Sunday, November 13, 2011

Head-Exploding Marriage Stuff

I have recently been on the quest to be a better wife. When I was younger, and even now, my "dream life" was always to marry the person I love, and to be not only a good wife, but a great one: one that my husband would brag about to other men. I realized that simply getting married and wanting your husband to be proud of you doesn't make that happen. Like all things, any goal worth attaining requires work and thoughtfulness.

So I called my father-in-law. Who better, right? He not only has the husband perspective, but he's spent the past 31+ years getting to know my husband. Certainly he would have a few pointers. He recommended a book. I winced. The author was by a woman I typically have great disdain for: Dr. Laura.

Before my other liberal and feminist friends react, let me say one thing: I have always believed that there is great value in hearing the other side. When two sides debate or disagree in our culture we seem to believe that the person who is the least willing to back down is the strongest, and the smartest. I disagree. I think that when one side makes a compelling point and the other side can recognize that, they are acting intelligently. They have the mental flexibility to let their belief system evolve. They may not adapt 100% to the other side's dogma, but their own way of thinking may become more valuable.

There were a lot of things in the book I had already been thinking about a lot lately, so it felt especially profound to have another woman spell them out as well.

Being bossy and mean, entitled, insecure and always looking for a reason to be angry with men does not a strong marriage make.

I was once irritated that Isaac liked to have a clean home when he came home. How dare he! Doesn't he know that a woman's "place" is not in the kitchen with a wash rag? Isn't he evolved enough to clean his own damn house?! (Granted, I always cleaned, but for a few months before we got married I always felt a little miffed about doing it).

But it turns out, that cleaning the house makes him really happy. [I learned this years ago, and it seems to be the best example to use]. Which is reason enough to do it. He works 12+ hours a day, every day of the year (his "days off" on the calendar almost always end up being spent on the phone and writing emails to stay caught up). He has an extremely high-pressure job. He comes home mentally and physically exhausted. He spends half his time each month traveling. If I were in his shoes and I asked for the house to be cleaned, and I worked such a difficult job to put a roof over his head, and he worked part time, and I came home to a messy house and a husband who was irritated that I had any at-home expectations at all, I'd be deeply hurt and angry. (Sorry, that was a long sentence with too many commas. My writing mechanics have fallen to the wayside).

That attitude of entitlement...expecting actions and things to be provided without giving what you are capable of giving in return...that is draining on a man. And, unfortunately, it's common of women. I can think of at least a handful of women I know personally who think and behave this way in their homes.

And this, I think, is where some women get confused about the feminist goal, and make feminists look really bad. Ultimately, they don't want equality with men. They just want their way. They want their jobs (or no jobs, in some cases), and successful men with jobs, and for nothing to be expected of them besides what they want from themselves, and for all the things they want to be provided to them. Which isn't equality at all. They want "girl time" with their friends, but act offended if their guy wants "time with the guys" at the bar or golf course. That's straight-up princess behavior.

Imagine if you called a feminist a spoiled princess. All hell would break loose.

But, I think the issue of entitlement has to end. Each couple is different, but in a couple, each person's needs for a balanced and happy home may not be the same. My husband likes my cooking and to have a clean house and for me to be nice to him. Small price to pay for a happy marriage, roof over my head, and food on my table. Me? I just like the things I do to be noticed, some affection, and for dirty laundry to end up in the basket. I don't care if he cleans or cooks, although I recognize how nice it is when he does.

But this very domestic balance that works for me and my husband, and frees up a lot of time for us to have fun together because we have nothing to argue about, seems to make some people very irritated. I don't understand why they waste energy being unhappy about a marriage they don't belong to.

I, however, am happy to be striking a happy balance, and to be striking it well. I am almost surprised at how much more eager Isaac is to please me when a few simple things are done each day. As long as my marriage is happy, fun, supportive and well balanced; other people can think what they want. At the end of the day, they don't share my home or my vows.

Friday, October 21, 2011

New Address!

No, we're not packing up and leaving Hawaii.

But I am starting something new.

It turns out, that within my new culinary limits, I am blossoming. I have been whipping up new concoctions every week, all on my own! And people like them! And a lot of those people keep asking me when I plan to blog those recipes.

And so, like every other person on the ole interwebs, that's what I'm doing.

The site hasn't quite launched yet. I still have a few things to purchase a REAL camera that can take quality photos, register a simple domain name, etc.. But the skeleton of the site is up.

I'll still blog about personal thoughts and goings on here. But my primary focus while I create a place to share my new recipes with the friends and family who ask for them will be here. If you have a minute, add it now. Don't miss out on the crepes, lettuce wraps, fritters, pasta dishes, garden-fresh sauces and indulgent desserts!

I'll be working on making each recipe accessible to the average kitchen, while still being completely free of gluten or corn. I may also start experimenting more with vegan recipes, to be even more allergy friendly and anti-inflammatory. :-) (Don't worry, bacon, I still love you).

Let's cross our fingers that the blog will be fully launched soon!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

To Procreate or Not?

Well, here we go. I make the whole thought process public.

