Monday, October 28, 2013

Family Pictures 2013

We just took our engagement family photos for this year (remember my theory?), and I just thought I would share. It's pretty great when you can pick pretty much any spot on this small island and have a beautiful backdrop for photos. I love these pictures. I love my man. And we love Okinawa. 

 And also a couple outtakes:
Classic faces on the left. Also, I only need a 12 inch stump to be taller than Victor. Short people problems. 

You Are What You Wear

Way way back in the myspace glory days, I wrote what could probably be called my first of many opinion blog posts. I tried to find it, but due to the ever changing nature of myspace, it disappeared somewhere into cyberspace. Such a shame. Anyway, I wrote about something that I still feel very passionate about: the way we dress.

I'm rewriting about it now because in the last few days I have witnessed a few discussions regarding the way we dress. And everything I have to say about it can be summed up to this: the way you dress DOES matter. If you dress like a bum, you will be labeled as a bum: regardless of if you are a bum. If you dress like a slut, you will be labeled a slut: regardless of if you are a slut. It may sound materialistic to put so much emphasis on the subject of clothes, but the fact of the matter is that we live in a society where clothing is not optional, so yes, clothes do matter.

The first discussion I witnessed was in church yesterday, where the comment was made that it is superficial and wrong to judge a person by clothes first, rather than by their actions. That is true to an extent. But before you ever see a person's actions, you see their appearance. And I'm sorry, but if you're not dressed appropriately for whatever that first meeting may be, you will be judged.

This has nothing to do with how much money you spend on clothes. I completely agree that a person should not be judged by the stores they shop at or how much their outfit cost. That's not right. But for anyone who makes the excuse that they can't look nice because they can't afford it? I'm not buying it (two words: thrift stores). Or someone that says that putting an effort into your appearance like spending time doing hair/makeup, etc. is vain and materialistic? I'm not buying it either.

At church, I work with the young women. Naturally, we talk a lot about dress, since it's something teenage girls are bombarded with so much. We talk about dressing modestly, and we talk about taking pride in your appearance, because you are a child of God. My go-to scripture about this (found here) says: "...and they did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely." There you go. Just because you can't afford the designer duds, or maybe don't want to spend an hour doing your hair (who does anyway??),  or maybe you feel like you don't have a good enough figure to dress cute. None of these reasons mean that you have an excuse to look like a mangy scrub.

The other discussion I was a witness to this week was on facebook (of course) arguing about what is okay to wear at a military ball, which fellow mil spouses and I attend every year. Some girls were getting up in arms accusing these "judgmental and un-classy wives" of making snap judgments by labeling women as sluts who come to the ball dressed as--you guessed it---sluts. It sounds harsh, and yes, judging is bad, blah blah blah, but I'm still on the side of those women who don't defend the women that don't know how to dress appropriately for the appropriate occasion. You're not going to a night-club, you're going to a formal military event.

Know your event, and dress accordingly. That's all there is to it.

So yeah. That's how I feel about that. And on a kind of related note, here is a tribute to two of my favorite things: Harry Potter and songs about thrifting
Thanks for reading!
xoxo Annie

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Morning in Kinjo's Studio

I had the opportunity yesterday to go with a few friends to visit the studio of the sculptor Kinjo Minoru. He is one of my friend's neighbors, and said friend's husband speaks Japanese (oh, how great that would be!), so they have really been able to come to know his story since he speaks limited English. Kinjo's most recognizable work here in Okinawa is probably this giant Shisa dog found right next to Cape Zanpa, but Kinjo's other sculptures sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars in mainland Japan. 

Kinjo's story is a memorable one. He remembers being forced to go live in a cave with his mother during the Battle of Okinawa while the Japanese military forced his father to go fight (he died at the young age of 24 in a different battle of WW2). Kinjo also remembers being forced by Japan to give up his Okinawan language and only speak Japanese. Consequently, he is very anti-government: both Japanese and American. He is Okinawan, not Japanese. He is so nice and courteous to us, but he is the number one protestor of ospreys outside the American bases. I got a kick out of how he displays a picture of one of his arrests in his studio. Stickin' it to the man. 
Anyway, Kinjo gave us a little tour of his studio and his sculpture garden. Most of his sculptures are large and politically charged. The smaller ones we saw in his studio were softer: mostly of women. I love the one of the old woman that I posted below. 
^^^a depiction of Japanese forces invading Okinawa^^^
And what would a day in Okinawa be without a walk on the beach? Kinjo lives just a short walk from it. 

