Saturday, June 30, 2012

Miss Addy Turns Six

I apparently forgot to post about a big event this month ... 

Miss Addy turned six on June 5th!

I hate to admit that not only did I not blog about her birthday, I actually did not remember it was her birthday until a week later.  I am the  Luckily, I remembered the next week and immediately sent a text to my mom who helped Ads celebrate.  

Yes, she does have a birthday crown on ... she is a princess after all.  

Miss Addy has lived quite the life.  She was introduced to us as "the feisty one" and she sure has lived up to that title.  She's had a knee replacement and a hip replacement, she's lived in five states, taken a cross country road trip, flown on a plane and added a lot of joy to our lives every day for the past six years.  She's one special little lady and I hope she is enjoying her semi-retirement in Indiana!

The feisty little girl the day we brought her home

Happy Birthday Miss Addy!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Weekly Intentions - Week 3

Here is a recap of my intentions from last week:

1.  Check on Mr. Bag-O's house - I am pleased to report that it is still standing!
2.  Blog five times. 
3.  Walk Lucy four times.
4.  Complete six workouts.
5.  Go to bed before 12:30 three times - I suck at this majorly.  Maybe this week?
6.  Drop off donation at The Second Fiddle.  
7.  Email my jeweler about my engagement ring appraisal.
8.  Clean the inside of Suzy (our car).
9.  Call housing about my air conditioner.
10.  Find someone to mow the grass.  

So, I think I did better than last week (yay!) but I know I could do better.  Again, I did well with the important things like working out, taking care of Lucy, checking on Mr. Bag-O's house and taking care of my own house but I am still not doing well with going to bed early!  I've also decided to put off calling housing about the air conditioner because I don't think it's actually broken, I think sometimes it's runs the dehumidifier and when it runs on that cycle it doesn't blow out cool air.  At least, that's what I've heard from other people!  

Here are my intentions for this upcoming week:  

1.  Workout six times.
2.  Make it to Thursday morning Body Pump.
3.  Walk Lucy four times.
4.  Give the blog a facelift - almost done with this one already!
5.  Create a disaster kit - this is dependent on my plastic file folder coming in to the Depot.
6.  Pick up Lucy's paperwork from the Camp Zama vet.
7.  Fill a prescription I've been sitting on for weeks.
8.  Work on drinking tap water rather than bottled water when I'm at home.
9.  Send a card to J.
10.  Go to bed before 12:30 three times this week - I am determined to accomplish this goal!

What are you working on this week?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a wonderful, busy, productive weekend and that it was just what you needed!  Mine was!  This was the first weekend this month that I had absolutely no plans for Saturday or Sunday and I was SO excited.  And it went by WAY too quickly, as usual. 

Friday, one of my favorite students decided to bring his "pet" to class:

I was not a fan!

Friday night, we had our Officer's Spouses Club monthly meeting at the lovely V.'s house (hi V.!).  We talked some business, but we mostly just ate, drank wine and margaritas, and hung out.  

I had some major goals for Saturday and, I am happy to report, that I accomplished all of them!  But not without a lot of help!  I ran some errands around base, vacuumed out the car and then came home to do some major damage to our yard.  We have a small side yard for Lucy and it's really just a pain in the you know what.  We are expected to take care of the lawn - but we left all of our yard tools in the U.S. It was my plan to find a high school kid to mow it every week, but you would not believe how hard it has been to find a reliable person!  There are kids that knock on the door some Saturdays but they don't come every Saturday, so I can't rely on them.  So, I decided the easiest thing to do would be to do it myself.  I'd just like to throw in a disclaimer that I will be 28 in two weeks and until this weekend I had never touched a weed whacker or a lawn mower.  So, I called in some reinforcements, borrowed a lawn mower and a weed whacker, and we set to work!

I will let the pictures speak for themselves:

The giant pile of weeds that we pulled 
(we have more grass than weeds in the yard)

Mrs. A. hard at work

Weed whacking the perimeter

We also sprayed the entire yard for bugs but I didn't take a picture of that step!

The finished product
(looking MUCH better thanks to Mrs. A. and Mrs. D.!)

