simplification of the guitar, which was brought to Hawaii by Europeans. Take a burger, or chicken teriyaki, or SPAM, slap it on a plate with two scoops of rice and some potato salad...it's a plate lunch! A uniquely Hawaiian meal! Play some reggae music...it's Jawaiian! No difference, really, except that you're in Hawaii when you play it.

Another example: when we first moved here we saw a local commercial for...something or other...the first line of which was "Baby's first birthday...a uniquely Hawaiian tradition." Uh....what??? Oh, right, because babies don't have first birthdays anywhere other than Hawaii? Now if they had said "Baby's first Luau," that would have made sense. I guess maybe they were referring to the tendency to make a really big deal out of the first birthday party (rent a hall, hire a caterer)...but ya know what, they do that in other places, too. One of Brian's cousins had a first birthday party for her daughter last month that involved a magician, a face painter, and not one but TWO professionally decorated cakes - one of which was a fondant-covered three-tier creation. They live in South Jersey. Somebody should tell the Hawaiians that their uniquely Hawaiian tradition is spreading!!

Well anyway, what set off this rant was a letter that we got from the housing office (civilian contractors, by the way) a few weeks ago, letting us know that they will install the Guardian Angel Window Guard in our child's upstairs bedroom if we call and request it. This letter has been hanging on the side of our refrigerator for a while now, and I'm absolutely dumbfounded by it every time I see it. The first two sentences read thusly:

"Dear Valued Resident, Many of the homes here in Hawaii are two story homes. A resident of a two story home has different responsibilities than you might have had previously as a resident of a single-story home."

Okay, let's ignore the fact that they hyphenated "single-story" but not "two story"...which is a minor annoyance to me, but whatever...anyway. What exactly are they implying here? That we never lived in a two-story home before we lived in Hawaii? Isn't that a little presumptuous? Do they think that other bases don't have two-story housing? WTF? These two sentences just seem completely unnecessary to me. They totally could have skipped their condescending BS and gotten right to the point.

To be fair, there was a similar attitude in New Orleans - the "our town is THE BEST and everyplace else sucks...no I've never been anywhere else ever in my life but I just KNOW". Take, for example, the conversation that Brian had with one of his coworkers, who was from the New Orleans area:

her: "I hope I never get stationed in Newport (RI)!"
him: "Why not? It's beautiful there."
her: "It can't be beautiful, it's too cold!"

A place can't be visually beautiful if it's not 95 degrees with 98 percent humidity 9 months out of the year, apparently.

Friday, June 20, 2008

the REAL Next Food Network Star

I've realized that I'm probably not going to be able to donate my hair to Locks of Love like I was planning to. What I forgot to take into consideration was the fact that my hair is layered - I didn't realize how much shorter the layers are. It would be another five or six months before I could cut 10 inches off of the shortest layers, unless I want to look like Lisa Garza...which I don't. (Oh my gosh, no way!) I just don't have the patience to grow my hair out for that length of time. It's hot and I have a grabby baby and my hair is too long and heavy to stay in place when I tie it back. More power to the people who are able to make the hair-growing commitment; maybe I'll do it some time in the future, but right now I'm just not up to the challenge. It's going shoulder-length as soon as I get a chance to be away from Jackson for an hour or so.

Speaking of The Next Food Network Star...I was just watching a rerun of this past week's episode while I was feeding Jackson, and just as Jackie was falling asleep, Brandon came into the room with a couple of pitchers he had taken from the kitchen cabinet that we don't keep locked. "Cook. Mommy, cook." I put Jackie down and set Brandon up with some Gladware, a couple of spatulas and our "for emergencies" mess kit (which we have never used), and he has been "cooking" blueberries in the little pot for the last ten minutes.

"Cook...boobehees...cook...eat!" A very clear culinary point of view, if you ask me.

ETA: Now he's sitting on the couch, eating blueberries and watching Ace of Cakes. He's taking after his mama, for sure!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

news

We thought that we were going to be in Hawaii until next summer (2009), but it turns out that we're leaving at the end of this year. We've known this for a while, but the orders didn't come in until today, and I didn't want to say anything until we knew for sure.

