Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Age

I've got a new age. And I don't mean religion. Another year of life has come and gone. Since last year was a bit lonesome for me (Isaac was flying. At least I got to be on vacation in Kaua'i, though), Isaac really went out of his way to make it special.

He tried his darndest to let me sleep in. But come 9am [I usually am up by 3 or 4 am for work, so 9am was a very nice treat], he couldn't wait any longer. He took me by the hand---bed head and all---to the breakfast table where a homemade feast of banana pancakes, crispy bacon and cinnammon rolls waited amongst a pile of nicely wrapped gifts.

Rather than go out to eat this year, which is usually mildly disappointing in Hawaii because restaurants simply aren't what they are on the mainland, we cooked a recipe together from Bon a Petit. Very yummy!

27 is off to a good start. I'm getting to the age where I'm starting to appreciate the fact that people think I'm only about 17.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Acro Yoga

I went to my first Acro Yoga workshop today. Holy cow, you do some cool stuff. I had a hard time lasting for the full 3 hours. Considering I was holding up people much heavier than myself with my legs, having them balance me on the tops of their feet while I bent into poses like Bow Pose and an inverted Butterfly.

Wow.

Seriously awesome stuff. They said it was developed by a yogi who used to be a circus acrobat! Go figure! [And hence the name "acro yoga"].

Looking forward to building more stamina and muscle strength so that I can do more. After doing several poses, I found it difficult to continue to hold my body rigid long enough to do many of those things without potentially hurting someone else (or myself).

Maybe next month I'll be able to have someone take a few pics and post photos of the kinds of poses we worked on today.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a helicopter!

Ok, so this is news I was waiting to share until I had left my other job and started my new job.

I have officially quit my other job at the rental car company. Turns out, when I tell people where I used to work, they feel really bad for me. Huh. Things I wish I had known...

Anyway. Whilst plans to become a certified yoga-licious instructor are still in the works, I am a brand spankin' new employee of a rather fancy helicopter company* here in Hawaii! Today was my third day. I can finally approach the helicopters without pure terror. They are intimidating!

After a few days "on the flight line" I feel like I can keep up and keep my wits about me without looking like as much of a dork as I looked like on day one. [Which may or may not be saying much].

But, this company has the best safety record of all the helicopter companies in Hawaii, and is also the most prestigious. There are certainly strict standards to hold oneself to as an employee, but that obviously results in an excellent safety rating and a sparkling reputation for the company.

I also have to say, that after working in customer service for different industries, the guests [passengers] of this company are wonderful. They are like... the mecca promised land community of customers. They are happy, friendly, and generally pleasant people. Score.

I am being trained to do everything. Which felt a little daunting at first, but I feel like I am getting into a good rhythm.

I'm really excited to get to wear so many hats. Reservations, check-in, taking clients to the aircraft and back out, sometimes when the rotor is running, sometimes not. It's good to stay busy and to do something that just feels so gosh-darned special.

Ok, and I won't lie: I am also rather excited for my turn to go on a two-hour full-island tour so that I can discuss it with visitors who want to make reservations!

Alooohhhaa! Until next time!

*Since I don't know what this company may and may not want to be tied to in, say, an internet search, I won't be using the name of the company at any time in this blog.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thanks!

You know that time [last month] I said I was going to do a POD post to give thanks for things I loved in Hawaii? That was a sweet idea, wasn't it? I definitely thought about the pictures I wanted to take and post every day, but I didn't spend much time on the computer in November. And most of the pictures I took were of my dog [sleeping in what only I think are adorable positions].

However! I did get some pictures, which I will post towards the end of this post...with thanks. That way, I can come full circle! So stay tuned for the pictures! And bear with me for the next several paragraphs, as I have some news I am very excited to share.

November has been a busy month. Even though I was supposed to be working part-time at my frustrating little job, I have been getting called in for early shifts, extra shifts, and staying late every night. So, I'm practically working full-time, but without benefits.

I'm not being lazy about my frustrations though, like I often am. I'm being proactive. I have been searching the interwebs for other means of employment and putting my resume in where I can. Which isn't many places, actually. There's not a lot out there. So...I'm sticking it out.

In the meantime, I have been getting more and more drawn into my yoga practice, as has Isaac. My body is going further and further into challenges it was 100% incapable of just a few months ago. My study is mostly with two yoga instructors (well, one is more like a full fledged yogi, but I don't think she'd really mind me calling her an instructor). One of them has developed a new version of yoga, and I have gotten addicted to it. She's been a yoga instructor (yogi?) for 15 years and has woven all of these different practices into her class along with some powerful modern elements that really resonate with younger generations.

Anyway, I don't want to say too much about this class because she's still in the process of patents and copyrights, however, she and I have been socializing and talking and...she is going to train and certify me teach this particular melting pot of yogas! After I am trained for this specific class, I'll spend the next year or so studying with her and becoming a bona fide yoga instructor for all schools of yoga. I'll be learning Sanskrit, chants, the whole shabang.

I start if off with a weekend seminar which will entail doing hours and hours of yoga on end. I hope I pass!

Anyway, I am extremely excited to have this opportunity. I hope to learn a lot from her, and to continue learning through teaching. That thing they say? Do what you love and money will follow? Well, I'm not asking for a lot of money, but to do something I have really grown to love as my employment? What a blessing.

And for that, I am thankful. Kona has started opening up some really magnificent doors for me and Isaac, and right now, a future in Kona feels bright and shiny.

Without further ado, other things I am thankful for in Hawaii, off my camera phone, in the order that they uploaded:

I am thankful for clear, vogless days in Kona. They are truly beautiful and sunny.

I am thankful for tide pools, filled with plants, turtles and other sea animals. I have a feeling my future children will learn much about sea life from tide pools.

Lava rock beaches. Because once you get past the rockiness, you get some truly wonderful, isolated beaches away from the crowds.

Fruit. Especially fruit that grows in our back yard and is so succulent and juicy, you don't need a juicer to get your OJ in the morning. Just cut in half and squeeze. Amazing.

All of the colors in Hawaii. I couldn't capture them all (or was too lazy to try), but this flower in our yard is a good example.

Kona sunsets. Any girls out there remember Lisa Frank? [I loved Lisa Frank in grade school]. I sometimes wonder if she got her color inspirations from Kona sunsets.

Evenings at the beach with my husband and my dog-ter (dog + daughter = dog-ter) playing fetch in the small waves, and burying our feet in the sand.

This particular beach, which has this almost completely still water, because all the waves are blocked by an ancient stone wall. Filled with turtles and sand and turquoise water. I love coming here before work and after a hard yoga session.

Another shot of the same serene, uncrowded beach. But this picture is made better cause my husband's sexy legs are in it. I'm thankful for those too. ;-)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Mahalo Hawaii #2: I saw the sign


Today's pictures were taken on the go. In the rain. From the car. I will pause for a moment to let all the mothers out there get the inner-lecture out of their system.

*****

Better? Ok. Normally, I don't have the phone out while driving (unless on Bluetooth). And I think it's not very responsible. But, in my defense, there as NObody else on this not-at-all main road, and I was alllmost at a stop. Try to ignore the crack in the windshield of the car (thanks a bunch, lava rocks). You can click on either picture to see a larger version.