We worked up quite the appetite doing all that yard work, so we decided to make a Mexican feast for dinner.  Mrs. D. boiled chicken breasts in chicken broth with a packet of fajita seasoning and we made chicken tacos!  Mrs. A. made guacamole - no mexican fiesta is complete without guacamole!

Delicious chicken tacos 

And then we took Miss Lucy for a walk - it was a very productive day and I felt very accomplished by the end of it!  I should also point out, that before they came over to help me with the yard, Mrs. A. and Mrs. D. moved a queen sized bed from base to Mrs. D.'s house out in town.  Who needs men when you've got friends?!

I ended the night with a glass of wine on the couch - watching Big Miracle and painting my nails.  It was the perfect, lazy Saturday night!

I had more big goals for Sunday and I am pleased to report that I accomplished all of them as well!  It's amazing what you can get done when you actually have a free weekend.  I ended the weekend with a movie at the base theater - Think Like A Man.

It's my last full week in Atsugi before Mrs. S. arrives ... this month has flown by!

Have a good week!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Little Facelift

Happy Sunday Friends!

I hope you've all had a wonderful weekend!  Mine has been super productive - but I'll tell you all about that tomorrow :)  One thing that I did finally check off my to-do list was giving the blog a facelift!  She's got a new background, new color scheme and new name - and it's about time!  We've been out of the Pacific Northwest for over three months, so I thought it was time to leave "From the Midwest to the Northwest" behind.  

There is one thing I need help with though, tech savvy friends ... there is a blog banner that matches the new background that I would love to use, but I cannot figure out how to add the blog name to the banner.  I've tried to add the text in Preview and in Powerpoint but it is just not working.  Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Little Things

This week I am enjoying:

The night sky on my late night runs

A tasty margarita:

Not one, but two surprise packages in my mailbox:
Seriously, how cute is the packaging on that candy and the owl wine stopper?!

Finding Miss Lucy in my spot on the couch:

My morning coffee (thank god for Starbucks K Cups)

A new recipe that was really tasty:

And a beautiful sunset!

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Printed Platforms

I am  officially OBSESSED with this new shoe trend:

If I wasn't on a budget, I would purchase all of the above.  I am not even joking.  Luckily, I was able to snag these beauties on sale the other day:

What do you think of this trend?  Would you wear printed platforms?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Weekly Intentions - Week 2

Recap of Weekly Intentions - Week 1:

1.  Create a flower arrangement for the living room.
2.  Drop off donation at the Second Fiddle (it's been sitting in the corner of my room since before J. left)
3.  Trim Lucy's nails.
4.  Paint my fingernails and toenails.
5.  Cross one thing off my deployment list.
6.  Walk Lucy four times.
7.  Complete six workouts.
8.  Call housing about the air conditioner in my bedroom.
9.  Go to bed before midnight three times (why is this so hard?!)
10.  Respond to emails within 24 hours of receiving them.

So I did pretty well with the important goals like taking care of Lucy, working out and responding to emails in a timely fashion, however I kind of sucked at making it to bed early this week.  I went to bed before midnight ONE time last week.  That HAS to change this upcoming week.  I also kind of half completed two of the goals - I didn't drop my donation off at the Second Fiddle, but I got rid of half of the stuff (that counts right?!)  and I didn't paint my toenails and fingernails, but I painted my toenails!  

And my Weekly Intentions for this upcoming week:

1.  Check on Mr. Bag-O's house (I am watching it for him while they are gone and haven't been by yet, whoops).
2.  Blog five times.
3.  Walk Lucy four times.
4.  Complete six workouts.
5.  Go to bed before 12:30 three times. 
6.  Drop off donation at The Second Fiddle.  
7.  Email my jeweler about my engagement ring appraisal.
8.  Clean the inside of Suzy (our car).
9.  Call housing about my air conditioner.
10.  Find someone to mow the grass.  

Some of these are obviously the same as the previous week, but I read that it takes two to three weeks to make something a habit!  I try to workout and walk Lucy as much as possible, but I need to start remembering that that is my top priority each day!  I am also changing my bedtime from midnight to 12:30, I think I would have accomplished this goal last week if it had been 12:30 instead of 12:00.  

Did you set Weekly Intentions last week?  How did you do?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekend Recap

Hello Friends!