My husband and I, a married couple with a stable economic situation, have of course been posed the question many a time, "When with the babies, already?!"

There was a time that we really, really wanted kids. We even hoped a few times that I had, in fact, been knocked up, and were very crestfallen when it turned out that I had not. But we picked ourselves up and got over it and every time started the discussion over again.

Often times, it looked like this:

"There's probably a reason."
"Yeah, maybe it's just not in the cards."
"When it's time, it will happen."
"We should just enjoy the life we have as it is right now."

The last line is exactly what we've been doing. And without the pressure on ourselves to start combining our DNA to make something cute, life has been pretty darned peachy.

We have the feeling a lot of people have, which is that there are probably kids in our future. Or maybe there aren't. (We go back and forth with either scenario and find ourselves pretty at peace with either). And we're at a place where we kind of go back and forth on the pros and the cons of pro creation.

Sometimes things sway us more one way than another. Like other peoples' kids. Hanging out with some really fun kids who are spunky and full of character and active and silly and happy...those kinds of kids get the biological clocks ticking faster.

Then there are the kids who are needy, fussy, high maintenance, spoiled, and impossible to soothe or placate, and those kids pull the batteries right out of an otherwise normally functioning clock all together. What if our kids turn out like that? What if we're the parents that mold needy, fussy, high maintenance children? Then we'd have nobody to blame but ourselves! God save us all!

So let's take a look at what our Pros vs. Cons of having kids are.

Pro: There would be someone to take care of us as we get older.

Con: If our kid doesn't have the means/isn't willing to do that, the idea is wasted and selfish.

Pro: It would be so rewarding to watch someone grow from an infant to an adult.

Con: The world is becoming overpopulated at a frightening rate. Food and water and other resources are quickly becoming slim. Bringing yet another soul into an economically unstable future seems selfish; and it would be heartbreaking to see a child become an adult who had to fight tooth and nail just to get food.

Pro: We believe we have the know-how and resources to raise a resourceful, intelligent, hard working and successful human being who could not only survive that future, but be innovative enough to help other people of that future.

Con: We might also end up raising a surf bum who lives on the beach and spends half his time being stoned. No parent plans on that future for their kid, but it happens.

Pro: We already have siblings who have paved the frontier, whose successes and mistakes we can learn from, who have padded the family with plenty of cousins to get to know, the kid would come into a big family.

Con: We do have some fear of disapproval in our child-rearing methods, criticism, and generally trying to make our own family style rather than standing in the shadows of those who've gone before us.

Pro: Living in Hawaii would save us on clothing needs. Babies here only need a few basics, and overpriced fall and winter clothes that they'd outgrow at lightening speed anyway are not on the necessities list.

Con: Everything in Hawaii is double over-priced and everything else for baby, including diapers, would be astronomical. Add to this that I wouldn't be able to work for some time, and living solely on Isaac's income would be very stressful.

Pro: We're the type who would take baby everywhere. Beaches, and as soon as it could hold its head up, hiking, on runs, etc.

Cons: There would be a limit to other activities. We would have to take turns in the water for things like surfing. We couldn't just toss the boards on the Highlander and head to the beach every time we found out the surf was up.

Pros: We live in the perfect place to get a baby well acquainted with water and the ocean very early.

Cons: With Isaac's job and rest requirements, I would be on my own many nights.

Pros: When he is on call and not flying, he would be around to help and get to know his child more than the average 9-5 dad.

Cons: What about the dogs? We don't want to leave them feeling forgotten and left behind, especially if that causes them to act jealous of the baby.

Pros: We have the opportunity to raise another "dog person" and maybe the dogs would love the baby and be extra protective of the home.

There are of course lots of other things to consider, but I could fill a book with them, and I'd rather not do that.

Ultimately, we're pretty happy being an aunt and an uncle, both right now and potentially forever. If we do have kids, though, I suspect we'd be pretty thrilled about it. We decided to it is best to be happy with what we have, count our blessings, and expect nothing else.

It does, of course, make us feel a little inspired when all of our friends keep popping out cute little people, but perhaps it is best to be happy for them and their blessing and happy that our own lives are filled with blessings we may not be able to take advantage of as parents.

I read an article recently that said that inflammation in a woman's body can prevent pregnancy and cause serial miscarriages. I suspect that may play a big part in why it never happened with the timing was otherwise right. Until my body is fully "de-flamed" (if you will) and I have fully mastered my food allergies, I may not be a fertile person. It seems simple enough that the option to make a baby lies within reach when we're ready.

So, there it is. Everyone can stop asking us about kids now.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

What we grow

Our food garden seems to be ever expanding and I am getting pretty excited about it. I have a few lists.

Currently edible if I wanted to harvest now:

Cherry tomatoes

Close to bearing fruit:

Green garden beans

Well sprouted seedlings:

Orange heirloom tomatoes
Variety of winter squashes
Red cabbage
More onions

On the lookout for a variety of other tomato seeds, kale, and a variety of sweet and regular potatoes. I would also like to try my hand at strawberries.
We have grown everything organically and so far have had a lot of success with it.
This week we will plant tangelo and Tahitian lime trees as well.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Anxiety and Relativity

I have been drowning in anxiety lately. I have this horrible lurking feeling and I just want October to pass. I don't know why, but I just feel like October is going to be a month where I am robbed of all my goodness. Where I lose everything I took for granted anyway. If I can get through October, if I can survive until November, life will go on.

