Thursday, December 19, 2013

I still hate the elf on a shelf...


This one cracked me up. My favorite 16 year old (that is in Young Womens with me) set their family's elf up like this:
Wrecking Ball Elf.

Made me chuckle.

Merry Christmas! We are {hopefully} starting our Christmas travels tomorrow. Let the government flight adventures begin!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tis the Season...For a Holiday Rant

So, I hate the "elf on a shelf." HATE it. It's mostly the whole concept of "I'm going to post a picture EVERY day on facebook so everyone can see what my elf is doing" that I can't stand. I DON'T CARE! (Even the lady on the radio tonight was talking all about where they found her elf and I wanted to throw up). There seriously can be a semester long course of social media common sense. No one wants to see the stupid elf on a shelf clogging up their newsfeed every day! Why, people?? This sounds dramatic, considering the only reason I have unfollowed people from social media is too much political posting, but I truly am removing people from my newsfeed this Christmas season who fall into this trap. I'll have to make reminders to bring them back after Christmas. I have already unfollowed several pinterest boards, because I personally can't stand it. I don't get why it's so ridiculously popular. Man, it feels good to get that off my chest.

While we're on the Christmas theme, can I share some holiday songs that need to just go away? Let's see:
The number one answer to this, without a doubt is "Christmas Shoes," but that's a given, obviously.
"Little Drummer Boy": what does that even have to do with Christmas??
"Santa Baby": slutty and annoying.
"I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas": Stupid stupid stupid.

There is one song that should be on this list, but I can't bring myself to do it, because it's a guilty pleasure of mine, and the music video?? Priceless. Oh, George Michael.

Are there any other annoying songs I'm forgetting?
Anyway, Happy December! I sure do love Christmas time.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Arashiyama and the Monkeys

Arashiyama is the neighborhood on the outskirts of Kyoto and it is so beautiful and charming. And man, those fall colors! So, we climbed to the top of a mountain to mix and mingle with some of Japan's native monkeys. That was such a fun, random experience. Those monkeys are drama. They pick fights constantly with each other when you are trying to feed them, and if you look them in the eye, they freak! One caught me looking at it and got very upset ha ha. 

 I posted the above picture because the sweetest old man who owned this little drink stand really wanted to take our picture. The people in Kyoto were just so nice. The people here are definitely a reason we love Japan so much.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fall Beauty in Kyoto

While everyone was raving about fall temperatures and colors back at the end of September, I was still beaching it up everyday in Okinawa. Finally, I get my turn to rave about the beautiful fall colors this year. Kyoto, Japan is absolutely gorgeous, especially in the fall with all those vivid red Japanese maples. We had such a great time with our friends Shannon and Scott (besides it being much colder than what we were used to ha ha).

The first day we rented bikes from our hotel and stopped at various temples and shrines throughout the city: Kyoto has hundreds of them: it was the one city spared from WW2 bombing because of all its historic buildings. At the end of each night, I relaxed in the Japanese onsen (public baths) in our hotel. Victor wasn't much of a fan, but I loved it so much.

 ^^Our trusty bikes^^

What a beautiful place. If you only go one place in Japan, it needs to be Kyoto. It's everything you imagine when you think of Japan.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from Kyoto

Side note: I'm blogging from my phone: what a fun new adventure ha.

Happy Thanksgiving! Victor and I are with some friends in the old capitol of Japan for this holiday. It is like going back in time. Think "Memoirs of a Geisha." It's beautiful. 

Luckily, we got a full blown Thanksgiving meal last week with Victor's squadron, so  I don't feel any remorse for eating steak with rice and seaweed for thanksgiving dinner. Sounds weird but it was actually really good. 

I am so thankful this year for the chance to be in such a beautiful part of the world and to be able to see some of it with my best friend. We love traveling so much so we feel so blessed to have the chance to do it. And we are thankful for the Japanese people who are so kind and gracious to us all the time. 

This year I am also very thankful for technology that connects me so easily to loved ones that are so far away. How amazing. 

Hope you have a great Thanksgiving. Love you!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Married Conversations

Me: "I swear, sometimes I feel like your mom having to take care of you."
Victor: "And sometimes I feel like your dad having to take care of you."


Oh, marriage.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Happy Sunday from Cape Chinen

This weekend the city of Nanjo hosted the Okinawa Herb Festival. A whole festival dedicated to herbs?? Oh, Okinawa, I love how you celebrate everything. I'm serious. As I share this post for my "Happy Sunday" series, I was thinking of how coming here to this beautiful park on the ocean to look at herbs could be applied to what I usually write about on my Happy Sunday posts: celebrating God and this beautiful earth. 

