Thursday, February 28, 2008

Button, Button, Where's the Button?

They have weekly challenges on Splitcoast Stampers to make cards with different criteria--use a particular sketch or color scheme or technique, something like that. And there are some groups that do their own little challenges for each other, too. Well, last week I saw a bunch of cards in the gallery with a lot of buttons on them as Cindy (aka Mothermark) had issued a challenge to use 18 buttons on a card. Several challenge participants got the buzzer for using brads that look like buttons rather than actual buttons and of course, Cindy called 'em on it and then she said "It's not like I said use 62 buttons on a card, 18 is totally doable!"

I happened to post a comment right under her saying I bet *she* couldn't make a 62-button card. Well, she set out to prove me wrong, and today I got a card in the mail with 58 buttons...and an extra 4 in the envelope :) Well, I couldn't just let it go at that, but I thought that all my buttons were left in Texas (and most of them were). I happened to find a stash of them when I was puttering around my craft room today, so check this out, I got EIGHTY buttons on one card!! (if you click on the picture, you can see a gigundor version of it and you can count the buttons for yourself, in case you disbelieve me--I counted them three times)

Cindy's card is on the left, the middle button has a C on it. Mine's on the right with the butterfly :) I had gone out last weekend to the craft store here looking for some small buttons and couldn't find any, so I was positively gleeful when I discovered the ones I *had* brought with me after all. I glued mine on rather than sewing them on like Cindy did, hope that doesn't discount my challenge effort :) I even fit in a cute lil stamp, that butterfly is from Whipper Snapper. I got it for free months ago when they had a deal where you spend $50 and get that stamp free...hey, the statute of limitations has run out on that by now, Lee can't get mad at me for spending that much money on stamps that aren't SU (although he rolls his eyes at my SU spending habits too, hehe). That butterfly was just waiting around for the perfect card. The sentiment says "you make me smile!" because I was just absolutely rolling on the floor laughing my head off when I saw Cindy's 58-button masterpiece.

So, now we've both had an opportunity to put our money where our mouths are :) I'm going to have to take this one to the post office on Saturday and see if it needs any extra postage. I think I have something a little padded to stick in the envelope to cushion the buttons so hopefully none will fall off in transit. Now all I need is Cindy's bunny butt stamp, that thing is stinkin' cute, and I can make some more Mothermark-worthy cards!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oh Say Can You See...

This is for today's color challenge on Splitcoast--River Rock, Basic Black, and Whisper White. I do NOT like River Rock so it took some thinking to figure out what I could do with those three (non) colors. I ended up cheating a bit, using the blue and red to color in the main image, but it really makes the card pop, doesn't it? It's actually showing up more vibrant in the picture than it is IRL. I sponged some of the icky River Rock ink color over my white on the bottom so that the white on the flag would be what drew the eye first and foremost. All supplies for this card are by Stampin' Up!

I was hoping for a cute springy color combo this week since I just got a whole bunch of cute springy stamps that I've spent most of the day putting together. Well, I'll make some cute springy cards tomorrow. Nothing else to do since most of the Americans on the island are, in effect, grounded like naughty teenagers. That's how come no cool Japan pics lately.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Irish Eyes Are Smilin'

I've been playing around with my Bella stamps today from Stamping Bella, love these! Gardenbella is my favorite, so here's two cards I made with her.

I had this image colored in a long time ago, and I thought she looked Irish with her red hair and green dress, so I decided to use "good luck" for the sentiment. I like these colors together and I'm glad I finally made this one into a card. And this one too!

One day when we were still in North Carolina, I sat down with my Prismacolors and a bunch of stamped Bella images and just went to town. I've still got about a dozen left to make into cards, they're all colored and ready to go. This one looks like she's a little tipsy compared to the other one...I still like the card though. Don't hardly ever work with any of the colors I used on this one. They were both for a sketch challenge in the Bella forum on Splitcoast, that's why the layout is the same except that whole vertical/horizontal thing.

I watched just a little bit of the Oscars earlier today. Lots of red dresses, and man, Helen Mirren was gorgeous. And I could watch her read the phone book aloud, know what I mean? But then she said the WRONG NAME for Best Actor. C'mon, where's the love for Johnny Depp? I think he should get an Oscar just for being Johnny Depp. For reals, though, I wasn't too interested in the Oscars this year...seems like all the movies that were nominated in the main categories were real downers. I don't want to watch any blood drenched "drama" or political commentary movies. Blech. I go to the movies to be *entertained*, dang it! Speaking of which, we saw Fool's Gold on Saturday. Now that movie will never win any awards, but it was at least mildly entertaining, not some award-bait snoozer flick.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Tiptoe Through the Tulips!