I have been working on an exercise my Father in Law gave me. To this day, it is probably the most productive, most helpful piece of wisdom anyone has ever given me (in particular). He is a perceptive person, who knows I lose a lot of battles to anxiety, because I grew up always expecting the worst of every situation.

So when I am in a fit of anxiety, and my chest is tight and I am pushing back irrational tears, stifling sobs, and just trying to breathe like a normal, balanced, healthy person, I do my darndest to practice that exercise.

Whatever it is that I am focusing on in the moment is anxiety-causing because I cannot get my mind off of the worst possible outcome.

And since I have already mastered picturing the Worst Possible Outcome, I also force myself to picture the Best Possible Outcome. Which is really hard sometimes, when you are stuck in a place where you can scarcely believe there is potential for positivity to find a place in your head.

But it has helped me get a lot of perspective. Sometimes it doesn't work to rid the anxiety, not right away, but sometimes it does. At least for a moment. And then 20 minutes later I have to take a minute to clear my head so I can do it all over again.

I know that this is a first world problem. I know that there are hungry children in Africa, and mothers in third world countries that live every day knowing exactly how many children they brought into the world, and knowing that fewer than that are with them today. I know that there is a large number of people with no roof over their heads, no medicine within reach, no clean water to drink. I know that to them, electricity is a luxury and not even their first concern because there are far more basic needs than that which need to be met.

I know that there are entire nations where women have no rights, where love is not a principle of marriage, but abuse is. I know that there are places, both far north and far south, where this is not enough wool to make blankets to keep people warm. And if there were, who could afford it anyway?

I know there are men and children working 20 hour stretches in mines just to make ends meet, knowing they will not live long, and dying uncomfortable deaths from their working conditions.

I know that there are places where having a dog to love is not a luxury available to them. That loving a dog is absurd, because they need to eat and we practically make fun of those people by being offended that they feed their families with the food we feed for the fun of it.

So I know, trust me, that my problems are small ones, relative to all the weary souls on the planet I share.  But despite the meagerness of my problems, I ask as humbly as possible (knowing that it isn't humble enough) that anyone reading put up a prayer for me too. My struggles aren't worthy, but right now they feel pretty grim, and I am not sure how they are going to come to an end.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Worry, stress, anxiety and a 30-day Challenge

You have worry, stress and anxiety. It's hard to let go of. It's hard to picture a best case scenario.

What purpose does worry, stress and anxiety serve? Has it made you prosperous in positive outcomes in the past? Does it serve you? Does it serve those around you? Does it bring love, encouragement, openness, and help to other people in your life? Does it help you to engage in your spiritual life? Is it assisting you in experiencing this very short life to the fullest?


I am taking a 30-day yoga challenge, as prescribed by my yoga instructor. (I am on day 2, I guess). It's going to be tough, mostly because I have a difficult time committing to a daily routine. I can not predict the outcome of this challenge, but my ideal goal would be to learn to let go of my perma-anxiety. With any luck, I will learn to be a better person.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Progress Pictures #2: Back Yard

Remember the last post I wrote where I had a picture of Isaac standing next to a dirt mountain and a bunch of holes? Well, here's some progress since that last photo...

Here is Adam, our friend/landscaper, standing next to the hole that will house the water pump. That mound of dirt is going be a water fall!

Isaac posing next to his future oasis.

Progress as of yesterday.

And now, a few pics of the dogs enjoying the yard as it is right now...

As you can see, Honey loves being queen of the hill.

Rambo, enjoying the view from above.

Sorry for the picture quality. I took a look at my phone (which acts as my camera these days) and the lens looked quite foggy. Upon closer inspection it has become very scratched! I should take this as a motivator to suck it up and buy a reasonable point-and-shoot already. Hopefully future blog posts will bear higher quality photos. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Evolution of a Yard in Pictures: One

So, our yard has been coming along a little bit at a time, but I feel like we are making good progress. I figured a picture post was in order to show the state of the back yard as it is right now, and will do one (or two) more photo posts as we make more headway.

This is the "before" picture. This is basically what our entire yard has looked like for months. It was worse before the first time we leveled it, if you can believe that. So rubbly.

This is the north side of the house. We decided to cover the ground over here with mulch. Eventually it will turn into soil, and become our watermelon/canteloupe/squash patch.

Over here we have laid gravel to make a level place to put raised beds for vegetable gardening.

Here is Isaac, standing next to several big holes (watch your step!), and a dirt mountain. We've purchased a pump and some coconut palms. This is going to be our cascading water feature, flanked by palms. And when those palms have grown strong roots, we'll hang a hammock between them.

After measuring and cutting, Isaac is staining the outsides of these boards for raised beds. The insides were heavily waxed to ensure extra safe soil for food growing.

