Saturday, October 30, 2010

Marching to My Own Beat

Because Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, I keep running across debates on other Mormon blogs about whether or not it's okay to trick or treat. We are absolutely going to go. I don't feel any qualms about it, either. Sure, it's a Sunday, and yes, I understand the need to keep it holy. I also know that there is no to-do or to-don't list out there, despite what people sometimes think.

This all has me thinking about how caught up in the details we all get as Mormons. I  mean, I love my religion, but it seems sometimes that it's about all the little tiny details, not the big picture. The thing is, there's no way to fit everyone into a neat little box and assume all the rules fit beautifully. We're all different, with different backgrounds. There are some important, big picture kinds of issues, and then there are the smaller things we choose that get us there. Unfortunately, sometimes the way we get there is the focus, hence all the discussions about silly things like whether or not to celebrate Halloween.

I don't think, though, that God put us here to be carbon copies of each other. Sometimes, I feel very out of step with the people I associate with. I've felt this way ever since I was young, coming from a very messed up home situation. I've beat myself up over it, tried to conform at times, and at others, just rebelled in a spectacular fashion. I think I've finally come to the realization, however, that I am who I am and it's okay. I'm a little different, and sometimes I don't do things the way the mainstream does, but I love my God, and I love my religion, and I appreciate greatly that what is right for me is right for me. And it's totally okay that someone else has a different path. What matters is that we all get there.

*Okay, so I got right to it. I guess I just needed a post to break the water.

Okay, It's Official

I'm in a blog funk. I keep writing posts in my head, even take pictures to go along with it, but when I sit down, it just seems to be too much work to actually write. There's really not a reason for it; I'm just not into it at the moment.

I mean to get at it again, though. I don't want to lose track of certain things. Like my three year old's propensity to say "snatch" when he means "attach". For some reason, this is utterly adorable to me. Most likely, though, it's something you gotta be there for.

More to some point.

Monday, October 25, 2010

About the Private Issue

So, I think I've made up my mind about the whole going private thing. A while back, I decided that I wanted to have the blog printed at some point into one of those blog books. However, there's a lot of stuff I want to change (like adding our real names), and a lot of posts that just don't need to be added, like giveaway-related posts. So, I started a private blog to redo this blog the way I want. I also figured I could delete entries that I no longer want on this blog because of the nature of them, plus there's no reason to leave years of archives just sitting here in the open.

Kim's comment made me realize that I already have a solution set up, so I'm going to do something similar to what she does. I think I will turn that blog into a family/friends blog, and leave this one open. I'm going to get a little anemic on the photo posting on this one, and will avoid all controversial topics that can possibly cause problems. Politics, however, is always fair game, ha! That is, if Congress ever starts doing something worth talking about...

The private blog will have a lot of repeats, but I'm going to use our real names, more pictures, and details I don't want just hanging all out there but are okay to talk about. Like what Oliver does for work, which I've never written about here, but can tell people about without running afoul of OPSEC.

Anyway, if you know me in real life, send me an email. If you have my real one, send it there, but otherwise send it to anashooshoo at yahoo. And Melissa, I had no idea you were reading! Seriously, was awesome to hear from you. Seeing your comment kind of cinched my decision to not go completely private.

Also, I have a doozy of a story to tell that I really can't write about here, but want to share in some way, so that's where it's going. You, know, just to nudge you all along, haha.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just Call Me "Ana, Cockroach Killer"

I've always thought myself pretty cool under fire when it came to bugs. I even used to kill spiders for my older brother when we were kids because he was so afraid of them. But then I moved here and had to deal with cockroaches the size of small children. Cockroaches that will get into your house no matter how clean you keep it (so let's put that myth to rest right now, people - not that I am a model of cleanliness or anything, ha).

I am proud to announce that I finally managed to kill a cockroach tonight without screaming and trying to get Oliver to do it for me. I was doing laundry, trying to figure out what was giving out that musty smell in the laundry bag (someone dropped a wet towel in the middle of it, apparently), when I came across a huge black sucker wiggling its nasty antenna at me.

