My life used to be more amusing

Yes, I fully admit, stories of my life these days aren’t terribly interesting.  I mean, I don’t have any tyrannical boss tales or pictures of my failed cooking class experiments.  My world has become a bit smaller since for the most part it’s confined to a 600 sqft island.  But I’ll catch you up anyway, if only to assuage my blog guilt.  I last posted on Sept 4, so here’s what’s been up:

September:  I started seeing a dietician.  Some of my “numbers” on a blood test weren’t great, so I wanted to try to do something about it.  It’s taken a lot of tweaking and many lapses, but 6 months later I’m starting to see some real progress.  (I am writing this instead of working out, so don’t get too excited for me.) Also in Sept, my mom came to visit.  We did a lot of hanging out and a little exploring.


October: While mom was still here we headed to Maui for a long weekend.  We did more stuff upcountry this time and it was so beautiful (and nice cool temps!)


The air show was on base this month, and I truly did stand with my mouth gaping and the feats those pilots could pull off.FullSizeRender 3

November: This was a fairly slow month.  We blew off Thanksgiving for the most part.  It felt good to not let a holiday stress me out in any way.

December: We headed back east for family visits before Christmas.  It was great seeing the fam and getting some “big city” life for a bit.  And upon my return home I finally caught this little bugger.


January:  I had my first contractor gig; very easy since I just had to observe this time.  The work will be intermittent (like every few months) but I’m glad for it and am looking forward to doing more.  I’ll be teaching classes to mostly government and military folks.  Right up my alley!

February:  This month started with a a great trip back to Maui.  We had promised ourselves that we’d dive there during whale season, and since this is our last winter here we had to get on it.  We seriously splurged and stayed at a fancy resort (not embarrassingly, it was because they have a great pool with water slides and a lazy river.)


We were so lucky and got an upgraded room, and I’m not exaggerating when I say the suite was twice the size of our home here.  We kept misplacing shoes and phones in the 1800 sqft!  I’m baffled at how some people live large like that on all their vacations. On our first dive we could hear the humpbacks pretty clearly– amazing!!

Ok, that brings us up to now.  The spring is going to bring some travel (Australia in March!!!), a few goodbyes (I’m ostriching that shit and pretending my friends aren’t leaving), and family visits. It’ll be a full spring!

tentatively joyful,

Sweet waves, sweaty me

Ahhh– the crisp Fall air, the crunching leaves underfoot, apple baked goods in the oven… oh wait, sorry, that was a dream.  No Fall here for me!  Well, if by Fall you mean hurricane season, then yes, I have that.  I just saw on the news that yet another ‘cane is brewing, lined up with the others to wreck havoc on our little Pacific rock.  What does it really mean for us, you ask?   So much rain.  Pretty sweet waves for the surfers.  But then ya know how you envision gently swaying palm trees in Hawaii?  That’s usually true thanks to the tradewinds that blow almost all the time and bath us in a wonderful breeze.  For the past couple weeks, those winds have gotten sucked away by the ever passing hurricanes.  So what’s left is 90+ temps with humidity that sticks to the body.  The one relief I could rely on back in VA when things got hot was air conditioning.  Yeah, we don’t have that (at home, anyway.)  Ya just don’t know how amazing it is til it’s gone.  Seriously, when I have get dressed for work I have to time it perfectly.  The time lapse between sitting in front of a fan in my underwear and walking out the door can only be about 10 minutes.  Any delay and I’m standing in my previously clean, dry clothing… dripping sweat.  The sounds I make upon walking into an air conditioned store or office are kinda embarrassing.

During the week I’m usually OK, since I’m working either at the wine shop or the Relief Society 2 1/2 days and I’ve got some classes I take a the Y (Aqua Zumba, yo!!)  Throw in an afternoon at the library (in theory doing professional reading, in practice reading magazines) or a beach day with friends, and I make do.  Sunday afternoons seems to be toughest for us.  We can usually entertain ourselves well enough on Saturdays, maybe doing beach stuff or errands in town, or again, the library.  By Sunday we are tired of the sun, the library is closed and we just want to veg.  Sorry, no luck.  Our choices have pretty much come down to the local mall (crazy crowded with locals who just hang out there, sitting with their entire family wherever they can find a place– true local housing is crowded with no place to sit outside other than the carport) and the cheapo movie theater ($6 does not buy you clean seats, if you were wondering.)