Stained boards.

First raised bed almost finished...

Isaac admiring our work on the first finished raised bed. The dogs seem to enjoy it as well. 

Raised beds set in place on the Mauka/East side of our house.

The dogs love the raised beds and dirt a little too much. It's already been a challenge keeping them out. We may have to add fencing around this area.

Today, I will Amend the soil and hopefully transplant my basil, carrots, onions, lettuce, cucumbers and first tomato plant.

We are also hoping that the shipment of dirt came in from Kamuela today so our landscaper can bring it in and put dirt over all that rock.

Then! Grass seed!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Our property is almost a yard!

I almost cringe with guilt whenever I refer to the extra land our house sits on as "a yard," because it really is not a yard at all.

The front of our house is so overgrown with weeds, it hurts to look at it. When we moved in it was a total jungle.

The good news is that I seem to have narrowed down the number of species of weeds from about 10 to 2, with both of them being incredibly resilient. Nothing will grow as long as they cover the ground.

I avoid making eye contact with our neighbors because I'm so embarrassed by the front yard. It's my goal to have it looking yard-of-the-month good by December. I don't know if the neighbors know this, but I am too shy to tell them. Although I bet it is all in my head, I imagine that they feel hostile about the lack of progress on the front yard. Perhaps they swear at me under their breath for keeping their home values down.

(In our defense, the house was un-lived in for four years, with no yard care. Those weeds had a head start!)


The back yard has been a rocky wasteland since we moved in. It's literally all rock, rubble and scree. Nothing grows there. It is desert. It is not a nice place. And without a pickup truck, a ton of resources, tropical vegetation know-how and extra manpower, nothing was going to get done.

So we hired a landscaper; and are doing a lot of the labor ourselves to make it affordable. He brings tools, equipment, resources, knowledge and his own manpower. Finally, I think we're getting somewhere.

I wish we could afford to have him do the front yard too.

On Friday we got mulch on the North side of our house. That will be our future melon patch. (And mulch is free, thank goodness).

In the to-be-grassed area we will be growing Tangelos, limes, avocados, and two palms worth of coconuts. We are debating whether or not to plant pineapples along the fenceline, or to put in wild flowers.

The vegetable garden will have loads of basil (I have so much already, and extra seeds to spare!), carrots, cucumbers, onions, lettuce, spinach, green beans, and tomatoes.

If any of you have suggestions about other fruits or vegetables that grow well in warm climates, let me know! I will try to find the seeds.

Hopefully after several more days work I will have a progress-in-pictures post.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Quickie - Hair loss, etc.

Quick update:

-Today, I took a Japanese couple's order completely in Japanese. And I got it right. And they left a hefty tip. Aw yeah.

-I have discovered the secret to hair loss! If you are considering have your hair thinned out, do just this: buy a brand new home in Hawaii. With brand new, extremely expensive carpets. To expedite the hair loss or add some greying to the fun, get dogs...dogs who love dirt and poop are ideal for grey hair and receding hair lines.

On that note, if anyone can recommend the most amazing carpet shampooer on planet Earth, I am all ears. Mahalo!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Updated Guest Room

I have felt inspired to get our guest room a little more updated. I have my eyes on Craigslist every day for the perfect dresser and queen sized day bed. Right now we have a full sized futon acting as a daybed.

As much as I love the colors on our walls, I am tired of boring walls with no art! I broke down and bought a few pieces on Etsy last week for the guest room. By the way, have I mentioned that I am really into Octopi lately? They are really gorgeous and graceful under water. Obsessed. I also wanted to have some sea-life art in the house without doing the tacky, outdated "island style" decorating.

Here are a few pics of the updated guest room:

A few works of art on the wall.

Walking into the room.

Close-up of the futon, set up day bed style. Really comfy for watching TV. (Since the guest room doubles as our entertainment room).

Some photos I like in here. The pink one is by a girl from art school (I feel bad that I forgot her name), and the green truck is by Patricia Scarborough.

One of the octopus prints.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


It has been almost six months since my visit to the hospital. I have to check the dates, but I think that's about right. That means it's been almost that long since I got off gluten, and about 5 months since I got off corn.

One thing I was told about food allergies (especially the gluten one) was that a symptom can be inability to maintain weight or accumulate a normal amount of body fat.

And my body is finally getting it.

And I am freaking. out.

It's not unhealthy. It's just that...I have always had the bmi of a professional athlete, even when I wasn't in great shape. I always had some kind of ab definition, and a booty that was round from muscle, not fat. I never had cellulite or even any soft spots on my body. So the recent changes and new discoveries are a little unsettling.

Any body change for anyone can be scary. I suppose this is why a lot of women express a sense of panic after weight gain.

I am not big by any means, but my body is definitely changing. I went my whole life thinking that staying in shape would be a breeze because I couldn't gain weight even when I was trying to (unless it was mass amounts of muscle from training for huge events).

It has dawned on me that I have joined the ranks of every other normal American; and that if I want nice abs and a cute butt I'm going to have to work my ass of for it...just like everyone else.