My card for the day!! (All supplies by Stampin' Up!) It's for an inspiration challenge on Splitcoast. I went to a Market Day event with my new friend Amber (clicky for her blog!) today and that's where I bought this tulip stamp set. I kinda wanted it when it was in the Stampin' Up catalog and just never got it, so I just about ran around the room yelling "Score!!" when I bought this. Amber, I totally owe you two bucks. I kinda wish I'd reversed how I did the tulips to either side so I could have put the "Spring" panel up a bit, that'd be more in line with the sketch I was working with. Still, I like this card, I like the colors. Had to use the same pink that I did on my card in the last post.

We had a good time at the Market Day (kinda like a small craft fair) and met another Splitcoast stamper, Sabrina (I thought she had a blog but I lost it? Or maybe I imagined's possible) I think Amber and I might do a table at one of these things in the future, it looked like fun. Sabrina does these super cute diaper cakes...Adrienne, if you were having a baby anytime soon, I so would have plunked down the money for one of these TODAY it was so cute. Yellow and green with adorable frogs on it!!! But since you pretty much have the same baby attitude that I do, I didn't buy it :-) There were also a couple of tables where people were selling large prints of photographs from around the island. They were GORGEOUS. I'm gonna drag Lee to the next Market Day and buy a couple, I can't tell you how beautiful they were. Makes me want to take some photography classes and go shoot some pictures...but right now we're going to dinner and a movie!! Yay!! Haven't been to the movies in forever so I'm happy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mexican Lasagna

I have this recipe that I got from my mom called enchilada loaf. The first time I told Lee I was going to make it for dinner, he said, "I won't like it, it's got 'loaf' in the title." I ignored him and made it anyway, and you know what? He loves it. He just can't stand the name. He says enchilada casserole is just as bad a name, and enchilada surprise sounds like something you'd get at a school cafeteria and then be afraid to eat. Wonder if he'd be cool with the title "Mexican Lasagna" because that's kind of what it is, it's layers of tortillas and meat and cheese and sauce like a lasagna, only Mexican-y. So here's the recipe.

Enchilada Loaf (or Mexican Lasagna)

2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (more or less depending on how much you like onion)
chili powder
12 corn tortillas
2 small cans sliced black olives, drained (unless you're Lee, in which case you skip the olives)
6 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cans enchilada sauce (I've only seen one size can for this, it's less than 15 oz.)
2 cans tomato sauce (15 ounces each)

Brown the beef and onion in a large skillet, seasoning to taste with salt and chili powder. Drain if necessary. Layer in an ungreased 9x13 baking dish: 6 tortillas (cover the bottom of the pan), half the meat and onion, 2 cups cheese, 1 can olives, and pour on one can each of the enchilada sauce and tomato sauce. Repeat layers, and top the whole thing with the last 2 cups of cheese. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes; allow to stand for about 5 minutes before cutting. You can cut the recipe in half (except you'll need 8 tortillas) and cook this in a 8x8 or 9x9 square baking dish, too.

So except for the olives, Lee really likes this. I only put black olives on my half and if they "encroach" on the rest of the casserole, Lee starts hollering at me to pick them out. Such a silly person. I made this for the fundraiser we had earlier this week, and it seemed to go over well--the pan was emptied pretty quickly. The house smelled like onions all day though; it doesn't usually, but I had Lee cut up the onion for me the night before (I HATE cutting onions) and had it sitting in the fridge all night, I think it got extra smelly from that :-) If you try the recipe, let me know what you think!

Le Carte en Rose

You know, like La Vie en Rose, only a card? Ok, silly French joke. I'm such a nerd.