The moral of my story, you ask?  Eh, none.  I just wanted to complain  share.  Anyway, a quick update on what’s been going besides me sweating.   I’ve started the coursework to become an Accredited Financial Counselor.   I’m not sure how long it’ll take me, but I’m looking forward to it.

Between storms the weather has been hot but beautiful.   A morning with friends at a sandbar in the bay was a much needed dose of fun.  (That’s a big ‘C something’ cargo plane in the sky.  It was practicing takeoff/landing right over us!)



We hit our two year mark in Hawaii last month.  I can’t believe it’s gone so fast, but I also feel like I’m come so far.  The next year is going to fly by and I want to make the best of it.  We don’t have a return date, but it’ll probably be mid-late Fall.

That’s about all I’ve got going on. Or all I have the patience to write about before it gets too hot.

tentatively joyful,

Wish semantics

Remember when I said that I wanted a life where I could do yoga in the morning? It was going to help me be healthy and focused and calm. I put it out to the universe and in true Oprah-style, I got that. Well, turns out, I got what I wished for but what I wished for was the wrong thing. I do indeed currently have a situation that allows me the time to do yoga in the morning. What I actually needed to say is that I want to actually DO yoga in the morning. I’m so good at planning, notsogood at the execution.
I have a bit more than a year left on our grand Hawaii experience and I often feel like I’m wasting my precious moments here. I work 3 days a week, one at a paid job and two unpaid doing my financial stuff. My work day never starts before noon unless I want it to. I have a ridiculous amount of free time. (So I can imagine that at this point you may want to smack me. “Is she really going to find something to complain about??” Yep. But bear with me.)
How much time did I spend blathering on here about how my situation was getting in the way of my joy? I kept blaming my jobs. Turns out, as my faithful readers probably have known all along, it was me. It still is me. Me who gets in the way of my joy. Most hurdles are gone– I have the ideal situation for which to find myself, my passion, my joy. I live in one of the most beautiful places, I have access to a warm, clear ocean to play in, I have a husband who supports whatever I need to do to get my shit together. And yet, I do nothing. (Except cleaning.  I feel like I’m forever cleaning the house.  I blame the vog bringing in volcanic dust… Yeah, that’s it.).
Before I left Virginia I told a friend that I’d come back from Hawaii leaner, fitter, tanner, happier and for good measure, taller (but I won’t beat myself up that one). Well, I am tan. And definitely happier. I’ve failed miserably at the rest. I can’t be joyous if I’m not taking care of my whole self. (Yoga, while something that is important for me to do for my health, is mostly a metaphor for all the things that I want to do to find joy. I’m not so ridiculous as to write an entire post whining that I can’t get out of ‘couch pose’.) It feels like I’m failing at this joy business– still!
Ya know, in an old post I talked about how I didn’t even feel like I was at zero. I was at a joy deficit and needed to come into neutral before I could move forward. I needed to clear away the negatives. Maybe this is just that. Maybe it’s taken me this long to dig myself out of the crap hole I’d gotten myself into. In that case, today I declare myself at least joy neutral. I have a feeling I’m actually better off than that, but this will serve as the official point. Now I just need to get out of my own damn way.

Tentatively joyful,


Arigatou and hai…

Thank you and yes. I could understand the words when said to us, and could use them at the appropriate time…. and that’s pretty much it.  But in my book, that’s a foreign language “win” when the language is as vastly different from English as Japanese is. Our recent visit to Japan was the first time I’d ever been in a country that uses a completely different alphabet. It was odd not being able to understand what was said or written, but I did perfectly fine roaming Tokyo by myself.  OK, so maybe perfectly fine is exaggerating a bit… I usually found what I was looking for after a few tried.  (Largely thanks to the English signage on the subways.)

Here’s a rundown of the fun we had while in Japan:

Our first day was cold, snowy and rainy but we managed to get some amazingly fresh sushi for second breakfast.  We let the chef choose for us and aren’t sure what we ate.


This fish was alive 5 hours earlier. Some of it still may have been when we ate it.