Without further ado, today I am thankful for slightly unexpected street signs in my neighborhood. They provide a little something to smile at and wonder about. The first confuses me. Is it a joke? Does someone think their neighbor is a "donkey" who needs to get back to the mainland? On the other hand, wild donkeys DO roam these parts, and similar signs are seen on the highway. I have heard donkeys hee-hawing at night a few times, but have yet to see one in my neighborhood. So, hmm...



The second one is particularly difficult to see because of that darned windshield crack. Under the lower gear sign is a "Surf's Up" sign. Most definitely a joke, but I love it. It reminds me daily that the nearest beach is 15 minutes away, and I live amongst a people who get so much out of the ocean! Not just food, but exercise, leisure, and play as well. I'm also thankful that the legal people responsible for making sure these things don't stay up have never taken it down. It's been there at least as long as we've lived here. It's my first indication when I start driving down the volcanic hill to our house that I am almost home.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mahalo, Hawaii - The first of my Thanksgiving series


As suggested in a previous post, I will be using this month to express my gratitude for things Hawaii has that I can enjoy, that Hawaii has provided for me, changed within me, or just made me feel thankful for.

It's something I like to do every November-ish in mental preparation for Thanksgiving. I've never done it this specifically before.

I am hoping to have pictures in every post. I hope I stick with that. Picture-of-the-day sorta thing.

Pictures will probably come exclusively from my camera phone. Don't forgive the low quality photos --- embrace them! This will be fun! I like seeing what kinds of pictures I can take on the fly when there wouldn't be time to dig out a normal camera.

Without further ado...

Today, I am thankful for coconuts.

Let it be known that I used to hate coconuts. Just the smell could make my stomach turn. I don't know what the turning point was. I don't need to delve into what my turning-point was, because this is all about what I am thankful for right now.

Last night for supper I had Coconut chicken soup with Jasmine rice. As we speak, my lunch of coconut brown rice and spiced chicken is a-cookin'.

[May I pause for a second? I know that this is NOT a food blog, but I really am thankful for coconuts and all their popularity on this island; especially since I can no longer enjoy dairy without embarrassing repercussions].

In Hawai'i, coconut food is everywhere. The Hawaiian people love it, and so do I. For pictures today I went into my front yard (to capture our coconut tree) and my kitchen:




Some of my favorite snacks above and below. The mother-in-law opened my eyes to coconut water during marathon training. You can find it just about anywhere out here! Coconut products abound in Hawaii (which isn't surprising).


Behold, the ingredients for lunch today. Delicious! The rice recipe was courtesy of the Gluten Free Girl. A gluten-free friend told me about this blog a long time ago. I think I was hooked on her blog and recipes not because I needed to be gluten free, but because her writing was brimming with so much wit and positivity, I was drawn in. And the food was blissful, so that kept me coming back.

*******

Mahalo!





Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And Then It Hit Us

Hawaii is home now. We decided this recently. Chalk it up to the economy, the job market, and the need to finally start settling down. Living in paradise sort of helps the decision to start getting rooted as well.

For the foreseeable future, we will be bunkering down here.

Although it is sad that the location of our home makes it difficult to see family and friends often enough, no happy life comes without some sort of sacrifice. Perhaps, though, those few times we spend with family each year will feel a little sweeter because they'll be just a little more precious than before.

There will always be a list of things I will miss and love about my mainland home (hey, I'm a typical human. Look to one of those very evolved Nirvana-esque monks if you want inner perfection). But recently, I have been working on focusing on the things I am comforted by and am delighted by in our Hawaiian home:

  • Geckos. Splendid, rainbow-colored, cute-as-buttons geckos. 
  • Poi dogs.
  • Beaches, beaches, beaches, as far as the eye can see.
  • Sunshine.
  • Variety in languages.
  • Aloha.
  • Mangoes (and mango salsa, mango smoothies, mango in everything. I never get tired of mangoes!)
  • Fresh fish.
  • Wonderful Asian food. (Pretty sure the world's best bowl of Thom Kah Kai exists in this little town).
  • Healthy people.
  • My continually tan skin.
  • Wearing slippers every day.
  • Hitch hikers (they can be annoying, too. But I love that I live somewhere that is so safe and friendly that hitch hiking is legal and common practice).
  • That locals kiss each other on the cheek when greeting hello or goodbye. (And all this time, I thought that was a purely European thing!)
  • Women of every age who love to shake their hips.
  • A husband who looks like a kid in a candy store every time he goes diving or snorkeling.
  • Guessing the weight of the honu every time we see one on a beach.
  • The ocean-view sunset from our lanai.
  • A people who know exactly how gorgeous their home is; and who, as a result, are quite particular about keeping it clean and well-loved.

The list goes on and on. I think, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I will be posting pictures of things for which I am thankful in this green, sunny home of ours. Mahalo, Hawai'i!

Aloha.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Oh, Hawai'i

Hawai'i can be a confusing place. I think the most confusing thing is the seasons. The changes between seasons are so subtle, only true locals (no donkeys or haoles) seem to notice. This can be confusing, in terms of the inner clock.

For instance, I just realized a few days ago that Halloween is nigh (as in, tomorrow). Costume? Candy? Holiday? Whaaaat? Last year Christmas snuck up on us, and we sort of forgot about what was happening until we ended up in a crew house eating leftover Chinese food and watching re-runs of CSI We may have gone surfing earlier that day, too. Business as usual.

It almost makes one consider being a Jehovah's Witness simply to have a valid excuse to forget and forego all the Fall and Winter season holidays. But then there's the having to do the door-to-door salesperson thing that JW folks do, and sales isn't something that appeals to me in my free time.

This year I am going to try to be more ambitious with holiday preparations. I won't be taking queues from the weather...but I am gung-ho about getting this house into the holiday spirit this year. No take-out.

**********

In other news, we are finally picking up on Pidgin, local languages, and the local dialect. Sometimes we get little reminders not to say one haole word or another. For instance, the other day my yoga instructor was at our house with her five-year-old daughter. They were feeling a little nervous around the dog (some folks just aren't natural dog people) so I said I would put her on the porch for a few minutes until they were more comfortable. The little girl said, "Mama, what is a PORCH!?" Her mom said, "She means lana'i, sweetheart." Suddenly it all made sense to the little girl, and her eyes lit up when she realized she just learned a new word. 

Here are some words that have worked into our daily vernacular (and don't even sound too ridiculous coming from us anymore):

  • [Mainland] Trash/Garbage = [Hawai'i] Rubbish 
    • "It's your turn to take out the rubbish."
  • Caucasian/tourist = Haole (Not used derogatorily as often as some think)
    • "Was the guy in the news haole or local?"
  • Unwanted transplant who thinks he is local but isn't = Donkey
    • "He thinks those waves are his territory, but he's not even from here, just a donkey."
  • Ample/lots/plenty/many = Choke
    • "Do you want something to drink? We have choke beers in the fridge."
  • Love/courtesy/hospitality = Aloha
    • "What a nice lady, she has a lot of aloha."
  • How are you?/What's up? = Howzit?
    • "Hey, Ike, been a while, howzit?"
  • Child/kid/baby = Keiki
    • "What a cute little keiki! How old is he?"
  • Porch/deck/patio = Lana'i 
    • "Let's eat on the lana'i tonight so we don't miss the sunset."
  • Flip flops/sandals = Slippers
    • "I wear my slippers to the beach, but take them off before I swim I don't ruin them."
  • Snacks/starters/appetizers = Pupus
    • "Should we order some pupus first?"
  • Pee = Shishi
    • "Whose turn is it to take the dog out to shishi?"