So...we're going to Yokosuka, Japan for three years.

This would be one of the reasons why I had Jackson a week later than I thought I was going to. The day before I expected to give birth (when I'd already been having irregular contractions for several days), I found out that we're going to a duty station that is as far from "home" as we could possibly go, 8 months sooner than we thought we'd be transferring. Needless to say, news like that can cause more than enough stress to put off labor for a week or so. My first three thoughts were (in order): 1. BIL's wedding (next summer); 2. my new car; 3. our trip to Maui and the Big Island (which was going to be in December).

Well as it turns out, we might be able to make it to the wedding after all (fingers crossed!). But we can't bring the car - doesn't it just figure that the first time we ever buy a brand new car, we have to sell it a year later! And I never am going to get to Maui. We decided to go island hopping next month instead, but with a move coming up we can only afford to do one island, and the Big Island is both cheaper and more unique. So, Volcano National park it is!

The fact that Brian will be attached to a ship and out to sea fairly often is something that I'm choosing not to think about too much. I'm just excited that they have Ikea in Japan. Oh, and Disneyland. (If Brandon grows 3.5 inches in the next year and a half, he'll be tall enough to ride the rides, but young enough to get in for free. One of the advantages of being a tall kid, I guess. :)

In other news, Jackson had his tongue tie fixed today. He handled it like a champ, but Brandon got pretty upset on his behalf. I had warned him that it was going to look like they were hurting the baby, but they're actually helping him. I don't think it helped, though, that while we were waiting, there was a kid (a big kid, at least ten years old, I'd say) in the next room, screaming and crying like he was being tortured while they did something to his ears (I have no idea what). I tried to explain to Brandon that if you get scared, it hurts more, but if you're a big boy and act brave, it won't hurt as much; but I think it went over his head. I think that when he has his surgery, I'm going to have to play up the "if you're good, you'll get ice cream later" strategy...even though he is obviously going to get plenty of ice cream afterwards, regardless.

Speaking of which, today I learned that Brandon's tonsilectomy is going to require general anesthesia (yikes) and an overnight stay in the hospital (double yikes). The guy who schedules surgeries for the ENT clinic was out sick today so I don't know yet when it's going to be, probably next month (after our vacation, of course). I'll keep you all posted.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

random crap for sale, 25 cents

We just had a yard sale. I wanted to take a picture of all of our stuff spread out around our driveway, ready to be sold, but people started coming and buying it before we even got it all set up. People show up in droves to yard sales around here; the locals know that we military types get paid fairly well and move often, so we're gonna have some good stuff to sell. They also know that there's always going to be at least two yard sales each week in housing, so all you have to do is post a sign at the intersection of Radford and Valkenburgh and put your stuff out on the lawn, and people will come.

Yay for making extra cash off of stuff that was just going to be donated to the thrift shop anyway.

We have WAY too much stuff, by the way. And once you really get into the groove of throwing stuff into the "yard sale" pile, it becomes easier and easier to let go of things. "Ohhhh, but I don't want to get rid of that!" kind of morphs into "Hmm, I like that, but I don't use it; I'm not likely to use it in the future; it's been sitting in a box for the last three years...off it goes!" It's all very freeing, really.

Friday, June 13, 2008

wwpd?

Nothing else to write about right now, so here's more stuff about how cute my kids are.

Just now, I opened the refrigerator for Brandon and he said, "Hmm, let's see..." as he pondered his choices. He saw half a kielbasa wrapped in aluminum foil and exclaimed "pizza!" - I guess because we usually wrap leftover pizza in aluminum foil. Not that half a kielbasa is even remotely similar in shape to a slice of pizza, but...whatever. I unwrapped it partway and showed him. "No, not pizza. Look, hot dog. Do you want this?" "Yes, I do! Hot doh! Pizza! Hot doh!"

The reason why I'm relating this story is actually kind of silly. Brandon apparently associates pizza with cheese (totally understandable), so he calls it "cheese-a". Except that he is unable to make a "ch" sound, so he actually says "tease-a".