Lots of goodies for sale at the fish market


Plus more citrus varieties in one place than I’ve ever seen

We took the bullet train to Nagano then travelled to Shibu Onsen for some hot baths and Japanese Macaque (aka Snow monkeys!)


Two bullet trains nose to nose


We are both furry, though only one of us was warm (hint: not me)


Those eyes say, “Put me in your pocket and take me home”. I just know it.


Dave’s new friend


Zero degrees, 7am, wandering the streets in a kimono on our way to an onsen (hot bath)


Sure we were cold, but the water bubbling up from the ground was hot enough to boil eggs

That week, I explored while Dave had meetings.

Some of my favorite places were the food markets in the basement of department stores.  Besides the copious amount of “sweets” and baked goods (two things I didn’t know the Japanese are obsessed with), they have top-notch produce stands.  $140 melon? Check.  $7 strawberry?  Yep, got that, too.  And all of it perfect.


That’s one strawberry, for just a bit over $7.

I found a sushi restaurant that makes conveyor-belt-sushi look antiquated.  We sat at a bar with our own tablets to order from and the food arrived in front of us on a little shuttle train.  Such a treat since it required no speaking or understanding of Japanese.

On one fun night we went to the Robot Restaurant. I still don’t know what we saw, I am barely on board with the fact that it wasn’t all dreamt.


Welcome. I am weird.


A two-headed robot rolling by, because why not?

Midweek, I took a day trip to see Mt. Fuji.  The Japanese are really proud of it, but other than being elusive it’s not all that spectacular.  Sorry dudes.


The peak is apparently only visible 30% of the time.


Clouds overtook the mountain right after this and it was gone for the rest of the day.

Here’s a link if you want to see more pics, and also the videos (in the “vid” folder at the top of the page) which wordpress doesn’t let me upload.  I’ll just say that you need to see these videos– I’ve got a monkey donkey-kicking an umbrella, robot boxing, and sushi on-demand.  What more could I hope for from a trip abroad?

Osaki ni shitsurei shimasu!  

(or, “Excuse me for leaving first.”  It’s typically said when someone leaves the office at night, and they are literally apologizing for leaving before others– which may be at 10pm! )

tentatively joyful,

Winter in Hawaii isn’t so bad

I’ve gotten the urge to blog, so 3 months must have gone by already.

Here’s a quick update:  the rest of November was slow, as was December.  Sadly, on Christmas Day we had to let our cat Phiz go.  We’d had him since we first moved into our apartment in Falls Church and loved him for almost 15 years.  I really do miss him everyday, even if that makes me a crazy cat lady.  Indey is adjusting to having us devote all annoying love towards him.


In January I got more involved in my casework at the Relief Society.  I’m really enjoying it, and it is giving me a glimpse into the world of personal financial coaching which is where I want to head.  (I’m a little scared of the pursuit of coaching as a career since I’ve made it my life’s habit not to actually set goals, I guess for fear of failure.  But it’s probably about time I set one, so there it is.)

We had some friends visit mid month and it was our first time having guests in our new (SMALL) home.  I think it worked out just fine and we are looking to more guests in the future.


At the end of the month we travelled to Japan for about a week and a half.  I’ll post those pics in a separate post, because I think it’ll take a lot of text to explain the Robot Restaurant.  I will leave you with this pic though, because it’s just about the cutest thing ever.   No, not a robot, that’s a snow monkey.


And hopefully I’ll have some pics of our soon-to-be-completed landscaping.  We are “Hawaii”-fying the place and even mid-project it looks amazing!

tentatively joyful,

Finally some house pics

It’s taken a while to get things straight in the new house, and the minute we got it looking OK, we started another project or unpacking endeavor.  So I finally pushed aside the clutter long enough to take some pics.  It was hard taking our stuff Alexandria stuff and making it work in a beachy place, but I think it turned out well.