I stared back at it for awhile, trying to determine what I was going to do, then made up my mind when it made a break for it down the side of the bag. I ran for a shoe, then plastered it to our floor when it was trying to cross a doorway in the hallway. I had to scrape it up with some cardboard, though - I couldn't bear to feel it underneath some tissue. Yuck, yuck, yuck!!!

The things you learn to do when you live in the tropics...

Friday, October 22, 2010

So, I've been going back and forth about whether or not to go private. On the one hand, I don't want to because this blog has been an opportunity to connect with people, some I knew in real life and some I've never met but would love to.  I don't do Facebook anymore because I was hacked and decided I was exceptionally uncomfortable with having to use my real name on there, plus all the privacy issues there have been with it in general.

I also like to hear what people have to say. But, ever since I took it out of search engines, the blog has been pretty quiet. That is fine, but since I already feel like I'm talking to myself, it is easier to consider the private option. I haven't had anything particularly bad happen, but I do feel like I'm censoring myself hard-core, yet still not always well enough. 

We've had something happen recently that made me aware that I really don't know who is reading, and there are enough people without the ability to actually grow some and confront you directly that it can cause problems in unexpected places. Couple this with living in a much too small place with all the social problems that can occur because of that, and a job that can be pretty touchy as it is, and I am strongly leaning toward just turning it off for awhile. If enough of the people I know in real life, plus the (very) few I've met online that I am comfortable with care, maybe I'll add readers. I dunno. Must think on this...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Navy Peeps

We went to the Navy Ball tonight. Some friends took our kids, we got all dressed up, and then spent the night with a bunch of Navy people. The food was fantastic (there were even strawberries and asparagus!), the live band they flew in from the States was good, and we danced, and stayed later than we thought we would. It was awesome.

I have really missed being around Navy people. The jokes, the sarcasm, the lingo that bonds us together. I really don't get around it much these days. I'm so glad we were able to go! Even though we live on a base, it's comprised of about 90% civilians. The Navy are really only here to guard the base and handle the top secret aspects of it's operation. There are also a few YNs (paperwork people), a corpsman, and the base command team. That's about it. Not too many are married or even brought their families here. There isn't a single Navy family that has kids our kids' ages.

Don't get me wrong; there are plenty of people around. We've found friends for our kids, and have met a few ourselves, but none of them are Navy. There's nothing wrong with that, and it's working out fine, but there is definitely something to the military lifestyle, and the Navy in particular, that is awesome. It's like belonging to a club that outsiders can't fathom no matter how hard you try to explain it. Some things you just have to live.

P.S. You know all that stuff they say about a man in uniform? Well, it's all true. Especially when you're lucky enough to be married to one. Wow, he looked hot tonight! It was like we were dating all over again. With the added bonus of being hitched. Hooah!


I know this is an awful picture, but I didn't want to wait until morning to take one in better light. They had a contest to design the commemorative wine glass they give everyone, and Oliver entered this design. He got a free ticket out of it, which saved us 40 bucks, and many slaps on the back. 
I love his drawings. They were always the best part of getting letters when he was out on patrol.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Leaky Exhaust Fan, and an Eternal Download

We woke up this morning to a puddle of water on our stove top. It had rained last night, and apparently a leak that had been repaired before we moved in, had opened up again. We cleaned it up, had breakfast, and Oliver and Wyatt left. A few hours later, it rained again. And there was another flood.

This time, I was so annoyed I called Oliver at work to make sure he remembered to put in a work order about it. When I hung up, I didn't really feel any better about it, though. He's put work orders in for lots of stuff, but they only ever show up to take care of half of it. I've recaulked a window and repaired a few other things on my own, but a leaky exhaust fan is a little outside my skill level. Also, when they do show up, the repairs are often not that well done, like the window I ended up recaulking as it had clearly been incorrectly installed in the first place. (Okay, what it actually is is a pane of Plexiglas, not real glass, which baffles me just a bit - we do have glass windows here...) I'm going to take back my complaining about the military housing we lived in in Washington. While it was no finely run business and was not worth what we paid for it, it was amazingly efficient compared to living here.