So here's my card for today. I don't blog about every card I do, I just occasionally put something on here. I'm on a personal mission to do all the color challenges and sketch challenges at Splitcoast and this card knocked out one of each (left to do: 73 sketch challenges and 105 color challenges). Everything I used on this card is by Stampin' Up! I like Regal Rose, I just don't use it very often. I loooooooove Chocolate Chip (both the color and the food, lol) so I only have teeny scraps of it right now. You can't tell from the picture, but I stamped all this on shimmery white cardstock so it's got just a bit of sheen to it. Love that stuff. Actually I think I just love this card, I've used some of my favorite stamps on it and some great colors. Let me toot my own horn here, I'm happy with it. I've got a couple birthdays coming up in March that I'll need cards for, too. If you would like to see what else I've made, then check out my gallery. Look at me getting all fancy here and adding hyperlinks. :-)

Not much else happening here, just keeping the house clean and taking the kiddos for walks. Y'know, it really is uphill both ways to get anywhere on the island. I've been taking the dogs out for a walk in the morning and then we go again in the afternoon when Lee gets off work, which is probably good for all of us. Lee and I have started going to the gym together in the evenings, too, which is good...but it stinks for the first week or so since *everything* is sore until your body gets used to working out regularly. I hate that breaking-in period. So, if I just kept going to the gym regularly, I wouldn't have this problem, right? Riiiight.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sunset Excursion

Last night we went out to the seawall to try to watch the sunset. It was a perfectly clear morning yesterday, no haze and just a few clouds...but of course at sunset, all the clouds had congregated in the west so we couldn't see much. We did take the camera though, so here's the best shot Lee took.

They have these huge things that look like gigundor concrete jacks all along the beach, I suppose to slow down erosion of the shore line and maybe it has something to do with typhoons? Lee theorized that they might break up big waves in the event of a typhoon before they hit the island proper, which would be a good idea since it's like 100 feet from the water to the nearest buildings. Sorry, 30 meters, they're metric here :p

I made this thank you card yesterday for a challenge posted on Splitcoast Stampers. All stamps, inks, and cardstock are by Stampin' Up! Not sure who's going to get this yet, but it's always a good idea to have a few thank you cards on hand.

Pretty low-key weekend's Monday night now but Lee was off today for President's Day. We've just been hanging out and I baked some cookies for a fundraiser that's happening tomorrow. And in the morning we're going to get up really early and hit the gym, which is all the more important since I had a cookie or two today. Hey, I have to taste-test them, don't I? Oh, yeah, GYM. Now I really have to do that...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Cookie Monster

Yesterday, we decided to head up to Nago just because we'd never been there before, so we set out on Highway 58 and just drove. No real plan or anything, just to see what was up there. Highway 58 parallels the coast for a good long way and I tell you what, I have never seen water that color--it was absolutely turquoise close in to the shore, and then a beautiful royal blue where the bottom drops off a little further out. It was a gorgeous day yesterday too, just a few clouds and a nice breeze. It took longer to get to Nago than we'd thought it would (the island's top speed limit is 80 kph, and that's on the toll expressway, so our top speed was 60 kph, what is that, 37 miles an hour?) so we just kind of drove around town a little bit and came back. Saw lots of cool things but of course, we were silly and forgot to take the camera with us!!

We were absolutely staaaaaaaaaarrrrrving on the way back so I got Lee to stop at a family mart thing (think gas station, only no gas). We looked around for something to eat and of course, since neither of us can read Japanese, we couldn't figure out exactly what a lot of things were. Except for the cookies and candy, I've got a real good handle on those :) So we got a bit of candy and this package of cookies...

I thought this was interesting since it's "the American traditional homemade country cookie" and I don't think I've ever had a strawberry cookie like this. So I bought it.

They're pretty good, each one is individually wrapped and they're kinda pinkish on top with white chips in them. And this is why Japanese food is calorie-free and fat free:

If I can't read the label, it doesn't count!! Hehehe. If only it worked that way.

Last night Lee and I went to a dinner theater production of the musical comedy "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change." It was nice to get out and go on a "real date" and we had a good time. The show is a series of vignettes of couples talking (and singing) about dating, marriage, how life changes after baby, and on and on. It was pretty funny...there were a couple of vignettes that were just stupid, but most of them were pretty amusing. We should get out and do things like that more often--I like going to musicals and plays and things.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I've just kind of had a frustrating day today. Both the dogs have been getting in trouble...Vader's been caught several times lately going into the kitchen and trying to get at stuff on the counters. Sadie has been a little wild dog every time I've let her out, she runs right up to people and won't leave them alone or come back when I call her. She scared a little girl last time I let her out, and before that she wouldn't leave this poor guy alone who's here working on the pipes.