I realize now how much the Okinawans teach me about being grateful. They remind me and make me more aware of the wonderful things of this earth like herbs. 

My favorite holiday is this week, and today at church we heard wonderful talks about gratitude. So that's what is on my mind. I just have so much to be grateful for. I don't participate in the daily sharing of things on facebook because I don't like over posting that much and clogging your feed, but let it be known that I AM GRATEFUL. Grateful for my life, for my God, for my family, and for so many more things.  

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving week! I love you all. And I am grateful for you too. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chatan Food Fest

We love the area that we live in. We live on a base that is a 5 minute bike ride to the beach, and is surrounded by so many yummy restaurants. This weekend, those restaurants competed in the Chatan Food Festival just down the road from our hood (our base). They all came with their signature dish, and for a $10 ticket, you get to try three dishes and vote for your favorite with the set of chopsticks they give you--it was so fun watching them try to persuade you to come to their stand. You can eat more and vote more if you want, but we just stuck to three.

First we just had to start with one of our favorite restaurants here, because they we giving out their incredibly delicious cheese fondue.

Then we tried out this yummy beef stir fry from a restaurant we've never heard of but plan to visit now! And after that we tried a really yummy garlic shrimp dish.

 We enjoyed watching some fine entertainment and spending time with fine friends, in some oh-so-fine weather. Okinawa in November=heavenly. That's pretty much the recipe for a very fine day overall.

Hope your Saturday is or was full of delicious food as well!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Stuff You Should Watch on Netflix

Sometimes trying to find great things to watch on Netflix is as useless as searching for meaning in a Pauly Shore movie. (If you know that movie quote, we are besties). Here are some of those lesser known diamonds in the rough that you should watch!

My friend MaryAnn recommended this movie when she was visiting, and I LOVED it. It's such a sweet movie, and it opened up a culture to me that I really had no idea about: the way that Orthodox Jews and Muslims arrange marriage, which are both very different. I personally prefer the Jewish way, which is through a matchmaker. But anyway, you really should watch it. It's not a documentary. 
How had I never heard of this movie??? I loved it. Jack Black was perfection. It's also a true story, which is crazy.
This is unlike anything Ricky Gervais has ever done. Well, it still is a mockumentary style, but Ricky Gervais's character is so different. He plays an autistic man who loves his job at a retirement home. This series is so funny, while being so thoughtful at the same time.
 Lars and the Real Girl:
Finally watched this movie! Ryan Gosling is awesome. This is probably my favorite movie with him, because he's not the hunky action guy he usually is.
Before it was a tv show, it was a movie, and a cute movie at that. It's about a guy whose company sends him to train employees in India since the company is outsourcing all their business there. Will he accidentally find love along the way?? ;)
And, my favorite documentaries on Netflix, ever since my other fav one got deleted (I HATE how netflix does that)---remember I wrote about it here??

Inside North Korea:
Mind blowing. Before I watched this a few years ago, I never realized the situation over there. 

China's Lost Girls:
All about the adoption of so many of China's children because of their laws concerning how many children you can have. It also talks about other interesting factors of those laws, like how for the first time in the history of ever, childhood obesity is on the rise there, since parents dote and spoil the one child they're allowed to have. So fascinating. Watch it!

Do you have any suggestions for me? Please share, because my husband works so much (poor guy), so I confess, I watch a lot of Netflix.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Life Lately

Fall in Okinawa means cooler temperatures. It means the water is colder, but I still try to snorkel when I can. 
 It means lovely bike rides at all times of the day rather than just at night because finally you won't be a sweating hot mess. 
It means Halloween parties with my little students. Dang, they're cute.

It means fall concerts: Smashmouth! Good blast from the past. When you live on a tiny island, you take any concert you can get. It also means fall plays at the high school (The Jungle Book) featuring one of my young women from church.
 Fall in Okinawa means the Marine Corps Birthday Ball. I finally got to wear my vintage 60s cocktail dress that I purchased last year while antiquing in Virginia with Holli. I have a love/hate relationship with the Marines, but it's definitely a plus to get to dress up and have a fancy night for a change. So happy birthday, Marines. And we even danced! It's s a big deal, since we're not big into dancing.
 So, fall in Okinawa is pretty good. If I could make it better, I would request that Victor wouldn't be working seven days a week and 12+ hours a day during November, but unfortunately, while the Marines throw a great birthday ball, they don't care much about normal working hours when a job needs to get done.

Happy fall to all of you!