After that frustration, I turned to our computer, where we are trying to download a 4.76 gig file we need and can get no other way. Our download rate averages about 64-96 kbt a second. Yeah, do the math on that one... Basically, we started it last night, it went for a few hours, then we restarted it this morning (because our computers, despite our best efforts, still go into hibernation despite being set not to do so, sigh). I'm sitting at just over 4 gig right now, and hopefully will be done in two more hours. Hopefully.

Because the other problem is that someone on our street does not know how to configure their repeater correctly. For some crazy reason, they gave it the same name as the wifi signal we have to connect to. Because signals fluctuate, this means that sometimes our repeater will drop the real signal and pick up theirs because it can't tell the difference - it just goes for the strongest one. Because their repeater is also not configured to let us connect through it, we just lose internet. That necessitates resetting our repeater. Sometimes, we can get through most of the day without doing this. Sometimes, it happens constantly through the day, especially when the weather is bad. So, not only do I have to leave this download running and keep the computer from hibernating on me, I have to babysit our internet connection.

Ugh. Not a great day. On the plus side, the garden is looking fantastic so far this year. Our summer is kind like winter in the States. It's really too hot to grow much. Between that and our move that killed off some of my best plants, I gave up and just made dirt. But, I've got some plants going now, and have high hopes for them. I'll get around to posting some pics; I just keep thinking about it when it's raining, which it has done a lot of the last few weeks.

Now, I must go eat some cake. We had tons of leftover frosting from Oscar's birthday cake, so I just had to make another one to use it up. Today was a perfect day to do that!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Guess Who Finally Learned to Ride His Trike?

Our brand new three year old, that's who!

Not only that, but he went from barely peddling to going nearly a half mile with only the occasional push when he slowed down too much. I'm very thrilled; it wasn't much fun trying to push him around on this sucker. I totally get why people buy those dorky looking trikes with the handle on the back. Clearly, looks are not everything!

I love, love how empty the streets are here. I was able to let Oscar tool down the middle of the road pretty much the entire time he was riding. Every so often we'd have to move over for a golf cart or slow-moving car, but it wasn't often. I did keep him off the road that leads right off-base; it's the busiest one, and the only one that actually looks like it's made for cars not pedestrians. That one has a really wide sidewalk, so it worked out okay for him.

Also, just thought I'd throw up the Lightning McQueen cake Oliver and I came together on. We are pretty proud of it. He did the carving, I did most of the decorating (due to him getting called into work), and Oscar absolutely loved it.


It did look a little freaky after we cut into it:


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Me and the Kitchen

Today, the kitchen and I got along very well. I walked in there at about 1000, and didn't really leave, well, until about an hour ago. I made birthday cake, frosting (yep, we do that stuff from scratch around here; I can't remember the last time I bought a cake mix - the school is collecting box tops and when I asked where to find them, I learned they are pretty much only on things we don't eat; guess we won't be of much help on that front...), a custard base for the ice cream we'll be doing tomorrow, and bottled four jars of pickles. I also managed to work up a dinner in there, although that almost didn't happen. It was only the thought of how gross the chow hall food is that saved me.

It's the pickles I'm most proud of. Even thought I won't be able to find out if they taste good or not until Saturday. It really wasn't too hard, actually. Just cut up some cukes (I didn't have any that were the right size to do whole), salt them, let them sit for a couple hours, rinse and dry. Then boil a vinegar/water/pickling spices/salt combo, cool for a bit, pour over the cukes, let sit until cool, then pack it into jars. Put them in the fridge and you're done!

I realize as I finished typing that out that it might seem like a lot of steps, but it really wasn't. Mark Bittman's cookbook had the recipe I used (have I told you lately how much I owe my cooking to that man? Oh, and he's a runner, too! Totally has a column on Runner's World. Yeah, I'm completely hooked now.). Here's a couple pics of the process:

The cukes hanging out in the brine.

The finished product right before they went in the refrigerator!  If you're wondering, yes, every one of those jars are recycled. The nicest thing about pickles is that you don't really need canning jars for it since they are just going in the fridge. You could can them, but I have zero experience with it, and no equipment. Shipping canning jars over here is so not in the budget, ha!