About that...our water is turned off and has been for most of the afternoon. I have discovered that it is really easy to brush one's teeth using bottled water, but it is far more difficult to wash one's hands. Really, you should try it. It took me two bottles of water to get all the soap off my hands. Indoor don't really think about it till it's gone, but really, it's even better than sliced bread.

And with the water turned off I can't even try to give Sadie a swirly as punishment for scaring that poor kid...oh ok, I probably wouldn't give a dog a swirly anyway. Well, maybe. Since it's Sadie.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Birthday to Ree, Happy Birthday to Ree!

Yep, today is Lee's birthday! He finally joins me in old age today...really, I'm three weeks older but he can make such a big deal about it! So I made him this birthday card. But I had to make him a sweet card too, so he got a Tinker Bell Valentine. I left this on top of the box of cookies I made for him to take to work today.

("You're Old" stamp by River City Rubber Works, Tink stamp by All Night Media, "Mwah!" stamp by Stamping Bella; heart punch by EK Success, everything else by Stampin' Up!)

In Japan on Valentine's Day, the gals give the guys chocolate. Not just their significant others, either, although those dudes will probably get the biggest and best chocolate--the gals go out and buy chocolates to give to all their male friends and coworkers, dad, brothers, etc. Seems a little bit guy-centric, doesn't it? Turns out there's a holiday on March 14 when the guys are expected to return the favor tenfold. Hmm, that's a lot of chocolate!! So if I give Lee a bunch of chocolate today, then I'll probably get to eat most of it since he's not a total choco nut like I am, and then he'll have to give me ten times as much chocolate on March 14 and I'll get to eat all of THAT chocolate too. I like this plan!!

The Japanese really do get their L's and R's mixed up, particularly if a word starts with L. I saw a DVD player in a store labeled "No Rayaway" one time. So I call my man Ree, but still...their English is a whole lot better than my Japanese.

Yes, Adrienne, I have said "Kadena Marina" out loud several times :) Kinda rolls off the tongue, no? And then sometimes I just say "Karina Madena" instead because it sounds funny too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lemony Snickets

I've been cooking long enough (ok, baking) that sometimes I like to experiment a little bit. I did that tonight and came up with a new cookie recipe with some things I had on hand. Here's what I made:

Lemony Snickets :) Just because I think it's a funny name, the movie wasn't the best in my opinion but I digress!

1 lemon cake mix
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup white chips

Mix the first four ingredients together until dough forms; add white chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes at 350. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. (The original recipe is for butterscotch spice cookies, which I think are kind of a fall thing...same recipe as above but use a spice cake mix, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 cup butterscotch chips. They're totally yummy too.)

Yes, I happened to have a lemon cake mix and lemon extract in my pantry today. I don't have baking soda, but I have those :) I suppose you could stick with the vanilla extract for the lemon cookies, but what can I say? I really like lemon, so I thought I'd just add the extract. They DO have a lemon kick to 'em, and they are quite good if I do say so myself. Lee's taking them into work tomorrow since they're doing 12-hour shifts and aren't allowed to leave to get food. I told him that's my part in making him popular here, hehehe. Cake mix cookies are great because you can usually make the entire recipe up in about a half hour to 45 minutes, which is pretty darn quick for cookies.

Vader did something funny tonight...Lee was having a couple of hot dogs for dinner and had just sat down on the couch with his plate. He felt something hit his leg and he looked--somehow Vader had wagged his curly little piggy tail into the ketchup & mustard on the hot dogs and gotten it all over his tail, and then slung some of it on Lee. We tried to get him away from the couch so we could get it off him but of course he wagged his tail at us and got a swipe of it on the couch. I couldn't quit laughing, but hey, it wasn't MY dinner.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere

So here are the promised pictures from the marina. Lee was so excited to go out there, he just can't hardly wait to go scuba diving. These were taken at the Kadena Marina, which is on the East China Sea side of the island (my parents call it the South China Sea but all the maps say East. Either way, it's the side that's not the Pacific). They have a restaurant there too but we heard it wasn't all that good. Anyway, here's my man!

And then here's me. They had a ton of these rocks all in one area, I'm thinking that they must have been added to the beach to keep the sand from eroding away. We went walking out on these to go take a look around and found several people's shoes...there were several guys out there surfing, and then there were a few way down the beach who were fishing.

Here's a more close-up shot of the island (if you click on the picture you'll see it really huge and blown up). I don't know what they've got out there, all we can see is the steps, but I'm thinking maybe it's a tomb? They have tombs all over the island and some of them are in kind of odd places, where they might have been out off by themselves at one point but stuff was built up around them. So anyway, "tomb" is my guess.