I hope you had a good weekend.  Mine was BUSY but lots of fun and we are still recovering this morning.  Friday night our squadron had dinner with some of the lovely ladies in another squadron here on base.  We took the train to Yokohama and had dinner at Bashamichi Taproom.  American BBQ?  Yes, please!

Saturday, Mrs. A., Mrs. D., Mrs. K13 and I took an MWR tour to the Yunessun Hot Springs in Hakone.  It was a long day and pretty crowded, but we had a good time relaxing in their different hot springs.  They have several different types of springs to soak in - we tried the charcoal bath, the red wine bath, the coffee bath and the traditional Japanese bath.  Mrs. D. and I also tried the "Doctor Fish" spa - you sit with your feet in a pool and small fish eat the dead skin off your feet.  It's very popular in Japan and we'd been told to try it.  I think that is probably the only time I will try it!  It was so weird and tickled.  I don't think the fish were able to eat any of my dead skin because every time one touched me, I instinctively kicked my foot.  Whoops.  

Saturday night, Fooz cooked for us at our XO's house.  She really knows how to cook and each meal she makes is such a masterpiece.  She started with mini caprese salad bites - she took half a cherry tomato and topped that with half a ball of fresh mozzarella, a small basil leaf, and a drizzle of balsamic.  YUM.  We also had roasted eggplant and french bread.  Our first course was rigatoni with homemade spicy tomato sauce and mini meatballs.  She makes her tomato sauce completely from scratch - as in, she started with a couple of tomatoes and ended up with tomato sauce!  I've made tomato sauce from scratch using canned tomatoes, but never started with fresh tomatoes.  I am inspired to try now!  She also boiled the rigatoni in the same pan that she started the sauce in and did not rinse it out.  It gives the rigatoni a bit of a tomato flavor.  Delicious.  The second course was farfalle with a creamy mushroom sauce.  I sadly did not watch her make this course, so no comments on how it was made!  But I think it was even more delicious than the first course.  We finished off our evening with green tea mochi.  Only in Japan would you top off a delicious Italian meal with Japanese ice cream :)

Sunday, I started my long list of chores in the morning but had to take a break in the afternoon to help one of the kids in our squadron celebrate his 9th birthday!  He had his birthday at the bowling alley on base and we had a pretty good showing!  I even bowled for the first time in YEARS with three of the ladies from my squadron.  And please, just look at the sweet bowling shoes that I was given:

I cannot believe I am posting this picture on the internet, but just check those shoes out.  Anyone up for a trip to the skate park after bowling?

I came home and did more chores, before heading over to Fooz's house for another delicious home cooked meal.  We had some delicious fajitas, guacamole and margaritas.  It was the perfect way to end our weekend!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Deployment Updates

Happy Friday Friends!

We have almost successfully completed three weeks of this deployment - yay!  It was a little stressful there in the beginning, but things have calmed down and Lucy and I are doing just fine.  Although I do talk to Lucy like she is a person ... that's normal right?  We've been busy and we've got a fun weekend planned as well!  We are going out in Yokohama tomorrow night and on a tour to the Yunessun Hot Springs in Hakone on Saturday!  I've also completed half of my deployment goals (which I have yet to blog about, whoops) and I'm also doing pretty well with my Weekly Intentions for this week!  I love my lists :)

J. has been busy too - most days they fly twice a day and if he's not flying, he's standing duty.  I don't typically get an email from him until around 1:30 or 2:00 a.m.!  I'm glad they are busy because I think it helps the time pass more quickly for them as well, but it would be nice for him to have a break!  However, I don't think they will be getting one any time soon - I read recently that the George Washington conducts more daily, flight sorties and recoveries than any other aircraft carrier in the fleet and has fewer no-fly days!

The U.S.S. George Washington has a Facebook page that it updates periodically with pictures from around the boat.  They have been showing our Growlers a lot of love lately:

J. and Scratchy landing on the USS George Washington for the first time

J. and Scratchy coming in to land ... what I love most about this picture is how perfect the shadow looks on the deck

Looks like nasty weather

I love how this shows how the jets are stored on the deck

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! 