I noticed it the most recently when I was swimming in the pool and realized that my butt was so bouyant it was floating above the water. It was too bouyant. I wasn't quite on plane!

I am more active now that I have a less demanding job; so it should be interesting to see how my body evolves with its newfound ability to accumulate this strange jiggly stuff.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

And the winner is!


We tried so many names. Rambo fits best. :-)

In other news, I got the surfboard, and a few basic art supplies to do non-color oil paintings. Grey-scale.

Check out the video in the post below. It's from the scuba dive Ike and I did to celebrate our first year of marriage.

Monday, August 1, 2011

First Anniversary Dive Video

Here's a short video from the dive we went on for our first anniversary yesterday. It's in Honokohau harbor which is about a 5 minute drive, we can see the bay from our driveway. 

Hoping that our GoPro and iMovie skills improve the more we record our dives.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Poll # 2

I have a dilemma.

For our first anniversary, my husband offered to re-build my art studio. That entails replacing all the items that didn't make it over the ocean when we moved here. Top-shelf art supplies for people who prefer to go with their classically-trained backgrounds are pricey.

This offer thrills me.

But he also said that I have the option of getting a surf board instead if I want. Which would mean more time in the ocean, and more time with him. This also thrills me, but surf boards are not cheap.

I have a few days to decide.

Please help me. Poll to the right. :-)


You know how new parents often talk (with dark circles under their eyes and their shoes on the wrong feet) about how tired they are because they baby keeps them going around the clock?

Well, new puppies aren't nearly that exhaustive. But they are exhaustive enough that I have a new respect for new parents; all the while having absolutely no idea how they muster the human strength.

The pup is awesome. He and Honey are best friends (they get along even better than we hoped they would).

But he does nap most of the day [intense stone-cold naps], which leaves him with LOADS of energy at night. When we partition him off at night, all that energy and preference to be with someone leads to crying ALL-NIGHT-LONG. We initially decided to "kennel" him so that we could sleep without worrying about our carpets getting stained all night. Which seems a little moot when we can't sleep through all the pouting.

That aside: He LOVES the water. We can't take him to the beach yet [parvo] but we have set up a kiddie pool in the back yard for the dogs. He loves it. He also sleeps by the hose (so he stays wet), and when inside, jumps in Honey's big water dish.

We keep calling him Hiro; although we both agree that we're not really in love with the name. We tried Chaco [the poll winner!] but it didn't take. Arthur seemed a little stiff for him, and Ansel doesn't really go with his personality.

So we are stuck.

But I will let you all know when we decide on a permanent name.

P.S. If anyone has any information or tips on how to reverse a dog's nocturnal preferences, I am all ears!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A poll, to help us name our puppy

Hi Buds,

Isaac and I are gearing up to bring home our second child next week! Unlike many of our friends who are bringing home their first and second children soon, this one isn't human.

It would appear that in our household, choosing a great name for a dog is paramount to choosing the right name for a baby.

I am curious about everyone's input. We have a list of names we've been going back and forth on. I put four of them in a poll, which you can see on the right side of my blog. I thought it was a good variety off of our list.

Please click the ones you like best (you can choose more than one)! The little one comes home soon!

The new guy, when he was only a few weeks old. Big even for being about 4 weeks old here!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The wandering woman

I have been debating for months whether or not it would be responsible or beneficial to leave my job. It is a fun job, and I love it, but it is time consuming and most nights I am under house arrest bc I have to take a company vehicle home and cannot go around town. I hate the idea of wandering from one job to another each year. I have always thought it irresponsible.

When I started at Blue I was on my way to being yoga certified. But I have missed so many workshops and regular workouts that it has been on the back burner, and I feel its necessary to start again from scratch.

I have missed time with Isaac and Honey. I have often spent what is sometimes my only day off a week catching up on housework and laundry and not doing anything else I would enjoy.

So, I requested a part time position a few times and was denied. I kept working there because I love working with helicopters. But after Madeline's stay I have realized I hardly had tome to hang out with her and Isaac; and when I did, I didn't have the energy because I had been up since 3:30am.

So, I have been hired for a part time position somewhere else and my last day at Blue is the 7th. I am excited to have time for Isaac, the dogs, yoga, my running group, swim lessons, paddleboarding, and home things...every week! I won't have to pick just one hobby to enjoy once a month anymore.

I am nervous about leaving blue and starting over somewhere else and not being great at it at first. But I keep telling myself, the benefits for me and my husband will far out weigh the costs.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dear Atlantans

My friend Sheila at The Adventures of Ordy and Joon blog has a dog who is her baby. He is BIG, black, half Great Dane, and full grown. While someone was dog sitting, a storm came and he got out and they have been unable to find him.

Here is a special request from one dog lover for a fellow dog lover to ALL my buds in the greater Atlanta metro area. If you think you have seen a big black dog roaming on his own, speak up! Any info helps her. If you see and think it may be him, please get him. I will connect you with Sheila. He answers to Bandit and
she is posting a reward for his return to the person who finds and brings him home. (although I think we can all agree that doing a good deed is reward enough).