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sticking With It

There is this really intense yoga class at the gym Isaac and I are members of. Isaac never had much interest in yoga before. I liked yoga...the very easy, simple yoga I did mostly by myself.

But one day, Isaac peeked into the yoga studio at our gym while a class was taking place, and saw the yoga instructor causing people to sweat and breathe hard. She's got this intensely strong energy about her...and she loves pushing people through challenges.

He was intrigued. He finished his own workout then talked to her at the end of class. He then proceeded to beg me to attend this class. I sort of shut him out after "and she has people doing all these push-ups..."

Push ups? Me? Ok, I could hardly open a jar of pickles by myself at this point, or carry more than a few bags of groceries at a time. Push-ups? Not my thing. I've always been an endurance runner. I've always been comfortable with that accomplishment. My upper body was weak and lazy and I was OK keeping it that way.

But Isaac REALLY wanted to go to this class, and he really did not want to go alone. So I caved. And I suffered. Forget the push-ups, she wanted me to hold a downward dog pose for how long?!

Not to mention she had the class bending and twisting and binding in ways I never thought a human body capable of. She and half the class seemed like they were cast members of Cirque du Soleil. I was not fitting in well.

I didn't want to go back, but Isaac pushed me to go a few more times. And soon I was going to classes of three different instructors at least once a day, pushing myself until I gained some upper body strength and a new level of endurance. I started off not being able to touch my toes, now I can rest my forehead on my shin. Some of the poses that hurt and challenged me two months ago feel like resting poses now.

Certain poses that required major upper body strength were out of the question for me when I began. Now, I'm one of the few people in some of these classes who can do some of these things. And I love that. My slightly competitive side is benefiting me in what is supposed to be a very non-competitive environment. [I guess I was destined to be a Schaefer].

Running was once the only thing I could stick with. Easy: one foot in front of the other for as long as I want, or as long as I can go. A cinch. Now, after getting over my yoga hump and getting to love the challenge, running has become kind of boring to me. [It's ok running, you were my first love and will always have a place in my heart].

I am lucky to have a husband who pushes me through challenges. I am eager to see what meditative and physical doors pursuing yoga opens up for me. Certain areas of my body have a long way to go, but I'm finally willing to put in the work to meet my goals.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is my blog a little dog-obsessed?

That would make sense. I love dogs, I have always loved dogs, we got a new dog...and this time I am armed with so much excellent information and so many training tools I didn't have before.

When we were living in Chinle, AZ on the reservation, several of my friends there were buzzing about this book, The Other End of the Leash. I don't know why I didn't buy it then. Most of them had wonderfully trained dogs. Some of them had even adopted dogs with mysterious backgrounds, who came to them with issues that could have spiraled into aggression, or problems like what I think must have been fear or anxiety. Those dogs were lucky; blessed with adoptive parents who cared enough to soak in excellent information and provide a well disciplined home, a loving family, and a healthy exercise regimen. As a result, my friends had well balanced, loving family dogs.

Seeing what excellent dog owners my friends were, I should have listened to that buzz and picked up that book right away. I don't know why I didn't take heed sooner. Perhaps I thought I was good enough a dog owner already? After all, Dax was the apple of my eye. And despite some of his quirks, I had a hard time seeing fault in him (or myself and my own training background for that matter).

What I have learned recently from honing certain skills I have (like yoga, for instance; or cooking) is that pride never made anyone better at anything; and prideful people certainly do not get close to being perfect in whatever they're holding their nose in the air about.

The book made me realize I needed some healthy criticism in my knowledge about dog behavior, dog body language, and my own behavior and body language. Criticism is one of those very wonderful tools that, if taken in and worked with, can mold a fairly decent person in their skill into a nearly perfect [or fully perfect!] person in their skill.

And this book has helped us take a dog with many of the same personality quirks as Dax, and turn out a well trained, extremely friendly, extremely calm, smartly submissive dog who relishes the company of other dogs, people and children. She comes to every command. And, with the exception of an interaction with an unfortunately aggressive dog who wound her up for a good day afterward; she has minded every manner she has been taught!

I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone with a dog. The stories in it are heart-warming. It has such empowering information in it---all scientifically research-based---about dog body language, dog's interpretation of our body language, and general living-in-harmony with dogs by not confusing them anymore with our very human way of thinking inside our very human-shaped box.

If you've ever owned a dog and wondered how it could have been a better dog; if you have one now and just want to understand your best friend a little better; if you think you may adopt a dog in the future: get this book!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dog Days

It's been so hot here lately! I know, I know. We live in Hawai'i, hot should be expected. (And I can't complain too much; we get perfect beach weather and water every day of the year).

Actually, the temperature is typically between 75-80 ish. The past several days it's been in the 90's. Even up on the volcano, at a higher altitude, the heat sticks in the air at night and makes it difficult to sleep without waking up in sweaty jammies. Whew! I am all for protecting the environment, but having an air conditioner would be a nice luxury on days like these.

Honey has been getting super hot too. She'll pant so hard after a game of catch that she comes in with a purple tongue. She loves these days, though, because it means that her food dish gets constantly replenished with ice cubes for her to enjoy between meals.

What I wouldn't give to enjoy a few cool, crisp Fall days on the mainland.

I also miss Fall foods. And all the Fall recipes I used to enjoy making and eating so much. Baking is not an enjoyable hobby in this heat...I will need to invent some seasonal dishes that use beloved ingredients like Pumpkin and spices without turning on the stove or oven. Hmmm...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Everyone loves a water dog

Right? I love seeing a dog who is confident in the water. Honey seems to know when she's at her limit. She doesn't go in for deep swims when she is already exhausted. But she gets hot easily, and has figured out the easiest way to cool off and enjoy the water without wearing herself out.

(Excuse the low quality of photos in these last few posts. Pictures have been taken with either my or Isaac's phone).


"Pleeeaaaase throw the ball!"

"Awww riiiight. I got ma' ball!"

Life is rough for this dog.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Public

I made the blog public again. Friends kept saying, "Have you updated your blog? I never see it in my feed anymore." They couldn't see it because it was private, and you have to go directly TO a private blog to see it, and that's just too much trouble for some folks.

I figure that since I have left facebook and cut off web communication with anyone at work, it's probably safe to be public again.

--Nat

P.S. That is why you might see like, a thousand blogs in your feed all at one time. I am very sorry. I wish I knew a way around that.

Four stages of of cute


I love both Dax and Honey. Since Dax has been adopted out to my dad (for both their sakes), I focus most of my attention and adoration on Honey these days.

She is a whipper snapper. I love when she sleeps. Not just because I can relax and shower and not have to worry about getting her little puppy bladder out to the yard every hour (just in case), but because she tends to have a few different positions she goes into as a routine when she sleeps, and it's pretty darn cute.

Stage One
After finally giving up on trying to engage everything around her in a game of some sort, she tends to flop down on her tummy, wherever she is, and *harumph* straight into a nap.