We haven't gotten to go exploring in a bit since Lee was on call for work this weekend and he's working 12-hour shifts all week. I've got about a half hour before I need to start figuring out what to make for dinner so it's ready when he gets here. We are planning to get out of the house this weekend and see what kind of trouble we can get into, though!

Monday, February 11, 2008

When there's something strange in the neighborhood...

Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters! If there's something weird and it don't look good, who ya gonna call?

Guess what movie I watched this morning :-)

I took the kiddos for a walk today and it did turn out to be an interesting one. First this little girl ran after us, she's maybe 3 or 4 years old, and of course Sadie looooves kids (not in a they taste like chicken kind of way, but in an I reallyreallyreallyreally want to be your friend way). So the kid catches up to Sadie and then throws a stick at her. Luckily the kid's aim was totally off and her mom was mortified--she immediately made the girl apologize and took her in the house. From the way the kid acted she either needed a nap or a spanking, but what do I know? My kids have four legs. Kinda felt bad for Sadie that her would-be friend instead wanted to hurl projectiles.

So we continue on, and a while later some dogs start barking at us from inside one of the houses. They were something that looked kinda poodle-riffic, white curly things of some kind and I swear, one of 'em had pink spots. Really! That was the something strange in the neighborhood part of the walk. We were heading home when we came up to a couple of tween girls who were very nice and totally happy to pet Sadie and Vader nicely, no one threw anything so Sadie was really happy. Then we'd just gotten to my front yard and I'd taken off the leashes when I heard a girl holler at her dog so I turned around. This little Yorkie was running pell-mell for us across the street and almost got hit by a car. Luckily he made it safely and I grabbed him until the girl could get there. I think she said his name was Mr. Smith which seems kinda strange for a dog...

I know you want to see my kids so here they are!

There's Vader riding in the car, he's always such a good sport about that. And then here's Sadie plotting mayhem, which is what she does best. Her tongue has black spots because she's part Chow; Vader's part German Shepherd but doesn't look it. Sadie doesn't usually have a Got Milk? mustache, she was just kinda slobbery when we took the picture :-) Vader really does have a little white goatee, though.

And here's a pink hibiscus I took a picture of last month at the marina. I'll share some more marina pictures tomorrow.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sleeping Beauty

I love this movie. You know, the Disney one. When we got married, Lee and I picked the Sleeping Beauty Waltz as the music for our first dance. I hopped up and down like a 10-year-old at a Hannah Montana concert when I got to have my picture taken with Aurora on our honeymoon (Disney cruise...mondo fun!) I think Maleficent is the coolest Disney villain EVER, I mean c'mon--she turns into a DRAGON! I have a Maleficent shirt, purse, and a silver charm for my charm bracelet. Hm, I have an Aurora charm too (and Tinker Bell, Cinderella, Cinderella's pumpkin carriage, Stitch, and probably several others). I bought the Brand New 2-Disc Special Edition Disney DVD the day it came out. I own the soundtrack. I even own a recording of Tchaikovsky's original ballet that the Disney team used as the basis for the music in the film.

So last night we watched The Aristocats (no really, this isn't a topic change) because I insisted we buy it last week...yeah, I love the Disney cartoon movies. I always like to watch the previews they have on all their movies to see what else they're going to release that I just have to get (101 Dalmatians on March 4! The original animated one, not the live-action one) and I was surprised to see a preview for Sleeping Beauty. I mean, the last Brand New 2-Disc Special Edition Disney DVD came out right after I got married so that was only 2003 or the spring of 2004, usually they don't do another release of it that soon. Turns out they've remastered the animation and made all the colors brighter and stuff (thought they did that on my Brand New 2-Disc Special Edition Disney DVD?!) and they're going to release it on Blu-Ray. There's just one problem.