You can see his lost dog listing here:

Thanks dog lovers, hope you find him!

Monday, June 20, 2011

So Corny

Well, since nailing the corn allergy diagnosis, there's been a lot that has changed! So much is making sense, and I no longer feel like my body has so many short comings and failures...just a REALLY bad allergy that manifests itself in different ways. For instance:

1. We thought I was becoming allergic to dogs. Honey, in particular. Every time she gave me puppy kisses I would break out in a rash where her tongue licked me. It was very itchy, and very hive-y. She is now on a corn-free, grain-free all natural dog food. It's more expensive, but she's healthier more rash from being around my dog!

2. For a long time I thought my body had an adverse reaction to the chemicals in deodorants. I went through a few dozen brands and types, and every kind caused a severe rash in my underarms, complete with hives, peeling skin, and bleeding. I found one brand a few years ago that caused no discomfort or abnormality at all. Turns out, it's one of the only brands out there that isn't made of corn-based chemicals!

3. I really thought I was dairy sensitive. Whenever I ate the more affordable cheeses, creams, milks or creamy sauces, my face would break out and I would have some embarrassing and uncomfortable digestive issues that followed. Turns out, it's not the dairy, but the cows' diets! How wild. If I eat dairy from cows that are exclusively grass-fed and free-grazing, I have no reaction. Corn fed cows, on the other hand, trigger a strong reaction. Who knew!

4. Since trying a new all-natural fabric softener for our sheets a few weeks ago, I had been waking up with hives and a rash all over my body. I read the label and found out it had corn alcohol in it. I switched to a corn-free natural brand and had my first morning today without an all-over rash. Good change of pace.

I have been HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) free for a long time, and never baked much with corn starches. I also never really enjoyed corn as a food, so I never ate it much. If I had, I imagine I would have made stronger connections sooner. It turns out this allergy thing is pretty far-reaching. I still eat gluten free, and have the hang of it...but cross contamination hasn't seemed to be a problem to the same extent. So my gluten intolerance isn't nearly as severe. But now I engage on the life long journey of learning what chemicals and ingredients are derived from corn, looking out for them, and avoiding them.

I know it sounds like a bummer, but it feels like a victory. I'm not some weakling invalid who gets sick all the time. I'm just someone with a really intense allergy. And now that I am empowered with the information to work around it, I am going to have a much higher quality of life. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Our Expanding Family

Consider this your announcement...that we are adopting another dog!

Isaac has been wanting a golden or golden mix for some time. A coworkers dog conveniently knocked up a golden, whose owner (+the dog) has been living with them. In August little Hiro will come home with us. He is 1/2 golden, 1/4 German Shepherd and 1/4 black lab.

The dad has a very similar temperament to Honey... all play and affection. The mom is very sweet, polite, and mellow.

Since Honey is 1/2 German Shepherd, I think they will be great siblings.

I picked this little guy before his eyes were even open. He is so super ticklish, stretchy, and cuddle-seeking, I could not resist!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Yard In the pictures!

Our yard has gone from being an unlevel mess of rocks and weeds, to a level mess of lava rocks and far fewer weeds, to a fenced in mess of leveled lava rock. We're getting there. It's taking a lot of time, a lot of money, and LOTS of hard work. And that's just our back yard!

Peter came out in April for Spring Break and to help us level the yard. Madeline has been here for the summer and helped Isaac put up the fence. I am glad we finally got some pictures loaded. It's interesting seeing the progress.

We still have a long way to go, as you can see. Next step is renting a compactor and putting down mulch, soil, and eventually planting plants, trees and laying down grass seed. I've already bought about 1/4 of the vegetables we'll be growing in raised beds on either side of the house. Hopefully we get enough done in the yard that I will be able to transplant them in July!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Early Summer Update

Madeline is in town for most of the summer. She's been working for her keep, that's for sure. Every day while I am at work, she and Isaac work their butts off putting the fence up in our back yard.

Since being here we've spent ample time at the beach with Madeline. She tried her hand at surfing but wasn't a fan of some of the more aggressive or hostile surfer's out on the waves so she retreated back to shore. One of the guys (carelessly) put a dent in the board she was on. Fortunately, it was reparable and on a board we don't use much anyway.

I also had the chance to take her up in a company helicopter, where we went over the volcano (Kilauea) and into the valley. The lava activity was really going off. I got a recording of the flight so if I can figure out how to load the DVD on the computer and pull a few short clips from it, maybe I will be able to post them soon.

Other than that, we've been swimming laps in the pool or going on long hilly runs every evening. A few mornings a week we make it to some of the more intense yoga classes in town, taught by Jen or Tasha.

I am glad she relishes exercise to the same extent Isaac and I do. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Husband the Closet Photographer

Initially I was going to write a post about the progress of our yard...with photos! But as I was going into iPhoto to pull up the pictures we have recently taken of the yard, and the photos I took about a month ago, I came across some pictures Isaac must have shot just for the fun of it. And I realized...he's a pretty gosh-darned good photographer, especially considering it's not a real hobby or pursuit of his!