Stage Two
By stage two she is starting to wiggle her toes and twitch her nose around; she's getting into a more natural position and dreaming of wonderful things like mongoose poop and tennis balls.


Stage Three
I think she likes us. Soon after she starts to dream she will subconsciously wiggle up to the nearest warm body and stay there. If we're not nearby, she will wake up, get up, and come lie next to us.


Stage Four
The "bask in the comfort of my environment" pose.


Finally, this one isn't a pose, I just think it's really cute when dogs stick out the tip of their tongue while they sleep.



Sunday, October 10, 2010

Destruction (Photos!)


Honey was released from the doctor today. She's cheerful, playful and tail wagging. If it wasn't for the shaved spot where her IV was, and the fact that she spent her first 2 hours home peeing every 2 minutes (from all the IV fluid, I would guess), you'd have no idea she tried to do herself in with bird seed.

When she was sick, she got sick all over her bed. I removed the cover so I could replace it. Which, I suppose, made shredding the pillow inside that much easier while I was at work tonight:


From my camera phone. The remains of what used to be Honey's dog bed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Doggy Bird Seed Bender

*Yucky details in this entry*

I haven't slept in 40 hours. Despite feeling completely drained, I know I won't fall asleep until I have emptied my head and let myself unwind.

Yesterday, after an already very long day behind me, I came home late from work (about 10). Honey (the dog) had only been home alone for about 5 hours. On previous occasions when she was home alone, she did very well. No major messes, nothing chewed up, no in-house accidents.

This time I noticed she had emptied her basket of toys which were everywhere. Which is OK, they are her toys, after all; and we haven't given her many so it took all of 15 seconds to put them back.

Then, I noticed, on our screened in lana'i, she had somehow jumped up to a 5.5 foot shelf and pulled off the sack of bird seed we keep to re-fill the bird feeder in our yard. Bird seed was scattered everywhere, though not as much as should have been given the size of the bag. In other words, she ate approximately 1.5 lbs of seed. She went on a bird seed bender!

This was all very educational for me. First, I had no idea that my dog was so agile and gravity-defying. The shelf is a wall shelf, bolted to the wall, nothing under or next to it to climb. Second, I had no idea a dog could eat so much bird seed; or that any dog would want to.

Dax knows when something is bad for him; and he rarely eats people food. He just does not like it. He is a naturally healthy decision maker.

Apparently not all dogs are like that.

Anyway, her activity level was still WAY up and she was happy to see me, so I thought nothing of it.

Until she got really fidgety around 11 am, and kept having to go out to go potty. Which kept me up because I have to escort her out at night so she doesn't lick a Cane toad (whole other story). This happened about every 15 minutes. I thought I could ignore her once and try to sleep, since I know she has the bladder control, but she could not hold it.

Then, around 2 am, she started getting fiercely sick. She was hot and vomity and well...I will spare details. I called the emergency vet at about 4am. He said if she got lethargic to bring her in ASAP, otherwise, bring her in around 6 or 7 am and they would start testing.

So I brought her in this morning.

Turns out, bird seed can go bad. Really bad. And with her size (30 lbs) and the amount she ate (2lbs) it impacts the small intestine in a really nasty way. It also ferments with germs and fungus and does all sorts of damage in there. The vet was glad I brought her in this morning, since she needed to be put on an IV and be admitted for monitoring. She's had several enemas today, and hasn't been off the IV yet. She has to stay overnight for more monitoring. (I, in the meantime, spent the day scrubbing and sterilizing my home, making it aromatic again, and buying and installing baby-proofing tools everywhere I felt necessary).

Who knew bird seed could be so potentially dangerous.

She might get to come home tomorrow if she "passes" a series of more tests. Otherwise, she'll stay another day, and possibly undergo slightly more invasive methods to clear out her tummy.

I am sad for my puppy, I really hope she is fully recovered so I can bring her home tomorrow. The only obstacle is that the IronMan triathlon is going on, and the highway I have to drive across to get to the vet's will be barricaded off for the safety of the athletes, and will not be open again until the evening of the 10th.

Trying to figure out that one hiccup has been preventing me from dropping straight into bed...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New things can be scary

I have taken for granted how scary or unexpected something can be when it's brand new to you. Honey, the new dog, has made me appreciate this again. Having been a stray whom we think never knew a home before, she spent the first 9-ish months of her life basically as a wild dog. There are several things in our home which have scared her; and every time I think she's fully acquainted, something else sets her off.

1. Stairs. The only way to get in our home is via stairs. When we got to our house from the shelter, we assumed she would follow us normally into the house. There was a pull. She stopped. She had no idea how to get her front feet up and make her back feet follow. We got her started and she just about stumbled back down, completely frightened. A few days later, after some coaching and placing treats on each step, she got the hang of it.

2. Soft surfaces (couches, beds, pillows, etc). The first time Isaac invited her onto the sofa to sit by him, she was extremely uncomfortable and skeptical. We let her stay in bed with us the first night because she wanted to be near us, but she had a hard time sleeping that first time. She tossed and turned. Now, she begs for a nap in bed every day around 10 or 11 am.

3. Mirrors and window reflections. This was especially funny to watch. We know not to baby or pander a dog when it's frightened because it fosters those feelings of fear and anxiety. So we watched amusedly. We have a big mirror door in our office to the office closet. The first time she followed us in there, her hackles went up and she began to growl and bark, and pace back and forth in front of the mirror, occasionally going in for a warning nip to "that other dog." She then started to try to outsmart the dog by slowly turning her head and walking away, then quickly snapping back at it...then would whimper because (we assume) she saw that the other dog was just as fast and sly as her! She still barks any time she sees her own reflection in a glass door or window at night, but she's becoming more and more friendly with her mirror reflection.

4. Remote controls and other similarly shaped electronics. This one seems a little more random than the rest. She seems to be OK with other small objects for the most part. But when we use the remote or point it at the TV, she runs to the other side of the room and barks excitedly. We've managed to get her to calm down quite a bit, but she still refuses to be near one.

5. Anything that squeaks. Dax also hated squeaky toys. But Honey will bolt in the other direction with her tail between her legs if we offer her squeaky toy to her and it squeaks. She's so afraid of it now that she won't even go near it if it's not squeaking.

6. Window blinds.  I think she may have survived off bugs before she was rescued. She chases them around our house and catches them every time she sets out to get one. But one went behind the blinds and she couldn't figure out how to get to it. In the spirit of being helpful, I pulled the blinds up. She did a backflip off the sofa, onto the floor, then scrambled into the corner, tail down, hackles up, and started barking and whimpering.

Those events aside, she is becoming more and more adjusted every time she sees something new. Our vet suggested introducing her to something new and unusual every few days with treats so she can acclimate and get adjusted; it's a suggestion that has been working really well. Honey is starting to feel more and more at home. We start obedience training class next week, and once that is done, she gets to start agility training! We're hoping we can do more things right and less things wrong than we did with Dax, for an especially balanced, happy, and friendly dog.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Evolving

I don't know what it is about being married that suddenly makes me feel that I am changing so much as a person, and that my surroundings are changing too...or maybe that is just my perspective.