It was a wonderful morning I will never forget!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Naha Tug of War

The city of Naha has had the tradition of this giant tug of war for 300 years now. It's in the record books for the largest tug of war in the world! And we got to be a part of it. Leading up to the tug of war is a lot of pomp and circumstance, including dancing, parade stuff and a presentation/duel of the kings of the east and west, which are the two teams that battle it out. We were on the east team, and we won! And by won, I mean that we pulled it the most distance, which wasn't crazy far, because that thing weighs a ton, and there are around 200,000 people pulling. 
Once the actual pulling started, it got crazy. It's not for kids, because they would prob get trampled. Anyway, after it's over, everyone cuts off sections of the giant rope, believing it will bring luck in the next year.

I love Okinawa's deep-rooted traditions, and I love how they love their festivals. We had so much fun being able to take part in their biggest tradition, but probably won't next year, because it was craziness!


Okinawa Inspired DIY

I went to the Tropical Dream Center (aka my favorite place in Okinawa) again a few weeks ago and this time around, this beautiful display caught my attention:
Flowers in frames? Who'd have thought. But I loved the idea of it. So I set out to do something similar in my own house. If only I had a greenhouse to go all out with plants and flowers. But I don't, so this project is downsized a bit. 

First, I bought some frames at a thrift store for $3 a piece. Then I found these little shelves at Japan's version of Ikea for $3 a piece as well. I had thought of building my own floating shelves to have more space, but for the price and convenience, I just decided to go with store bought. So, the total cost of the project was $12! 
I thought about hanging them on the sides of my origami wall
But ultimately I thought it looked better on the side wall next to the window. All it took was a little gorilla glue to glue the frame to the shelf, and voila, the finished product!
 Yes, those are real flowers, and I thought it might be fun to switch them out from time to time with different types of flowers. It will be like displaying different natural masterpieces found on this earth. I'm pretty happy about it, and I love seeing it as I walk into the room. Three cheers for DIY!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Blog Posts that Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth

I have a lot of opinions. I do. I write about a lot of them on this blog, because it's a nice outlet to spew them out (sometimes like word vomit, but I appreciate you reading them nonetheless). Lots of other bloggers do the same thing, and sometimes they beat me to the punch. So instead of plagiarizing them or attempting another angle on these subjects, I'll just share them with you. Hope you're in the mood for some reading material ;)

On social media and some possible reasons I may stop following you or lose interest: Click here. The post focuses mostly on blogs, but for me, I have the same sentiments for things like instagram or facebook, and have unfollowed for some of those same reasons.

Speaking of social media, this blog post (click here) hits the nail on the head of a growing epidemic in social media to compare ourselves or our lives or get upset/jealous if we see something like an event on instagram that we weren't invited to. Man oh man, is it true. I think it's safe to say we have all seen this or fallen victim to this problem. It's a great post. Read it.

This post concerns female modesty of dress, a subject that has been debated for ages. But I really like what she has to say about it. (click here) She has some great points that I agree with, especially how she says it's not men that are sexualizing women, the women are doing it to themselves. Reminds me of the post I wrote last year about (here) about a similar subject, feminist hypocrisy.

And speaking of feminism, here's another post that I really liked (click here). I really enjoyed it because it is so blunt and so basic, but jam-packed with common sense. "Feminists" these days sometimes really bother me. This post addresses those things. Again, read it :)

Happy reading! Let me know what you think. You all know how I love sharing opinions.
xoxo Annie

Monday, October 7, 2013

More Wisdom from Watching "Mary Poppins" Yet Again

Mary Poppins is my favorite Disney movie. It has lasted through the years of being my favorite Disney movie and bridged the gap of loving it as a child and now into an adult. And the thing about that is that it's for different reasons that it was my favorite then and why it's my favorite now. As a kid it was the whimsicalness of it all. More of a love of Mary Poppins and the wonderful adventures she brings.