Next up: making freezer jam with frozen fruit. Yes, I realize this isn't the most economical way of doing this, but we can't buy anything here without high fructose corn syrup in it. I have bought it from someone here, but it's pretty expensive; about 6 bucks for a half pint. Even using frozen fruit is going to be cheaper than that.

I am hoping to get some mangos and try my  hand at those, but they aren't quite in season yet. I'll have to keep my eye out for any other fruit that might work when we make our weekly trip to the produce guy at the front gate. He had bread fruit last week, but I wasn't feeling daring. And, really, I had no idea what you would use that for... I'll have to do some research and maybe give it a try this week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

MMB Post and the Weather

I was clicking around today and was surprised to see my post up on MMB. I haven't been keeping track of the schedule, so it was a pleasant surprise.

In other news, we are in the middle of the worst weather we've seen here. This makes what we saw from Tropical Nicole look pretty tame. Yet, it's not a system being watched as anything, so that's kind of interesting. I keep clicking over to to see if there is anything, but nothing.

It's actually been kind of rainy/gloomy the last few days. If it weren't for the warmth, I would think I'd morphed back to Washington, ha. The good news a bit of gloom is good for the soul now and then when you live in high heat.

It started to rain in earnest about the time we put the boys to bed. Then, about a half hour later, we started seeing thunder and lightning. It's been at it ever since. Some of the thunder actually shook the house. It kind of startled me, and I was glad the boys were sleeping. Since moving here, where thunderstorms are pretty frequent, they've developed a fright for them. I don't really know why, but I guess we'll just have to wait until they outgrow it.

Now I think I need to bring in my tomato starts...they have been faring okay with the heavy rain over the last few days, but this is a little crazy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Week of Random Thoughts

I've got nothing in the picture department because I'm on the laptop and for some crazy reason it doesn't have a card reader in it. Something I should have checked into before ordering it... I'm too lazy to find the cord to my camera or the flash drive to transfer some pics over here.

Tropical Storm Nicole side-swiped us this week. We had a day with some crazy high winds. On my way to the gym that evening, I was constantly dealing with sand being whipped around by it. It was no fun when it got in my eyes. That night, it rained like crazy (which is saying something, considering the intense rainstorms we see here), and I spent the next morning's run dodging puddles in the unpaved perimeter road.

Today, it's raining again. It's actually been gloomy the past few days, and today rained nearly all day. I found myself driving what is normally a two minute walk to the dentist, then driving across the street to buy some cheese for dinner (it's pizza night) and visit the post office. I also drove the block to Wyatt's school to pick him up. I felt a little silly about it, but I really didn't feel like getting soaked.

In truth, we walk more than a lot of people here. Golf carts are pretty easy to jump in and go, and I have been surprised at how many people will use them to drive to the next street or an equally short distance. Oliver takes the car to work because it's easily a 15-20 min walk for him, but I don't use it much. I've actually had some trouble with the road orientation because of that. I did most of the driving the last time we were in the States, and found myself constantly having to think about which side to drive on when pulling out or making a turn today.

Oh, yeah, we realized today that Oscar's birthday is just around the corner. I don't know how that one got away from us. My baby is turning three. Although, he insists he's going to remain two. I guess he likes that number. Silly kiddo. Even the idea of presents isn't convincing him that turning three is really a good thing.

I did notice some softening on the issue this evening when I asked him what kind of ice cream he wanted. Because we're making it for him this year! He got excited and asked for vanilla. With a strawberry on top. That might be a tough order to fill. We're going to have to take a trip off base to see if we can find some over-priced strawberries. I'm willing to do that for my little guy's big day. I'm still not sure what we're going to do about the cake, though...

Finally, tomorrow, I'm going to make pickles for the first time ever. I've saved up some random jars, bought a bag full of cucumbers from the produce guy (only five bucks for about 15 good sized cukes - yay for island-grown produce!), and just got my order of pickling spice in the mail today. Here's hoping it turns out all right. It would really be nice to stop paying three bucks a jar for pickles.