As much as Isaac and I got to improving the art of communication before our wedding, we're getting even better at it now. I think that part of that is the mentality that we are officially bound to each other for life, so we better get started on making that life easy on ourselves and each other!

I think we have both also gotten into the mentality that in order to take truly good care of each other, we need to take good care of ourselves first. We've really been fostering wellness in ourselves, each other, and our marriage. Never in a million years did I think my husband would take up yoga, but we're both really into it now...going to classes six days a week and even having a private instructor come over and work with us another two days a week. I think the yoga lifestyle is starting to reach out into every part of our routine.

Along those lines, I've become one of those people who treats sugar like the devil. I don't want it in my house, in my food, or on my mind. It has never really been a secret that sugar and sugary foods do damage to the human body; but I've been seeing that damage in action with people I know, and have been reading more and more about it. I crave it less and less.

Isaac has been fostering my need to be creative and meditative, and has also been feeling more drawn to home and time together. I think the first year-ish of his big plate full of chief pilot duties kept him away long enough that the importance of a home life sunk in. Having Honey in our home makes everything feel more whole as well; and we're really beginning to feel more like a family unit than simply a couple.

All of this growing wellness in our heads, souls, and bodies has been so nurturing for us. I am finding myself more attracted to my husband, and more relaxed with myself. I hope we are both able to continue to foster all this good energy and watch it grow. He is away for two weeks on the mainland right now; so it will take some work and testing to see how well we can both continue to foster these positive improvements while we are apart. I miss him already and am really looking forward to him being home.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Beach Dog

We have on our hands a beach dog! An ocean-loving, wave-riding, sand-sprinting little beach dog. Her stitches have finally dissolved after being spayed, so we can take her into the water now. Not that we have to pressure her into it. Once she hears the waves, there's no stopping her from running straight in and riding the waves back.

This time, we brought her other obsession: a ball. Throwing a ball into the waves for her to fetch seemed to provide her with pure joy.



She also loves sea turtles...from a distance. When she sees their heads bobbing on the surface (as we always do at this particular beach), she swims right up to them, thinking they are a ball. But as soon as she gets close enough to see that they are about 170 lbs bigger than she is, she tries swimming backwards and turns around quickly. It's clear that she loves the water but is terrified of sea creatures.

We're pretty happy to have a beach babe. What a perfect little Poi dog she is!




Sunday, September 19, 2010

What the Stork Found...



A little stork found a cute little girl. She was alone, skinny, and bony in a park. Just about starving to death. He took her to a shelter, where we saw her in her stall and thought we'd take her on a walk. We had been visiting frequently and taking various dogs out for exercise. We had no idea we'd end up loving her so instantly.


The walk turned into instant love. We were smitten.



Meet Honey. We cycled through lots of names to which she didn't respond, cute though they were. (Amongst them: Gidget, Peanut, Luna...). When we gave up, we affectionately started calling her "honey" (lower case "h"). But, sticky as honey is, it stuck and is now Honey. Which fits, as she is a very sweet girl.

She loves to cuddle, and thinks that the ball is the greatest invention of all time. She already knows how to play fetch and bring the ball back, and is getting very high marks in house training. She was once a homeless, stray Poi dog (like the rez dog version of Hawaii). The first time she saw her reflection, she couldn't stop growling and barking at the mysterious pup she was looking at. She is about a year old, and still learning how to climb and descend stairs.

We are told she LOVES the water, but can't find out until the 24th, when her spaying stitches are healed. We've got a fun beach day planned for her!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Biggest Change of All!

Even though Isaac has been begging for months that I stop using facebook so often, the level of importance it held to him didn't click until recently.

I need not go into the series of events and conversations that led to my realizing that I had a problem [hi, my name is Natalie and I spend too much time on facebook...], but suffice it to say, it finally hit me. A little bit like a ton of bricks.

So I left facebook. Or, I deleted my account. Did and done! Isaac put my name on his account simply so that I can log in and see photo albums once in a blue moon that our sisters post of our nieces and nephews (since they rarely e-mail them). But that's it!

I am facebook free! 2 days and counting. I hope to discover a myriad of healthy and beneficial changes in my life as a result.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Toasts

My favorite part of our wedding was the toasts. I have been trying my very hardest to remember them as well as I can; so that I can reminisce about them later. Needless to say, this entry is more for my benefit than for the benefit of anyone who may actually read this blog.

All of these are paraphrased (obviously, darn blasted non-photographic memory).


Bonnie: My sister's was great. She talked about how, as a young' un, I was always on the out-look for adventure. She talked about how I'd always get into trouble for climbing up to high places (counter tops, trees, random semi-perilous structures) and how after being berated for it, I would always say, "It's ok. I'm an EXPERT climber!" She then went into how Isaac and I started our relationship off rock-climbing, camping, back-backing, kayaking, and mountain-climbing. [I suppose we are a dirt-under-your-nails kind of couple, aren't we?]. She then wished us a lifetime of adventure and, "as many children and as much happiness as me and Ben!" *clink*

John: Kept his short and sweet, and congratulatory. Just like Isaac's was for his. :-)

Peter: Talked shortly about his first memories of me and Isaac when he met me, and how he knew that Isaac "chose the right guy." I love Pete.

Alicia: Started to cry almost right away, to which a Schaefer relative from the peanut gallery shouted, "It's ok, you're a Schaefer!" [Schaefers are notorious for wearing their hearts on their sleeves during such occasions]. She talked about how, when Isaac decided to become a pilot, they were all a little scared. Not only because of the danger of being a pilot, but because pilots move and uproot themselves so often, they knew it would be hard for him to make himself at home and to meet someone who could do that for him. She said that she knew I was the right girl when I called one day, and said I knew Isaac had been having a hard week, and could she please give me the recipe for his favorite dessert so I could have it ready when he came home. It was a sweet toast. I think we all got a little misty.

Madeline: Also started to tear up right away, saying immediately "Hi everyone. Well, I'm a Schaefer too...." She spoke about how whenever anyone told her how much she reminded them of Isaac, she thought it was the best compliment in the world, and her favorite compliment to receive because she looks up to Isaac so much; and has always loved that they have so much in common. She said that she has always been extremely selective of the people she surrounds herself with and keeps few friends; but that she and I bonded quickly and even if she had met me outside of my relationship to her brother, we'd still form a close friendship. She said she was glad that Isaac met someone who fit so well with his family, and toasted our love and our friendship. (We all cried)

Karl: Karl spoke about how when Isaac was a tot, he LOVED to prank people. His favorite thing was to hide out and make people worry and then hop out and scare them (or in some instances just make them mad). Then he fast-forwarded a ways. And talked about how when Isaac met me, he kept me a secret for a really long time. They didn't know he'd been dating me for a few months until he canceled a family dinner with them one night to get to take me out. Something uncharacteristic. They all got a little curious about who that girl was. A few months after that, Karl received a phone call from Isaac about that girl he'd been dating. He invited her on a date, and she (that's me) was supposed to meet him at his house first. He told her he'd be busy upstairs getting ready, but she could let herself in. [Switching to first-person for a bit here for the sake of my mental sanity]. I knocked once. No answer. I tried the door. Locked. All the while, Isaac was hiding behind a curtain giggling at how clever he was. I walked away, thinking it was pretty rude to blow a girl off like that after making me drive all that way. Nobody had ever done that to him before. (He is a catch, after all). He called his dad, not sure of what to do. His dad's first thought: "This girl has got some spunk! She might be just the thing he needs!" Then told Isaac that if he really was serious about me, a phone call wouldn't be enough and he had better make the trip to my house to explain himself. Ah, history...