THEY CHANGED ALL THE STINKIN' VOICES!!! Trust me when I say I have seen this movie enough times to know the difference. Sure the voices sound *similar* on the preview, but they are so totally not the original voice cast that I know and love. You hear Maleficent, Prince Philip, and Merryweather, but they never let you hear Aurora. HOW can you mess with a CLASSIC like that?! (Well, ok, George Lucas had to do the special editions of the original Star Wars trilogy, but that's a whole 'nother post). I totally would have bought this new version of Sleeping Beauty if it hadn't been for the whole voice thing, even if Lee *hates* it when I get multiple versions of the same movie on DVD (Star Wars is immune to this rule!! And I mighta snuck in a couple others...) but now I'm so totally not buying it. *is grumpy*

I decided last night to eat the strawberries I got on Saturday at the commissary, so I went to go rinse them off and they were all moldy. I'd had them just one day!!! I guess we're going to have to refrigerate everything or else eat it as soon as we get it home. *is really grumpy* They still smelled sooooooo good but every single one of 'em had yucky spots all over it. Had to throw them out. *is really extra grumpy now* On the up side, my mom heard my plaint over the jumbo pasta shells so she bought some to put in the next package she sends out here. So maybe I'll get to try those enchilada stuffed pasta shells after all, yay!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

When We go Shopping!

Ever hear the Barenaked Ladies song about shopping? It's stuck in my head. And we did go shopping today at the commissary. I'd earmarked a couple of recipes I wanted to try out this week so I had a list ready....and they don't have jumbo pasta shells at the commissary. Argh! They do have a lot of stuff, but not as much as Wally can find your laundry detergent, but it only comes in the small bottles, etc. I had a hard time finding crescent rolls too, and if they hadn't had THOSE then I woulda just had to tell Lee that we can't stay in Japan, we have to go back to the US where they have real stores. :p Alas, I will not get to try the enchilada stuffed pasta shells (interesting combination, no?) but at least we got stuff to make tacos tonight. And we got some strawberries that smell so good, it ought to be illegal. Mmmm, strawberries...I got some chocolate to dip them in too :-)

We also went shopping for Lee's dad's birthday present and I have to say, we're positively gleeful at how easy it's going to be to shop for everyone while we're here. We found a shop that sells puzzle boxes, got one all packed and shipped off today and I can't wait to hear about it when Lee's dad tries to open the thing. It takes 12 steps and I haven't a clue how to do it after watching the lady who sold it to us open and close it twice. And because we're evil, we kept the instructions :-)

This same shop had quite a few pieces of Okinawa lacquerware that I would have liked to get, but oooh, spendy. It's beautiful, red lacquer with inlaid designs on it, and they had all kinds of things made out of it dishes and decorative items and such. The most expensive thing I saw was $800, some kind of large vase with a dragon design on it, and they had a small chopstick stand for about $30 (I have learned to eat with chopsticks since we got here, I'm so proud of myself!). And in this same shop they sell Hello Kitty toasters and those wooden Japanese sandals that they wear with socks (Fashion Police!!!) and all kinds of other things. We took our puzzle box to the pack and ship place a few doors down and this woman made us a box to send the puzzle box in. She started with a flat piece of corrugated cardboard and just cut and scored it with a razor, making a custom-fitted box for us. Pretty amazing to watch and it cost us $3.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Fat Puppy Syndrome

We just got back from Jack's Place, a restaurant that's only about 5 min. from here, this is the first time we've gone. We did the teppanyakki (NO idea if I spelled that right) and it was sooooo good! This is what they call the "Japanese steakhouse" kind of thing you see in the States, where they come cook your food right at your table and the guys cooking usually do all kinds of tricks and stuff with the bowls, knives, etc. flipping them around and catching them, and sometimes flipping up stuff to catch in their hats. So it's like dinner *and* a show! They served Kobe beef, vegetables (ummm....not really my thing), soup, salad, and garlic bread. We also had dessert, for $3 we got creme brulee, a bit of ice cream, small piece of chocolate cake, and a few slices of fruit. That's prolly the first time I've had kiwi and it was yummalicious! It's a lot of food, so now I have fat puppy know when you're all full and you just wanna go take a nap?

Speaking of puppies, Vader got BUSTED when we got home...we SNUCK (yes, I know, Mom--I like snuck better than sneaked!) around back to the big sliding glass door to see what the kiddos were up to and Little Man was up on the couch. Couldn't even see him at first till he heard us and his lil head popped up. So how do you keep a dog from getting up on the furniture when you're not home? I mean, I know it's furniture, but I could do with a little less FUR on it.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!

This post is dedicated to my high school marching band director, who made us sing that song to the sun at seven o'clock in the morning when we started rehearsals outside. He also made us face east and greet the sun: "Good morning, sun! I'm so glad to see you today! I hope you shine brightly on us!" And then we had to sing "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." He was quite the character. This one's for you, Bertman.