See you Monday!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Before J. left, we tried to squeeze in as much sight-seeing as possible.  One afternoon, he was done working early so we hopped on the train and headed down to Kamakura to see the Big Buddha.  It takes about an hour on the train to get to this coastal city located on Sagami Bay.

We took the train to Kamakura and got onto the local train line - the Enoshima Electric Railway.  It runs right along Sagami Bay for part of the ride and the beautiful scenery made the time pass quickly!  

We didn't have much time, since most things close around 5:00 p.m., so we chose to visit the Hasedera Temple and the Big Buddha in this visit. 

Hasedera Temple is best known for its statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.  That statue has eleven heads - each face has a different expression, signifying that the deity listens to the wishes of all types of people.  The statue stands 30.1 feet tall and is considered to be one of the largest wooden sculptures in Japan.

Entrance to Hasedera Temple

A beautiful Japanese garden right inside the entrance

Kannon-do Hall which houses the statue of Hase Kannon - sadly, you can't take pictures inside the temple so I don't have a picture of the statue for you.

Looking over Kamakura for the lower Observation Platform

Kamakura + Sagami Bay

A statue on the grounds

The Kyozo Sutra Archive - inside are rotating bookracks (rinzo) which house the important Buddhist sutras for the temple.  It is said that by turning the rinzo, you can earn the same merit as from reading all the sutras.  You can turn the rinzo on the 18th of every month as well as the New Year holiday.  We did not make it on the 18th, so I will definitely have to go back!

Another view of the Kyozo Sutra Archive.  The building was absolutely beautiful and was my favorite on the temple grounds.

The view of Kamakura + Sagami Bay from the top of the hill

A view of Kannon-do Hall through the trees

Jizo Statutes - there are thousands of these small statues surrounding Jizo-do Hall.  The statues are said to help the souls of dead children to reach paradise.

The entrance to Benten-do Cave

Looking into the cave

Small statues inside the cave

And then we were off to the Kamakura Daibutsu (The Big Buddha)

It was a mere 200 m up the road!

Entrance to Big Buddha

The Buddha

The Buddha used to be housed in a large temple building, but the building was destroyed several times by typhoons and tidal waves.  Since 1495, the Buddha has been standing in the open air.  

J + Me

We passed several gelato stores on our way back to the train ...

Notice the fun flavors

I had kiwi sorbet and cherry blossom gelato

It was the perfect way to end our afternoon.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In the U.S., I am pretty reliant on Yelp.  It's a great way to find new restaurants and bars either by neighborhood or by type.  And I love to read the reviews, especially when people comment on what they ordered.  Sadly, while Yelp is in some international cities, it's not in Japan.  And it's pretty hard to do a google search for restaurants unless you are fluent in Japanese, which I am not.  Maybe someday.  

Enter  It's not exactly Yelp, but it's the closest thing I've found.  I spent some time browsing the site and was happy to find a few restaurants I want to check out as well as a Wine Cave that sounds promising :)  You can search by city - Tokyo, Yokohama, Kyota, Osaka or Nara - or you can read different articles.  For example, they're featuring an article on the "Best Breakfast Spots in Tokyo" and another one on "Sushi Vocabulary."  The best thing about the site is that it's all in English!  

So, J. Friends, next time you need some guidance in finding something to do ... check out  

Now I just need to see if they have an app ...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Weekend Recap

Between English classes, workouts and social plans, my calendar has been jam packed lately.  It's been great, but exhausting and I was *so* happy to have a free day this past Saturday.  

Friday night, Mrs. K13 had a bunch of us over for a potluck.  We've been trying to do one dinner together a week and it's going very well so far!  I personally hate cooking for myself, so it's nice to cook for more than one person and eat a real meal.  We had a great time and a lot of great food.  

Saturday, I had my free day!  I slept in, but then spent the day running errands, cleaning and doing laundry.  I met Mrs. D. and Mrs. A. at the base movie theater to see Snow White and the Huntsman.  It was my first time going to the base theater and I was pleasantly surprised by the how cheap the movie tickets were ($3.00) and how big the theater was.  Snow White was not the best movie I have ever seen, but it was nice to do something different and budget friendly!  