Catherine (and I can't remember if this was at our wedding or rehearsal dinner): said that when Isaac was a little guy, he loved to run around. In fact, he NEEDED exercise in order to be well behaved and relaxed. She said that when he was little, they would always joke that he had better write exercise into his marriage contract. And when I started training for the Portland Marathon, she had a good feeling we were well-matched.

Grandpa Pete: Funny, sweet, and charming as always. One of my favorite wedding photos is of him toasting us. (To come later...when I have a copy of my own to share).

My dad: a toast not only to us, but to the US Marine Corps. I should ask him for a copy of it. It might need to go into a post all its own. :-) The thing I remember the most from it was, "Well, my wife told me not to recite this one. But I took that as a challenge, so here goes..."

All photos Copyright of Sarah Tunstall

Saturday, August 21, 2010

5 Things we didn't get photos of (or that photos couldn't do justice)

Another wedding blog!

Things we couldn't get photos of, or that photos didn't or couldn't have done justice anyway:

1. The arch built by Isaac and his best man. I don't mean the one we stood under, I mean the first one they made. An engineered spectacle of bent and snapped bamboo and about a roll and a half of duct tape. It did not pass the Schaefer Wedding Standard. The arch that took 3 hours (and, I repeat, a roll and a half of duct tape) was quickly replaced by a beautiful square-shaped arch held together with beautiful twine. The one we actually got married under (and that was completed in about half an hour) is pictured here in the background (another thing of which we didn't think to take many pictures of). I am so proud of Isaac and his buds for it, because after all the hard work (and frustration on their part, I'm sure) it was beautiful:


2. The tuxes. Ok, well the tuxes that we spent several weeks deciding on, picking the right place to rent form, and finally getting sized for and renting. We went to Men's Wearhouse (a place whose business we are not likely to be patrons of again). We had ordered heather grey 3-button tuxes. When Isaac went to pick them up, 6 hours before the ceremony: they were black (or navy blue, we can't fully decide) 1-button tuxes. This is one time when I will say GOD BLESS Isaac's half-Irish temper. They ended up with free tuxes...even if they weren't the ones he had really wanted he and his groomsmen to wear. SIDE NOTE: So glad Isaac was ok with it in the end. He could make a brown paper bag look sexy.

Photograph by Sarah Tunstall



3. Our place cards. Suffice it to say, the package arrived, but was quickly lost and forgotten because it was signed for by someone who was neither a part of the family, or whom had a good memory. I spent a couple hundred buckaroos on those babies. But even better: the time and hard work put in by my sister in law, mama in law, and several farm school girls, who cut out all 160 little airplanes and hand-wrote the names on themselves. I don't deserve that kind of labor and attention to detail, but it sure felt special. (Can you spot the airplane hanging off the wine glass??)

Photograph by Sarah Tunstall



4. Champagne toasts. Because we have pictures of the toasts...just not of the 4 cases of champagne we purchased or all the champagne glasses we paid for. Whoops! Good news: we got a return on the champagne (and nobody complained about it missing). 

4b. Pictures of Isaac and his best man trying to get the money's worth out of the undrunk champagne after everyone went home. About 2 (shared with others) bottles in, they admitted defeat. He is an adorable tipsy man, by the way.

5. Our photographers. Because both of our photographers (Sarah Tunstall and John Givot) are two of me and Isaac's nearest and most-loved friends. I have one or two photos of them that were shot either by the other photographer or by other friends (god bless 'em). On the uphand: Sarah and John were both extremely attentive to detail and about as wonderful and artistic as we could have dreamed of our two dear friends being for a wedding.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The REAL Wedding Week Sneak Peek!

Ok, so I'll post a few pictures and anecdotes about the wedding. Not all of the (wonderful) photographer's pictures are up yet, but here's a few to start...


Dax managed to make it into our ceremony. I was really glad he could be a part of the big day. I haven't seen any of the actual ceremony photographs yet, but I am curious to see if and how he was captured during the ceremony.

Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner:


 

Here were are, rehearsing the process, practicing the act of getting married. 


 

Isaac's parents, Catherine and Karl, at the rehearsal.



I like this sneaky little peek, she caught my parents holding hands. So cute.



At the dinner, there were many funny (and a few slightly embarrassing) stories told about me and Isaac. Here is Catherine telling a story about Isaac when he was just a toddler. Very animated!


 

All the stories held everyone captivated and provided a lot of fun and laughter (in case you couldn't tell by all the laughing going on).

Finally, I will close with one bridal portrait. There will be more pictures and stories to come!



All photographs are copyrighted and are the property of Sarah Tunstall of Sarah Tunstall Photography. 
www.sarahtunstallphotography.com



Friday, August 6, 2010

Post Wedding Wind-Down

The wedding was great! There were just a few glitches, but mostly lots of wonderful memories, and it went by so quickly! Pictures will be up SOON! There are already some on facebook, and the photographer has been posting one or two sneak peeks on my facebook a day... I just want to make sure I get her permission to post them here before I go ahead and do so.

So many great people came, and lots of friends were missed, but there in spirit. I was oddly relaxed. Dax got out of the Hops Barn, in which he was locked up, and walked down the aisle with me (but not before walking across the back of my train with muddy paws. Oddly enough, it was more funny and memorable than irritating).

Isaac's dad was our officiant AND our caterer. The food was great! We didn't know what we would be able to serve until a few days before. The rainy season lasted so long and then it got so hot, that the best produce wasn't what we thought it would be. Still, we had: Salmon with Beurre Blanc sauce, ratatouille, and wild rice with onions and hazelnuts.

The cake was my favorite: lemon cake with lemon curd and freshly picked raspberry filling. I want the recipe. I've been craving it daily since!

The band was great! I got more compliments on the music than anything else. Everyone wants to hire them, and the family is thinking of asking them to play for a family reunion next summer. ahhh...bluegrass!

The wine went quickly: St. Josef's wine. Glad I went there. I just stopped in for a tasting the week before and loved it so much I bought several cases for the wedding. Goooood stuff.

Isaac and I danced and laughed all night. He got pret-ty drunk and fell asleep in his tux. Good times. We went to our hotel suite the next night and got to unwind and eat and sleep off our hangovers.

My favorite part of ALL were all the toasts given by family. They were all laced with memories, humor and sweet wishes.

That's all for now. Pictures in a week or so!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tourists Vs. Travelers

After a conversation with several co-workers today, we realized that there are only two kinds of people who come to Hawaii. It's very easy to tell who belongs to which group...
Tourists:

A tourist never thinks he's a tourist. A tourist thinks he is directly related to God. A tourist sees any place he goes to visit as his play ground. The place he has chosen to visit is strictly his playground, and anything more is an abomination to him.

He will seclude himself to only a few comfortable areas, and cannot be bothered to explore anything outside of his direct comfort zone.