So yeah, it was a totally beautiful morning yesterday and what did I do? I cleaned the kitchen, got in the shower, and then talked to my parents on video chat for a while and before I knew it, it was lunchtime. I did take my dogs out for a long walk in the afternoon though so at least I got some Vitamin D. I heard from people who have been on the island longer that we get six months of nonstop clouds in the winter here, and then six months of nonstop sun (with the occasional typhoon) in the summer.

Anyway, here's a card I posted on Splitcoast a few days ago. This is my thank you to my friend Liz (HI LIZ!) for sending me this totally cute Jim Shore Tinker Bell figurine. I think the flower came out too dark but other than that it's a reasonably cute card...and I think when I upload pictures on here they turn out darker too, so now that flower is *really* dark. I've also been working on some birthday cards since half the people I know were born in either October or February, including my husband. I should probably be working on those instead of playing around on the computer, huh?

Neelu, I was just kidding about only Amber and Mom reading my blog. But I didn't see your comment on the other post until after I posted that. So now you get your very own mention here, HI NEELU! See, here's a picture of Neelu, it's the best one I could find on my computer since I left all my scrapbooks at home that have TONS of pictures of her in them. Neelu was a bridesmaid in my wedding, isn't she beautiful? You know she is. We've been friends since she moved to Texas when we were in 7th grade and we happened to have several classes together. Now she's in California and I'm in Japan so we don't get to hang out together anymore. But she leaves comments on here. :-)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Mighty Chewbacca

I love this picture. I love that I have a black eye in this picture--the one and only I can ever remember having. I got that while performing in the marching band's halftime didn't know marching band was a contact sport? Maybe just when I do it. Anyway, this picture was taken in November of 1997 (I was 17), me and my dog Chewie. Chewie was the best dog EVER, and he picked me to be his person (those of you who have Labs will understand when I say that *he* picked *me*). We adopted Chewie (and he adopted me) around 1996, and he died of cancer in 2006. I love my two current furbaby kiddos, but Chewie will always have a special place in my heart. This picture is up on our computer desk now and I just wanted to share it with both the people who read my blog...hi Mom and Amber :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now the Rain Is Gone

For one brief, shining moment quit raining long enough yesterday afternoon for me to actually SEE THE SUN for a few minutes. There IS a sun in the Land of the Rising Sun! Hah! Anyway, here are the promised pics from up in the Ferris wheel, when it was (you guessed it) raining.

Those tall buildings are apartments. You can usually see a bunch of laundry strung out on the balconies to dry...I guess when your apartment is tiny, you don't want to take up floor space with a dryer. Plus maybe they like that line-dried smell, although how anything can get dry here when it won't quit raining is beyond me. Now don't get me wrong, I don't mind the rain, I just mind the little doggy paw prints all over my house because they always step in a pud muddle out in our backyard.

That really tall building is either an apartment building or a hotel, I forget which. This shorter conglomeration of stuff with the parking garage on top in the front of the pic has a bunch of different things in it, including a movie theater (you can just barely see the red Cinema sign) and a Tony Roma's. Yep, that's Japanese ;) A lot of the shopping areas here seem to have their parking up on top of the building, and lots of places you have to pay to park.

This is the sign for the Japanese equivalent of Wal-Mart. They've got just about everything in here, from groceries to a 100-yen area to carpet to garden stuff to pets. I think it's called Make Man, but a lot of us call it the Monkey Man store since it has a monkey on the sign. Pretty cool place, you could get lost. Luckily they have a map in the store with a lot of the areas labeled in English for us who can't read Japanese :)

And here's the card I made today for the color challenge on Splitcoast. I need some thank you cards so here's one knocked out! I got the main image stamp set right before it retired in December and this is the first time I've gotten it out. All stamps, cardstock, and punches are by Stampin' Up, and all the ink is too except for the Versafine Black ink by Tsukineko. I think it's a cheery lil thank you card.

You know what I heard on tv last week so it must be true? Nicole Kidman is a lepidopterophobe, which means she has a tremendous fear of.....butterflies. Guess I shouldn't send her my best wishes butterfly card to congratulate her on her pregnancy, huh? I can see being an arachnophobe (ok, I AM an arachnophobe) but spiders bite! Butterflies don't do anything but land on flowers and look pretty.