But as a teenager and into college, it was seeing what Mary Poppins really did: she strengthened a family. Made them realize how much they loved each other. And as I watched it again on a back to back typhoon weekend where we couldn't leave the house, I came to love and admire a particular character that I often overlooked: Mr. George Banks. The so-called neglectful father. He is so misunderstood, especially from the child's perspective. But from my more grown up and mature perspective, he really isn't such a meanie.
The first thing I notice is what kind of husband Mr. Banks is. It's 1910 and his wife is a very active and passionate feminist suffragette. She goes off protesting for votes for women (which includes throwing rotten eggs at the prime minister I believe?) and risks getting thrown in jail. And what does Mr. Banks do? Nothing. He lets her go off and pursue those passions. I'm sure most husbands in 1910 would not be so tolerant of their wives being active suffragettes.  So from my view now as a wife, Mr. Banks is a pretty legit guy, and not too different from my husband who dutifully goes to work every day and never gets upset if I ended up spending the day at the beach while he was working so hard.

The second thing about Mr. Banks is that he is a man who takes great pride in the fact that he takes care of and provides for his family. He says, "I feel a surge of deep satisfaction, Much as a king astride his noble steed. When I return from daily strife to hearth and wife, How pleasant is the life I lead!" His flaw is that he takes his role of provider too seriously---meaning that he forgets that playing/interacting with your kids is an important part of that whole providing thing. I've always admired that about men: that for the most part, they want a person or people to take care of or provide for. It's pretty selfless.

The last thing that really stuck with me, especially after listening to Jeffrey R. Holland's wonderful talk this weekend, is that Mr. Banks isn't perfect, and while it's easy to attack him and say he doesn't care about his kids, we overlook the fact that he has his insecurities and he feels the pressure that's placed upon him, especially when things don't go so well at work. It was this beautiful scene between Bert the chimney sweep and the children that really struck me this time around:

"You know, begging you pardon, but the one who my heart goes out for is your father. There he is in that cold, heartless bank day after day, hemmed in by mounds of cold, heartless money. I don't like to see any living thing caged up."
"Father? In a cage?"
"They makes cages in all sizes and shapes, you know. Bank-shaped some of 'em, carpets and all."
"But Father isn't in trouble, we are."
"Oh, sure about that, are you? Look at it this way. You've got your mother to look after you. And Mary Poppins and Constable Jones and me. Who looks after your father? Tell me that. When something terrible happens, what does he do? Fends for himself, he does. Who does he tell about it? No one! Don't blab his troubles at home. He just pushes on at his job, uncomplaining and alone and silent."

Naturally, after thinking about and what Bert and Elder Holland said, it makes my big emotional self shed a tear or two. I feel so blessed to know so many good men and have them be a part of my life. It's far too easy in society to say that men are pigs and women suppressors (since unfortunately there are so many that give a bad name to the rest of them). Or that they have no feelings or can't have insecurities or be emotional, because that's what a woman does. I've even found myself believing these false notions from time to time.

I admire Mr. Banks, and I admire those good men. So, in the words of a beloved 80s chart-topper, "let's hear it for the boy!" Thanks, you great men, especially the ones in my life. I don't know what I would do without you.

(And thank you, "Mary Poppins," for just being so wonderful.)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

On the first day of October...

I have my moments of missing fall. Seeing pictures of the changing leaves and sweaters and tights makes me have those brief moments of longing for that. But today in Okinawa, October 1, I took a little drive with a friend, swam in the ocean, lounged in the sun, and collected approximately three pounds of sea glass. And it was glorious. Fall is great and all, but at this moment I am so grateful for extra long summers in Okinawa. I am a summer girl at heart. 

My friend Sherry and I found this spot a few months ago, and it is one of our favorite little hideaways. We like to be ultra cheesy so we decided to call it "Shipwreck Cove" because there's always all these random things washed up on the shore: shoes, bottles, and also coconuts, which do not grow on Okinawa, which means they're being washed up from who knows where out in the Pacific.  It's also where I go to stock up on sea glass per my mother's request because it's a sea glass gold mine down there on the shores of Shipwreck Cove! 

^^looks like a sea glass baby^^^

 The beauty on this island is unreal. October 1st was a good day.

Anyway, happy October everyone!