Since the tourist sees his destination as something that exists purely for his amusement, he has no respect for the time of anyone else (even other tourists), the feelings of anyone else, the cleanliness of anyone's space or property, or the fact that he is an outsider in another person's home.

Now, this means that a tourist will only really encounter people in some kind of "service" industry. And those people, to him, no matter how he encounters them, exist to serve him. If a tourist encountered me (a stranger) in public, and asked me a question for which I did not provide an appropriate answer, I'd probably get lots of expletives and the finger.

Then there are Travelers. I love Travelers:

The Traveler is a person with a true love for life. The traveler wants to really experience every drop of the world around him that he can fit into a single lifetime. The traveler sees every person he encounters, whether in the service industry or not, as a fellow brother in his global family. He treats just about everyone that way, too. When it comes to really experiencing a new culture, he is in it to win it.

The traveler doesn't care how dirty he gets, how messy his burger is, or whether or not he and his wife have matching aloha shirts on. He will never be rude at dinner, and will try any of the local fare offered to him, no matter how odd looking or smelly. He sees brush-ups with danger as an exhilarating opportunity that will give him great stories to tell his kids.

A traveler, though usually less financially endowed than a tourist, doesn't act like a cheap jerk. He doesn't complain about the price of rental gear, food, or transportation. He doesn't try to get freebies. He's just in it for the ride, and if he can afford the tools to enhance his experience, he probably won't think twice about it.

The traveler knows no strangers, and makes friends with just about everyone he encounters.

Friday, June 11, 2010

When Vog Changes Things

There are many things I love about kona. One, I love that EVERYONE pulls over for emergency vehicles. Aloha spirit is a team effort thing: if someone needs help everyone helps by not slowing things down.

Things I don't like: vog, vog, and vog.

When I get up for an AM shift, before the wind pulls he sulfur gas over here. Kona is beautiful. A big mountain covered in green, up against an open seascape. You can see every kind of tropical bird or plant. Truly lovely. But around 11 am the vog rolls in. Sometimes so thick it looks like a storm cloud hellbent on blocking out the sun (but trapping in heat). It changes Kona from a lush island to a fairly dark grey hill with almost no visibility.

Then, come 6 pm, it's beautiful again.

Now, it's not always like that. Some days it's clear round the clock. And sometimes it rolls in while we are sleeping.

The worst change it has made is to my health. Constant sore throat, shortness of breath, coughing stuff out.

Now. It started to spew from the volcano randomly. In the 80's. It could possibly stop all together one day.

The whole vog issue may change our minds about going through with buying a home in kona right now. On the downside, if a doctor can't help me, we'd be committed to living somewhere bad for my health. On the upside, if the vog decided to quit it's nastiness one day, I would be happy and healthy AND my home will triple in value.

Decisions decisions...

Guess it's a moot point for now til we hear from our #1, which is a short sale.

--Nat

P.S.short sale is real estate jargon for "half of all eternity."

Monday, May 31, 2010

Privacy and an update for friends

Something about having no privacy for several months can make a person re-evaluate the true value of privacy. Which is why this blog went incognito for a while, and is now by invitation only. While I want to keep everyone updated, I don't want to keep everyone updated.  So, these blog updates will be for family and close friends from now on. I'm pretty sure if you got the invite once, you can access it any time. This blog cannot be viewed by anyone not personally invited to view it.

Housing:

We've been living in company housing for several months, as finding a rental has been strangely impossible while we house hunt. Isaac's company charges us a rental rate that is very fair, but it is strange having no privacy. We have to moderate strange things, like how much space in the fridge we use, what time we use the stove to make supper, or how loud we talk at night.

The up-side is that I get a chance to actually meet some of the people I'd otherwise only hear about. The downside is that, at least on my end, it's difficult to relax, unwind, or rest. I will welcome a day of lounging in my jammies with no make-up on during a day off once we're out of here.

Home:

We are considering buying a house. I say considering because, even though we've made offers, and have  gotten several steps into the process, the sticker shock has us on the fence a little bit. Sticker shock is what it is. In a few weeks, at least, I'm sure I'll be able to say for certain whether we'll be renting a place or will have taken the plunge into home ownership. I, for one, love the whole concept of taking a piece of property and customizing it!

Work:

While I am not the right horse from whose mouth can speak details about Ike's job, I can say that he's been going nonstop for months (at least). We're checking into a resort for one night on Tuesday, and I'm hoping he can have his phone turned off so that he can fully relax. Lazing around by the pool and beach for a night would be a good way to recharge the batteries. Privacy alone would be rejuvenating!

I, too, work full time now. I work some 12 and 13-hour days. I'm working for a rental car agency. I work in sales and upgrades. I work mostly with Japanese tourists, and my Japanese is (to my surprise) actually coming along pretty well! In terms of my language skills, I can complete a transaction including all coverages, fuel options, upgrades, traffic violations, driving laws, and navigation! As well as numbers. Most of the time I can count to ten without messing up. I can even read the Kanji-written Japanese driver's licenses. But...only because I know exactly which numbers and characters to look for.

I had an altercation with another co-worker recently. A very territorial older Hawaiian woman. Who grabbed me and shoved me aside for reaching for a piece of paper (company property) that was "in her space." She is currently on a long suspension and may be permanently terminated for "exhibiting violence in the workplace" or some such thing. My managers are not allowed to tell me more than that. I was so shocked and embarrassed by her behavior that (being me, of course) I had to clock out for several hours just to stop crying enough to be able to work normally. I can feel my face turning hot red with embarrassment just talking about it.

Now, since we are short an employee, I've been covering several shifts a day some days. I never go home on time, and there is rarely a day that I have enough time to clock out for lunch or dinner. I rarely get days off, either. Though I do have today and tomorrow off. I hardly know what to do with myself! (Wait. Yes I do. Laundry. Lots and lots of laundry).

It's not necessarily a complaint though. Now that I have something besides house work to fill my time with, and don't have to find projects to keep me mentally occupied, time goes by much more quickly. I also have something of a confidence booster knowing that I can pick up the lunch tab once in a while. :-)

Wedding:

The wedding is now 8 weeks away! The bridesmaids have received their dresses. My sister sent me a picture, and upon seeing the picture, I am very very excited about them. I love the color and I LOVE that they can be worn 14 different ways, so the sisters can wear them however they want. Freedom of choice! Whoo!

My dress has 5-6 more fittings to go and is coming along nicely. I'm both excited and a little nervous about having so many eyes on me. Not at all nervous about the marriage part. I could do that over lunch in a courtroom with no regrets, to be honest. Getting RSVPs back from friends has been very encouraging. So many people that I love and can't wait to see who are traveling so far to be there for us. Gosh, I can't wait to see everyone. It's going to be so much fun!

So. There's the update. Long. Probably won't get another day off or time to update for quite a while.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Paper

Tomorrow, I get paper in the mail.

Blank, plain paper with nothing printed on it. Absolutely nothing.

And I am ecstatic!

Never in my life have I been so excited about paper!!

It took several weeks of exploring both this island and Maui in search of paper that would be practical for the printing of our wedding invitations. In a down economy, most places that would typically supply paper had liquidated their supplies. And once you liquidate a supply of anything on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, there's a good chance it isn't going to show up on shelves any time soon.