I'd better get downstairs before I burn my lasagna. Hmm, maybe I'll post my lasagna recipe later, it's wonnnnnderful. Thanks Mom!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Famous Ferris Wheel

It occurred to me that I kind of started this blog in medias res, which is Latin for "starting the story in the middle and confusing the heck out of everyone." So, let's start over a little bit. Hi, I'm Christy. I just moved to Okinawa, Japan, at the beginning of the year with my husband Lee...
That's Lee. Idn't he cuuuuuuute? Well, I think he his, and he'll prolly kill me when he reads this post :-)
Yes, you guessed it, both those pictures of us were taken on this Ferris wheel which is in Americatown (which is part of Chatan). It was kind of rainy the day we went up in it, but I think it rains at least a little bit every single day here. I don't think I've seen the sun yet. I've also got some pics of stuff you could see from the Ferris wheel but I'll post those next.

As you've probably guessed, I like to make cards. I also used to scrapbook a lot but I haven't done that in a while, I'm hoping to get back into it while we're here since we're taking all these pictures and I want to be able to show them off in a lovely format when we get back to the States. I also read a lot, buy lots and lots of movies, and I really like to bake...mostly I cook desserts, although I do a good lasagna too since my mom taught me that (hi Mom!). So you can see that all my hobbies seem to revolve around staying at the house....Lee likes to go scuba diving, fly RC planes, and do all kinds of other things that involve leaving the house. He said if I get certified as a scuba diver that we'll go to Australia to dive at the Great Barrier Reef. Two problems with that: a.) I have a horrible fear of deep water and b.) I am so totally NOT going to get in the water with sharks. I didn't even see Jaws and I still don't want to do that. I did promise I would at least try diving once but I'm not going to promise more than that.

We also have two dogs, Sadie and Vader. They're both crazy black Lab mixes and they're 2 years old. I'm sure that they'll get pictures posted on here soon too :-) They're our kids and they keep us entertained. They probably don't keep the neighbors entertained though...both of them have wandered into other people's houses uninvited since we got here. We're gonna have to do a lot more training with them.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

I was going to post the Ferris wheel pics today but I'm having some trouble uploading them to the blog, I'll try again tomorrow. So for now you get a picture-less blog entry :-)

So, we've been unpacking stuff for three days now and it's starting to look like we actually live here...and we don't get an echo anymore so that means we actually have stuff in the house. I'm STILL not finished with the kitchen, although I did bring my iPod and iHome in there with me and seriously rocked out to some tunes while I put stuff up. I also had the kitchen window wide open, so I wonder how many people might have walked by and seen my high-energy interpretive dance to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"...well, at least it made unpacking more entertaining. I seriously love my iPod, I can't do anything without a soundtrack. And if I don't have that playing, then usually I have something going in my head. Earlier today I was stuck on "Read my Mind" by The Killers, and yesterday it was selections from Hootie & the Blowfish's CD Looking for Lucky, which is a great CD by the way. But I digress.

We've had surprisingly few things broken, considering the guys who packed up our stuff in North Carolina were all eeeeeeeeeediots. They wanted to put my very nice wooden dresser upside down and slide it across concrete to get it in the truck...luckily Lee heard them planning that and told them in no uncertain terms that they would do no such thing. Have I not mentioned that Lee is my husband? Yep, he is. I'll post some pics of both of us when I get the photo thingibopper working. Lee is wonderful....he let me have the bigger spare bedroom for my craft room, I got the closet that isn't half taken up with air conditioner ducts in the master bedroom, and he doesn't roll his eyes much when I go through and alphabetize our DVDs. He does make fun of me when I forget that I've left the keys in the front door though, but I guess I can't complain too much on that one. I still have all that closet space, after all.

In the course of the unpacking process, I have discovered that I have too many clothes (especially ones that don't fit anymore), too much kitchen stuff, and too many plastic storage thingies, but I do not have too many rubber stamps. Weird, huh? And, no matter what Lee says, I do not have too many books. Reading quality books keeps one's vocabulary (and possibly spelling ability) up to snuff. I tried really hard to just bring the ones I could not live without for three years...turns out I read a lot. Like, a whole lot. And having a large collection of rubber stamps improves one's ability to make cards for people and spend massive amounts of money. See? Great reason for me to buy more!

Thus ends another that the upstairs is pretty much looking how it's supposed to, it's time to tackle the downstairs and finish washing all those dishes in the kitchen. Does one really need five 9x13 baking pans? Because that's how many I've got.