Living room


Mauka (towards the mountain) patio


Back yard– landscaping to come soon hopefully


Makai (toward the ocean) patio


Kitchen with our DIY beadboard cabinets



Dave’s handiwork getting our countertop dishwasher on a pull out drawer


Dining room with painted floor cloth




Hallway with the sign I made with a friend


Bedroom (and Phiz)

No guest room pics since it isn’t done yet.  But it’ll be ready for guests soon!

tentatively joyful,

Well if that wasn’t joy I don’t know what is

Last weekend we took a little getaway trip to the Big Island.  (For those still confused, no, I do not live on Hawaii.  I live IN Hawaii, ON Oahu.  The most populous island, but not the biggest.  Straight now?)  After coming out of a really stressful summer, we realized that we hadn’t been on a trip just the two of us since, well, we couldn’t remember.  Certainly not since we’ve been here.  (OK, I just had to check and it was April 2013.)  We decided a few days in a hotel with A/C and without barking dogs, yelling neighbors, and musty everything would do us good.  Not to mention some fun Hawaii activities.

Three days was all we could spare since I felt too guilty to skip out on work Monday since that’s the only day I work right now.  So we headed out early Friday morning for what was to become my 2nd favorite of the three days.  We vegged out around the hotel pool with a stack of magazines and ate Cheetos on the bed. (Cuz that’s how we roll.)  That night we had a great dinner of local Monchong fish in an old plantation-style restaurant.  Delish!

On Saturday we got up early to pick up our kayak for a morning on Kealakekua Bay (aka where Captain Cook landed when he “discovered” Hawaii.)  We saw a pod of spinner dolphins but they kept their distance.  When we jumped in to snorkel we couldn’t believe how clear the water was.  80-100′ visibility of clear blue water with such vibrant fish life.


It was like we were in a giant aquarium


That’s Dave waaaaaay down there. See how clear it is?

On the way back across the bay the dolphins came pretty close and hung out awhile doing a little tail slapping, lots of spinning up out of the water, and what turned out to be dolphin sex.  Watching them (spin not procreate) was enough to make me giddy and just laugh and clap happily.   That fun was just the beginning for the day.  Later we boarded the dive boat for an afternoon dive and the evening manta dive.  I’d never seen a manta ray and was really excited to see them that evening.  We got lucky and spotted a few on the afternoon dive as they cruised by.

My first manta ray!!

My first manta ray!!

Happy divers in the sunset

Happy divers in the sunset

I honestly thought that the night dive would be similar, with just more mantas swimming by.  I tell ya, I have never been so happy to be so wrong.  The dive that night was one of the most amazing experiences.  The mantas fed on the plankton that our flashlights were attracting, and they would swim directly at us and then swoop up and away at the last second.  They even came from behind so they would appear right above us and be swimming away in front of us before we knew it.


It was like a manta disco!


I squealed and laughed for the whole 45 minutes.  (Well, there was that one shriek when I looked down and saw a much despised eel slinking around me as I sat on the ocean floor. I do NOT do eels.)

Check out the video that Dave took. (That’s me in the bottom right.) Amazing!

We got up early the next day to drive over to the other side of the island for more adventures.  Ziplining through the trees at a botanical garden was a great way to spend a morning.


Then after exploring some nice waterfalls,


Hawaii’s tallest free-standing fall


we were actually so tired from the past two days that we parked in a quiet waterfront park and napped.  Like homeless people.  But I loved it.  (I blame my muscle relaxers, which I needed to take after awaking that morning to an unmovable neck due to staring straight up for 45 minutes the night before.  Oh the prices we pay for amazing experiences.)  We were then rested enough to carry on and head up towards the volcano.  There was a winery on the way so of course I checked it out.   I really do think it tasted like lava ash.  Well, it smelled like it anyway.  Then we headed to a big crater with glowing lava.  We had packed a picnic dinner so we stretched out in the car (it was getting chilly, we weren’t just weirdly attached to the rental car, I swear) and ate while we waited for it to get dark enough for the glow to be really cool.


On the 2 hour drive back home, we headed through the middle of the island up Mauna Kea which is the highest summit in the state.  Not only was the clear view of the stars absolutely stunning, we were tickled watching the outside temperature drop to the high 40s.  Now I know that’s nothing special to y’all heading into the Polar Vortex, but the sheer amount of sweat we have been experiencing here on a daily basis made the chilly temps such a treat.

And then it was up the next morning so we could fly back in time for me to get to work at noon.  Quite a little happy trip:-)

tentatively joyful,


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