He's good at a lot of things. Patience being a specialty. And even though he does lose his cool on occasion, he has the patience to be a good teacher, a good boss, and a good husband.

He had the patience to wait and be sneaky and not scare the geckos when he wanted some good shots of them. They are extremely shy and skittish, so to get up in their personal space long enough to get a picture is pretty tricky. You have to stay still long enough to not seem human, or they flit away before you can blink.

Anyway, I love geckos and I love these pictures. So without further ado (or Isaac's permission), here are some pictures he got of some geckos [I recommend clicking on them to see the full size image]:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Gluten and Corn

Well, it looks like we are getting much closer to narrowing down some of the causes behind all my nasty symptoms.

When I went gluten free, initially I felt better. I avoided grains for a while (until I could find mixes and recipes that allowed me to experiment) and notice a fairly swift change in my body. Once I started seeking gluten product substitutes and recipes however, I began feeling pretty gross again, although the symptoms varied from the initial stuff that was going on.

Turns out that I am very allergic to corn! Which makes navigating the gluten free world a little trickier as flour tortillas/chips are often subbed for corn ones in a gf diet, and many recipes call for corn starches.

It will also make giving up any product with corn syrup in it a mandatory thing for me, not just something I do to give my healthy lifestyle an edge.

But...I have been feeling much better now. Lots more energy, I can stay up past 8pm's nice. [I just wish there were more gf-friendly food venues out here]. Now all I have to do is combine that energy with some motivation and get back to beautifying our slowly progressing yard!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A few more new house photos

Sorry, we haven't hung much art yet. With my art history background and Isaac's taste in poster style art, we have a hard time agreeing on things. So it will be a while before we procure more wall adornment.:-)

In the meantime, here are some recently taken low-quality photos of our living room, dining room and kitchen.

We decided we didn't want television to be the main focus of the space we spend most of our time, hence the cozy library set up. We are old fashioned. And I hate television.(we won't be subscribing to cable either. I know, how un American).

We do have an entertainment room to watch movies in, but its not quite finished. Photos soon-ish.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Getting Closer

Well, there are some ideas as to what the doctors can start testing me for. Some of the issues would create a dramatic lifestyle change and others wouldn't. Nerve racking to wait for answers.

In the meantime, they know one thing: there is lots and lots of inflammation in my body. The worst of it in the tissue around my heart and lungs. Lots of other swollen up tissue in other places too. So, before we start the route of extensive and expensive testing for diseases related to these awful symptoms, we are going to start a new diet and a few medicinal remedies. If the diet works I may just have to eat differently forever, which wouldn't be as bad as taking a massive amount of drugs on a daily basis.

First, I am gluten free now. Doc's orders. I am also corn free, dairy free, sugar free and caffeine free. Glad I knew about the gluten free girl already...I guess i will be referring to her blog frequently so I don't starve!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Home picture number one

Things are slowly coming together. Lots of finishing touches to go. Unfortunately, with my yet to be diagnosed chest and breathing issues, I haven't had a lot of gusto to put the house together. But the master bath was mostly finished before any of that happened.

Bonus points if you can guess where the glass balls are from.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cleanse That House!

Our house is already painted although we haven't fully unpacked and set up. Pictures to come soon, promise!

This first week in our home has been stressful. Where is that reliable ole landlord when you need something fixed or set up? Our refrigerator is already broken and likely needs replaced, Isaac is finding it infuriatingly difficult to install window treatments in a home with steel frame construction, and my car is on the verge of being done for.(ok, cars are maybe not home related, but whatevs).

Add to this the fact that a series of things lead to me having symptoms of a heart attack and having paramedics come by. Friends drove me to the hospital, but hey. The neighbors know we are here now!

My heart thing wasn't a heart attack. After hours of testing one doctor found that my spine bends in on one segment which may have recently started pushing on my heart, creating the shortness of breath and chest sensations. I may also have connective tissue disease of some sort (that is a med test for a later date this week) which could be compressing my lungs and/or heart a little, and of course, stress doesn't help. We are glad I am alive, and thankful that seven people showed up at the hospital when they heard. Including my boss, two friends, and three of Isaac coworkers. Not looking forward to all the bills though.

My logical side knows that this is all just a bunch of new stress hitting at the same time. But our superstitious sides hope that the home we just signed our financial lives over to isn't cursed. Seems like as soon as we put a big chunk down for our dp, every other expensive thing popped up too.

Gotta cleanse this place. And the we gotta start replacing and fixing all this broken stuff. Whew. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wish my elbows luck!

I think we are going to start painting today! That is, as soon as we can pin down a shade of green we are sold on. Been through a few samples and they are either scary bright or pukey. Ah well, the others are chosen and now I go buy buckets of the stuff and get to work. Been a while since I have done much painting and paint rolling. I hope my elbows aren't too old for it, cause we have loads of walls to paint!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Our Home (Finally!)

It is finished! Well, just about finished. We finally have our closing date: tomorrow morning, Isaac and I will be some of Hawaii's newest home owners! We are so weary from waiting, that we can hardly wait to get our hands on some pens and mark up a big stack of papers. :-) Since I am skipping the first half of my work day for this, and going straight into work right after, I won't be able to post any pictures for a while.