(Side note, that scared me into realizing that if anything catastrophic happened on the mainland, those of us in Hawaii would just be rationing things like food, medicine, and water until we ran out).

But! I found what I needed online. And dag gummit, UPS says it's going to get here on time and everything!

Which takes a weight off my shoulders and makes me feel so, so happy.

Ah, the simple things.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Crunch Time!

To all:

You may find that you get your paper invites a little late. I'm doing the best I can. Paper is in short supply on the island so I am patiently waiting for it to be shipped from Lord-knows-where, Mainland, USA.

But, once I get the ball rolling, they'll hopefully be sent with ample time for some RSVP action.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Java Effect

I once knew a girl who worked at Starbucks. She worked there for years. She said her favorite thing about it was working the drive-through window, and this is why: Once in a while, someone would come along who decided to spread some love. For no apparent reason, they would pay in advance for the coffees for the car behind them. The person who just got free coffee from a drive-through stranger would, being so pleasantly surprised, then pay for the coffees of the car behind them. According  to this Starbucks employee, this pattern would continue for an average of 2 hours, or until there was a gap in the car line.

I think that there is a vibe similar to that Starbucks drive-through going on on this island. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has been cheerful, helpful and has gone out of their way to spread the love.

Every single person we've encountered has been friendly, welcoming, and warm. Without exception. I wish I could pay them all tribute here, but my memory isn't so good with that sort of thing.

The people who run the ship yard jumped our moving van twice today for us because it had a bad battery. They didn't have to do that. They had jobs that required them to labor in the sun all day, sweating, operating heavy machinery, with major deadlines. They weren't even working in the same area we were, they just saw that something was awry with our car and came over, already prepared with jumping cables and a toolbox.

In contrast to this, on the day the Tsunami hit while I was on Maui by myself, my car battery died in the evacuation area. When I was able to return, my car wouldn't start. Several people had jumper cables--I could see them in their truck beds!--but it took begging and pleading to get someone to take 5 minutes to help me get my car started again.

Another person who was moving things out of their container came over to help us move couches because they were too heavy for me to lift. Then Isaac helped him get his heavy things into his truck bed.

People actually let you turn out onto the highway here if there's a long line of traffic to wait for. People say "please" and "thank you" and "aloha". People invite you to cut in front of them in line at the grocery store, even if you have more stuff than they do, just because your arms are full and you look overwhelmed.

In Borders, I was looking for a book about the Big Island. I was looking with fear and trepidation, because if I had been doing something on Maui that made me come off as a tourist, well...just being a "haole" on Maui is more or less a crime worthy of punishment. But here, other locals who didn't even work in the store came over to help me pick the book they thought would be the most helpful.

In turn, I feel more patient, more inspired to practice kindness where I may normally try to be an unseen passer-by. I wonder if it's that coffee drive-through window effect. Or maybe it's something in the air. Maybe all that sulfur gas from the volcano just re-wires our brains a little bit to make us friendlier.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Very Excited

It has been a LONG day. We packed all of our belongings into a container to be put on a ship and taken over the water to Kona early this morning. Hoping we get settled fairly easily. I'm looking forward to fresh Macadamia nuts and Kona coffee. Moreover, I'm especially looking forward to being permanently based somewhere (for the first time in years) and having Isaac home every day. Woot!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Succinct

I did something long overdue. I had our website domain name changed to something less ridiculous to type in:


New domain name, same website. Will add more guest info in a week or two.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

130 to go!

130 days to go until the Schaefer-Giguere Wedding of 2010!

Actually, it will possibly be the Schaefer-Giguere Wedding of the century...or maybe even all of eternity (exciting). I wonder how many Schaefers have married Gigueres in the past. Hopefully none. I want my kids to have a deep gene pool, and inter-marrying does not normal offspring make. In case you were wondering.

At any rate, I'm doing my best to plow through the check lists. According to TheKnot (wedding guilt-monger that it is) I'm about 2 months behind on a ton of check list items. According to rational human beings who live in the rest of society however, I am ahead of the game. Who to believe?

We are looking forward to seeing so many faces that we miss and love this summer. We hope you guys bring your good vibes and par-tay attitudes. Just for you, we'll practice staying up past 10pm for the next 4 months.

For those guests who received a save-the-date (invites will be on their way soon-ish), we've been keeping the website updated with information we hope will help our out-of-town buds plan the trip easily. Head straight to the "Guest Information" section. 

Or, you could also put trip planning off until the last possible minute. Whatever suits your style.

I am hoping (but not promising) to have the rest of the guest information fully updated in a month...or so.

Click Here to visit our TheKnot website.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Aloha, Maui.

We're saying aloha [goodbye] to Maui and aloha [hello] to the Big Island this month. Another move so soon. Here's the announcement! It's official, we're setting off for bigger---and hopefully better---things. Kona or bust.

Now that everything is all caught up, maybe I'll give the blogging a rest for a while.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Out with the delicious, in with the soy

My doctor gave me a HUGE list of food do's and don'ts based on my cholesterol, accumulated iron in my blood, and my blood type.

It looks something like this:

Never eat your favorite foods again.
Ever.
Don't even think about it.

Ok, so it's not actually that rigid. But if I really want to get my cholesterol down, and keep my iron down at a "safe level" and just be a more fine-tuned machine, I really have to cut out the things on the "avoid" lists and work in more of the things on the "highly beneficial" lists.

What does this mean exactly? It means that I am more-or-less a vegan now. Not for 100% of my meals, but probably for at least 90% of them. The only kinds of cheese I can have on an "infrequent" basis are goat cheese, feta cheese, or mozarella. No more milk, cream, or butter for me. No more yummy French cheeses.

I can not eat sherbet or ice cream anymore, but I may have yogurt and frozen yogurt. 

I am not supposed to eat meat anymore. I can, on an infrequent basis, have chicken, game hen, or turkey, but I can't make it a regular habit.

I must say "goodbye" to fried foods and a list of oils and greasy frying things. I will say "hello" to more things like grapeseed oil (which is excellent for pan-frying, I just found out), and EVOO.

There is a long list of fish that I am allowed to eat (hooray!), however, I can't eat it raw (cause of the iron thing), and most of it is fresh water fish...which is not easy to come by in Hawai'i. So I may as well not get my hopes too far up about that one.

No more of some of my favorites: oysters, clams, squid, crab, or lobster.

Fear not! The list has opened my eyes up to all of these other foods in the world I have a tendency to ignore.

I have learned that attempted taste-alike soy-based "cheeses" are disgusting. If it's the flavor people go for, it would taste just as good to melt plastic over my veggie burger. Totally disgusting. I'd rather just live without cheese all together and use a slice of avocado instead.

Veggie burgers are actually delicious. As is Pad Thai with tofu. Chocolate soy milk is truly amazing, and eating more fresh vegetables and fruits is definitely making me feel better already. Getting my proteins from beans and soy and eggs. (Thank God I can still have eggs!). I love the excuse to have almonds and walnuts nearby at all times, too.

Taking lots of B-vitamins since I'll be eating much less meat.

Going to keep up with my daily workout routine. I may have to be eating double over-time to keep enough protein in my body to keep building muscle, but I guess it's all a learning process.

In 8 weeks, I will get to see if this is all working and making me more healthy! It's a big change, so I really hope there's some pay off for it.