Mrs. D. and Mrs. A stayed the night afterwards so we could get up at the crack of dawn to go on an MWR tour.  We ventured to the Oze National Park for a day of hiking.  J. must be rubbing off on me - I've been here for less than three months and I've already visited a national park!  Sadly, we had a pretty miserable day.  We boarded the bus at 4:30 a.m.  We arrived at Oze a short six hours later.  I slept most of the way, but had a few glimpses of the view here and there - it was beautiful!  We were accompanied on the tour by our favorite tour guide, Nobue.  Her name is pronounced "no boy" and she tells you it is easy to remember because "she is a girl, no boy!"  Along the way, she decided to give us some information on the hike.  Here's what I learned - someone was struck by lightning on this hike last month; there was a chance we might encounter a bear; the trail is good in good weather, but slippery and treacherous in bad weather (you guess what the weather was like) and part of the trail was still covered in snow.  The description in the MWR brochure failed to mention any of this - in fact, the brochure describes the tour as:

"Oze boasts one of the most scenic views in Japan (umm, not in the rain and fog).  The most popular time to visit Oze is in June when the marsh is crowded with the unmistakable white flowers of the mizubasho (Japanese skunk cabbage).  Bring a jacket and extra yen for souvenirs."  

We did receive a phone call Saturday night at 5:00 p.m. from an MWR representative telling us to wear hiking shoes if we had them.  Ok, thank you for that recommendation but what good is informing people that they need hiking shoes less than 12 hours before the tour leaves and one hour before the Navy Exchange closes?  The MWR definitely dropped the ball on this one.

Anyways, we arrived at Oze and took the shuttle to the trailhead - along with crowds of Japanese properly outfitted from head to toe in rain gear, serious hiking boots and hiking sticks.  We were dressed in yoga capris, t-shirts, light hoodies and had thankfully brought our rain jackets.  We started the hike through the woods in a light drizzle.  The beginning of our hike was just fine - the trail wasn't too bad, the snow cover was pretty minimal and we didn't see any lightning or bears.  About one mile in, we emerged out of the woods into the open marshland.  And that's when the downpour started.  We trekked the next mile and a half in the pouring rain.  It was pretty darn miserable, not to mention there was pretty much no view and very few mizubasho.  Within ten minutes my pants were soaking wet, as were my shoes and socks.  I was freezing and not having very much fun.  We finally arrived at the Oze Visitors Center where Mrs. D., Mrs. A. and I decided to remain.  The original goal was to complete the entire hike - roughly 8.5 miles - however spending the next 4 hours in the rain did not sound appealing.  The rest of our group trekked on with Nobue, who was the only person properly outfitted for the day's excursion.  Mrs. D., Mrs. A. and I ate our lunches and tried to dry out while waiting for a break in the rain so we could start the hike back.  It finally let up and we made a run for it.  When the rest of our group returned that afternoon, they told us that we'd made the right decision by staying in the Visitor's Center.  I'm sure the hike would be gorgeous on a nice day, but why you would send a group full of improperly outfitted Americans six hours away to hike in the rain, I don't know.  The more I use the MWR, the less impressed I am with the organization.

Luckily, we fill out comment cards at the end of every tour and we are also able to submit comments online that the base Commanding Officer reads.  I will definitely be submitting a comment.  To sum up my day, I spent $45 to ride a bus for six hours, hike for two hours in the rain, sit for an hour in the Visitor's Center, sit for an hour on the bus and then ride the bus home for 6 hours while damp and cold.  Not exactly my idea of a good time.

And to really rub salt in our wounds ... it was 80 degrees and sunny at Atsugi.

I will leave you with the few pictures I took:

The view from the trail

Mrs. A. on the trail - it was a pretty nice trail!

Lots of people

The mizubasho - not exactly the "marsh crowded with the unmistakable white flower of the mizubasho" that was promised in the MWR description.

The scenic view

Close-up of the mizubasho

The marsh

The long line of properly outfitted Japanese - I loved their colorful rain gear!

The snow covered trail - slightly dangerous if you ask me.

Mrs. A. got several looks from the Japanese ... 
no, she is not preggo, she's just trying to keep her bag dry!

I hope you all had a better Sunday than we did!