One of Brandon's first words was Bible ("bah-boo") - we have a Bible story picture book which has become, by far, his favorite bedtime book. He has been able to point out which man is Jesus since before he was two years old. Pretty good considering that we never bring him to Church, huh?

You may or may not see where I'm going with this. Stick with me.

Brandon can't make a "ch" sound and he can't make a "j" sound, either. Jackie is "tassie" (I honestly can't explain the "s" sound in place of the "k", it possibly has to do with how often I have said "the baby is gassy"), cheese is "tease" and Jesus is "Teesus".

The way Brandon says "Jesus" and the way he says "pizza" sound almost exactly the same.

Vaguely sacrilegious, but it makes me laugh.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

my boring life

I haven't written in two weeks because nothing particularly interesting has been going on. Here's a summary of the highlights:
  • Jackie has pooped only twice in the past week and a half.
  • No store has ties for toddlers after Easter. Apparently little boys aren't supposed to have formal occasions during the summer. I actually found exactly what I'm looking for from a vendor on Amazon, but I need it by Sunday and it would never get here on time. Especially since that vendor doesn't have express shipping. But why would I pay for overnight shipping for a TIE, anyway? I'm thinking that Brandon won't be wearing a tie to Jackson's Baptism.
  • I did some vinyasa-style yoga yesterday and I am SORE AS A MOFO, which I guess I should have expected, considering that I haven't done a vinyasa since September. I feel like I did about 50 push-ups.
  • Brandon has a new toy electric guitar. (Which is way cool and fun to play with, seriously!) Together with his toy ukulele and his (real) Little Martin, that's three guitars. His collection is catching up to Daddy's...although he still has quite a ways to go before he matches that monstrosity of a collection. We don't think that he is going to grow up to be a professional musician (although who knows) - but he sure is serious about the guitar right now.
    (There used to be a picture here of Brandon sleeping, still holding his guitar. I took it down because I am a crazy mama bear.)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Blogoversary...Lucky #7

Seven years. Really? Seven years have gone by since I started blogging? Holy Cannoli.

I started my blog (or "web diary" as they were called in those days) at the end of my junior year of college, when I was home at my parents house for a few days. (I had an apartment in Philly year-round, so I didn't come home for the whole summer. That particular summer, actually, I spent most of in New Orleans with Brian. But anyway.) My friend Laura, who was then known as Cassie (don't ask) emailed me to tell me about her web diary, and told me I should have one because if I did, it would be really good. So I signed up for one and started posting my random thoughts.

You'd think that after seven years of doing this, I'd have all kinds of readership and advertising revenue, or at least that I'd have more than four people commenting on a regular basis. (Hi Tara, Dianne, Sonia and Josh!) But it seems that every time my fan base raises into double digits, something happens and I stop blogging for a while, and I lose them all. But I always come back. And while I used to care how many people read my ramblings, I can honestly say that I don't anymore. I don't care if anybody else likes what I write; I write because I like it. And I really can't imagine a world where I don't have a blog...as lame as that sounds. Besides, if I didn't have a blog, how would my mom know what I'm up to?

Picture time!!!

This is the street in Philadelphia where I lived for the first year of my blog's life, my building is the one all the way to the left:


And this is where the magic happened:

We just got rid of the yellow desk a couple of weeks ago, it was held together with angle braces and truly on its last legs - but it was still hard to let go of. The printer cart, though, is in the boys' room. I loved this computer, back when it used to work. I won it in a Back-to-School sweepstakes that one of those web portals was running...I can't remember the name of it though. I don't think it was Yahoo...Excite, maybe? Whoever it was that used to have a free internet access service. (ETA: It was Lycos.) It was an awesome computer at the time, although it was ENORMOUS. (We also finally got rid of the computer a few weeks ago, too.) Anyway, I miss having a MIDI keyboard as part of my setup. Maybe I'll get a new one someday.

So...that's all, folks. Happy Blogoversary to me!