Monday, October 27, 2008

Yahoo vs. Gmail

I am downright curious if any of you have used both these email applications and prefer Gmail. I have always used Yahoo. Gmail came out later, and I saw no reason to switch. However, our FRG email is all sent from a Gmail account. I've had to spend some serious time there the last few weeks, and I pretty much hate it. What a confusing mess! The way the inbox is set up, you can't readily tell if mail has been replied to or not. Since we have several people taking care of email, this is not a good thing. It seems to string replies together in the original message, and you have to actually open it up, read it all, and try to figure out who was the last person to send something. The first time I got in there, I ended up sending some replies to people with no real idea of if it was a redundant reply or not. I also see no good way of organizing the mess that is our email. Yahoo allows you to make folders, sort of what you find in Windows. They are clearly laid out on the left hand side, and it's easy to move mail back and forth. I dug through Gmail for quite some time trying to figure out how to do something like that in there, and finally gave up. Being able to categorize the email we have would have really been handy. And don't get me started on the weird things that happen when you hit the Tab key. Bottom line, nothing works the same in Gmail, and that's not a good thing. Blogger is a pretty straightforward program, so I expected Gmail would be simple to figure out, too, but apparently that isn't the case. I so wish we could change our email address, but the business cards are already printed. I can tell dealing with email is going to be my biggest headache.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spending Time on Waikiki

*I'm sure you wondered what ever happened to my Hawaii posts. They are still sitting in draft form, but now that the weather is cold, it's time to start finishing them! The first part of our trip was spent in Waikiki. We've been there before, back when we were just the two of us. It was interesting coming back with kids. We were forced to look at everything a bit differently. Where once we walked around searching for fun shops and stayed up way too late, this time found us watching road construction, making time for naps, and avoiding most of the nicer restaurants in search of something we could all enjoy together. It was fun, but I'm glad we were only here for a few nights. The Big Island and elsewhere in Oahu turned out to be a lot more kid-friendly. Waikiki is definitely the tourist capital of Hawaii. Everything downtown is still open late into the night, and you can easily walk to all of it from your hotel. If you are going to come to Hawaii and only want to spend time at the beach and shopping, find a nice hotel here and don't rent a car. There's an airport shuttle you can catch that costs $15 round trip. Our two boys were considered lap children, so we didn't have to pay for them. I'm not sure what the age cutoff is, though. There was another family on the bus with us that didn't have to pay for their daughter who looked about six, so it's obviously pretty generous. We had to get creative when finding things to do. We did go back and visit the International Marketplace. I remember having a better impression of it the first time I stumbled upon it. This time, it seemed to be filled less with interesting and unusual trinkets as a plethora of Hawaiian shirt stores and find-a-pearl-in-the-oyster places. I told Oliver before he left that he was not, under any conditions, to allow me to buy a Hawaiian shirt or, even worse, a dress. When we went to Mexico on our honeymoon, I'd talked him into letting me buy this poncho with some vaguely Aztec markings on it. It looked pretty cool while we were there and back on the cruise boat, but once we returned home, it hung in the coat closet for five years. I finally pulled it out and threw it into the charity box a few weeks ago. Yeah, that was 24 bucks wasted. I wasn't about to make the same mistake twice. What looks good in Hawaii must stay in Hawaii. Trust me on that. So, we left without buying anything. We didn't even eat lunch there, as the food all looked downright nasty. Instead, we found ourselves at a burger joint along the main road. The burgers were good, if a bit strange, but the dinner company, not so great. Apparently, Oahu has a bit of a bird problem. They were literally swarming around us. Wyatt imitated the waiter and began throwing his ice at them, while we swatted at them with our feet. All of this was for naught; they just kept coming back. Near the end of our meal, Oliver and Wyatt got up to go use the bathroom, and they actually jumped right on our table and started stealing food. I actually needed Oliver's help to get them off it. Here's a picture I took right after that. Notice they are still sitting on Wyatt's chair? Those were some brazen birds. We had a more pleasant meal at Kobe's Steakhouse later that night. This was tops on my list of things to do while we were here. Oliver never ate here because his boat had already left Hawaii when my friend and I discovered it. You sit around a grill, and the chefs come out and grill your meal in front of you. They are showmen, and it's really fun to watch (and very tasty to eat!). Our boys, though, were hit pretty hard with jet lag. Oscar was asleep before we ordered, and Wyatt fell asleep halfway through the meal on my lap. I suppose we had us a bit of a date after that. We did have to schlep them back to the hotel, though. That part wasn't so fun. Here are a couple more pictures from our time in Waikiki:

A fountain we ran across while wandering around after sunset Wyatt says hello to the penguins we found while walking through the Marriot compound. That place was amazing; almost an entire experience in and of itself. Not only did we find penguins amongst the shops and restaurants, but sea turtles, too.
And, finally, where else in the U.S. can you find fire dancers at your local mall?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Building a Functional FRG... who would have thunk?!

I am shocked I'm about to write this, but I am really enjoying my time as an FRG leader. We're finally starting to figure out what we are doing, and I have high hopes for how it's going to turn out. I still have no idea what possessed me to get involved back in August, but I'm glad I did. Our first real event is this weekend, and I'm really impressed at how my co-leaders have jumped in and volunteered to make it happen. We only had a few weeks to plan everything, and it's working out. Yay, yay, yay! Our main goal is turn our meetings into actual activities, not just a place you go to hear people talk at you and solicit opinions on stuff you don't care about, which is what most FRG meetings I've been to consist of. I mean, seriously, how are you going to meet people and make connections if no one but the people in charge ever talk? So, in an effort to accomplish that, we have plans to put together something for our single sailors to receive the next time the boat goes out. The plan is to have our wives make two, one for another sailor and one for their husband. We are thinking something along the lines of a Christmas card with some kind of candy, but obviously a card saying "Love the FRG" is downright dorky and won't really be worth the money to do. So, what is something really fun you sent your hubby when he was away, or something you've seen that would be fun to get if you were in the middle of the ocean with no access to anything from home? I'd love to do something that will allow our wives to use pictures or something from home to add to their hubby's gift. We are going to meet next week to hash out some ideas, but I could use some help coming up with something to suggest!