However! Once we do start the beautification and moving in process, this blog, for a while at least, will be loaded with lots of before, after, and in-progress photos. The house is actually in impeccable condition. We'll be the first people to ever live there! The home inspector was hard pressed to find anything wrong with it, since it was made by a great contracting team and built with top-quality materials; and he had a reputation for being so thorough that he sometimes scared people away from buying their homes. Still, there will be colors to paint on the walls, accents here and there, and oh yes, LOADS of yard work. The yard leaves much to be desired, and I can tell right now I'm going to be doing a lot of sweating on my time off in the coming months.

Now, I'd like to point out that tomorrow bloggers all around the blogosphere are participating in For Japan, With Love. I just read about it on another blog I sometimes follow. It's a day of silence, more or less. Not that I blog every day, but tomorrow I will be silent on here, Twitter and Facebook.

I encourage donations to the Red Cross to help those in Japan as well. And please, be wary of any causes or organizations encouraging donations to Japan right now. We all want to help, and there are the dishonest few out there who will set up a "non profit" and take your money and run. In the name of charity, no less. Be on your guard. Send money only to well established organizations you already know about. Be sure that your kindness is being handled with care and honesty.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Life is fragile

After this week's events I have heard several people comment on how fragile life is. Japan is suffering. We are all lucky to have avoided the same catastrophe.

I was reminded today of a meditation by the Dalai Lama ("A Precious Human Life") that I learned from my husband shortly after we met, and would like to share it here. I feel that the words ring true for all creeds.

Hoping to learn of an outreach project to post soon as well.

"Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it, I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami (take two!)

Last year I experienced my first tsunami. Last night started a more interesting second experience.
As I am usually up by or before 4am for work so I get to bed early. Isaac woke me up at 9:30 to tell me Japan had a tragic earthquake and that a tsunami was due our way at about 3am. Fortunately the place we are staying is well out of reach of a tsunami.

I tried getting back to sleep but woke up twice from tremors from an earthquake (or two in succession, can't remember, too groggy) and never got back to sleep. Isaac was up all night, burning the midnight oil, making sure all aircrafts were taken care of and keeping his on call pilots updated.
All the resorts were evacuated. Some guests never got to return because of flooding and had to be relocated to different hotels.

After last year, I initially expected a lot of excitement followed by zero damage. But Alii drive was torn up, the King Kam and Four Seasons both experienced flooding, and a few homes/structures (impossible to tell if they were homes or not) were even taken down further south (pictures to follow. Will caption them later when not using my phone).

My boss chartered one of his own aircraft to see how Kona was holding up, and I was allowed to go. We took a life raft and several spare life vests in case we saw anyone in need of help. We never had to drop them, and hopefully that's a good thing. I gave my boss a big hug, since I was grateful for the opportunity to partake in that flight. I know some people get irritated with helicopter noise, but I hope everyone can appreciate that the owner of the company was being a genuine good samaritan. It's not cheap to operate one of those birds!

All the photos i got were from helicopter and were taken by camera phone.
I hope we can all find it in our hearts to do some kind of outreach to those in Japan. Who in Japan did not lose a friend, sibling, child, parent, lover or spouse today?

Above: Kailua pier, Alii drive, and the King Kamehameha Hotel. Hard to see from so high, but this area received some of the worst damage on the island.

Planks, pieces of wood, and pieces of wall are scattered around. Parts of a house that was pulled to sea and taken apart.

From here you can see in to Kealakekua bay. That large rectangle is the roof of a house. The entire house was pulled into the bay and there it floats...

A slightly closer look at Kailua pier. That water is usually azure blue and crystal clear.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bye-bye buddies

The past week and a half have been busy and fun filled! Isaac's best friend John and his wife Jill, along with their little one Emelina came to visit. At the same time we also had Isaac's childhood friend MaryClair and her husband David. All of our guests were instrumental in our wedding and it was great fun having them here. We were sad to see them all go.

They all got decent airfare and we all managed to share the cost of food as fairly as we could. On top of that, the only activity we had to pay for was a one day Kayak rental to paddle to and snorkel Kealakekua Bay.

Our friends also got to visit dozens of gorgeous beaches with great waves, paddle board, boogie board, go hiking, swim in a lava tube, visit a beautiful blue lagoon, see the recently super active volcano, enjoy the local brew pup, support local farmers, go camping and whale watching. I hope it was more restful for them than it sounds!

We can't wait to have them back, and we learned how much we like hosting a house full of friends who are up for all kinds of adventures.

In a few weeks Peter will be here and he and Isaac are going deep sea fishing (my late Christmas gift to Pete and Isaac), and possibly also some pig hunting. Then this summer Madeline will be here to soak up the sun and get her yoga on.

Hope our other buds start feeling the itch to come enjoy Hawaii's outdoors and adventures!

Enjoying the sand and water at a tiny beach off the beaten path.

Relaxing during sunset at Kiholo, where we all camped that night.