Wednesday, January 21, 2009

lego inauguration

Ok, someone had lots of spare time - this is cute!!
Nate was home sick again yesterday with his wheezy cough thing, and his teacher was nice enough to email his homework for the week. We loafed around together and he did a week's worth of homework in one day. One of the assignments was to imagine you are the president's child, at the big inauguration day parade, and write about the thoughts that are going through your head.
Nate was thinking about he probably had to wear a suit, and probably, we made him take a shower, wash his hair, and get a nice haircut. He thought about living in the white house and going to a different school. He likes Sullivan's elementary just fine but if he had to leave, he'd rather go to Westwood in Blaine, MN. Other than that he thinks the experience would be "a bit cool."
He was looking much better this morning. A little albuterol on top of prying him out of bed with a crowbar, and he was good to go. Thank you, Lord.
Frankie made funnel cakes yesterday in Culinary Club, and came home all excited about making some for us at home. We were forced to get some funnel cake mix at the commissary, and some pie filling. His plan is to sleep in on Fri am, yet another day off for DOD schools, make the funnel cakes, pour cherry pie filling on top and sprinkle the whole thing with powdered sugar.
Since Jose will have Fri off after working some 12 hour shifts, I think it would be most prudent if I stayed in bed until after the cakes were done and the kitchen cleaned. Ha!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

book learnin'

Wow, transferring a person's social work license from MN to CA is not anything like "automatic"!!!

I now understand why it so hard for Navy Wives to keep a decent career. It's great review, but it would be nuts getting up the energy to take the clinical licencing exam and all of the required continuing ed every time we moved to a new state.

For California, I have to re-take the clinical license exam which in MN, was a four-hour grind that left me having to pee really really bad and with a smashing headache. Which I took after two years of full-time supervision, after college, waaay back in....well....a while back.

Then there is another California exam, the "clinical vignette," which sounds like some sort of yummy french baked good. But not.

I will take, mostly in on-line courses:

Human Sexuality (10 hours)

Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency (15 hours)

Spousal/Intimate Partner Abuse Assessment, Detection and Intervention Strategies (15 hours)

Aging and Long Term Care (10 hours)

Child Abuse Assessment and Reporting (7 hours, taken in the State of CA)

Then after all of those courses which I will of course pay for, I'll study up on things I know will be on the exam, like the ole biopsychosocial assessment, formulating your diagnosis and developing treatment plans, legal issues in California and ethical stuff.

My first on-line course was fascinating: social work with gay, bisexual and transgender adolescents. It showed the profound sense of isolation the teens feel and some of the experience. I want to learn more, and to reach out and help these kids.

Then I snored my way through a few hours on aging and let me tell you, those are three hours of my life, I'll never get back. Dry as toast!!!

To make a long story short, I'm back in school.

My mother and my grandmother had careers and nurses, and they defined themselves that way, and as wives and mothers. I defined myself as a mother, wife, and social worker until we came to Japan. Then I became a stay at home mom and homemaker.

It's been wonderful to be home for the boys in many ways, and to take care of them and our dogs and now that they are in school, have lots of time for myself also, to explore this country, and meet new people and develop new hobbies.

I'm not going to lie, though, sometimes I'm envious of my wonderful husband for going out into the world every day and helping sick people, and making a living. I know he has a world outside of the family, and when he is quiet, he is usually daydreaming about things he left at work: some intern he spoke with at work, some rash or lab value or other he saw, someone with a fever who is waiting for him to come back. I know he has a whole other life outside of our little family and dogs and our little townhouse in Ikego Hills Navy Family Housing, Japan.

So I'm excited to be back in school, now if I can just find some notebook paper and a pen that isn't chewed up by a dog...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thurs morning knitting

Today I joined a group of Oakleafers to try to learn how to knit. The highlight of the day was spending a bit of time with Tara's little munchkin, about 7 months old and big brown eyes! I have fantasies of one day in the future, making a small square dishcloth or scrubbie. I don't know if that is going to happen, though. I need constant assist at this point.

Kim whose husband is off in the hot sandy place was there, and it was good to meet up with Diane and Kathleen too. I have not seen them in a while and they all looked wonderful! I have been a bit of a hermit since Jose left and we moved to Ikego. Then again, since he came back I am still in my hermit ways, and having a bunch of cold bugs in a row doesn't help. So it was very nice to get out and socialize with other humans besides the short ones.

I have read "The Friday Night Knitting Club", so I figure I know enough to join a club. Ha! Somebody bring the wine, I'll bring the trash talk!

Speaking of trash talk, has anyone out there seen the show "Army Wives"?? I got a few discs from Netflix and found it kind of amusing. Like a Desperate Housewives for wives living on a base.

I got glued to it, waiting to see who was going to cheat on their spouse, when were the guys getting deployed, what crazy outfit would that little cutie Roxy show up in next, etc. It was like eating chocolates that you know are not good for you in mass quantities but just can't help yourself. A few times I also teared up and was forced out of my seat to find some kleenex.

That is when I knew I had to get out of the house and get another hobby!

More Brad, just to look at...

Hey there, kitten. Why don't we head down to the minimart and just grab a pizza?
Now, does Jose get jealous when I post about hotties like Brad Pitt or say, George Clooney or the Soccer Guy?? No, I don't think so. Just to be nice I might cut back though, now that you mention it, I'd be mad if it was him!
First, I'm pretty sure he never reads my blog. Especially now that he is working 12 hour shifts in the ER for a bit, instead of Internal Medicine Clinic. But now that he is doing that for a while, he will have entire days off, and might sneak a peek then just to make sure I'm not embarrassing him. He does roll his eyes actually but doesn't feel threatened at all. I could be insulted! :) Hey, it could happen!?!?
The thing about these guys is that they are just beautiful. It is like appreciating a nice piece of art. Yep, really appreciating it. But I'm sure that once they open their mouths and begin to voice opinions, the thrill will be over. And, they probably have a very complex and time consuming beauty routine that would put me to shame.
Ah...Jose is the only guy in the world that would put up with my eccentricities, I think. He knows how much I love him. Plus, he never ever hogs the bathroom getting ready in the morning.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Technical help...

Uhhh....yeah...the best way to blow this up into 8' X 12" and use it to wallpaper the livingroom??

I got mail!

Cool beans! A surprise care package in the mail for my buddy Yuri. She sent a cookbook of Cuban cooking which looks like a great book, a cookbook of pumpkins and squashes, with gorgeous pics in it, very inspiring, some Amy Butler quarter yard pieces. The fabric is so pretty I can't cut into it just yet. The colors are much brighter than they look in this picture, for some reason. Then, since they were in Washington DC, she sent me a Starbucks cup from there. So sweet. They are in San Diego probably moving into their new house over the next couple of days, if the signing went according to plan. They are waiting for us!
I miss Yuri - she lived next door and was constantly knocking on the door, or lets face it, opening the door and just coming in! It has been awfully quiet around here since she moved. Ok, peaceful, but awfully quiet. Today I'm going to try to make her husband's most awesome cappuccino cheesecake and see how it goes. With a spring form pan, no less.
Now, to find some fun Japanese treats to send her, and probably from Swany's...

morning at the Gomez manor

This picture of Miss Peach is actually a few weeks old, from after she got spayed (poor Peach) at the Hayama animal hospital. Giving Daddy lots of love. Luuurve.
Since the spay went too well, the slight limping she has had has gotten progressively more noticeable and I had to take her back to the vet yet again. I think she is spending entirely too much time over there even if he is a kind and very handsome fellow. Apparently she has some problem in large boned puppies where the growing bones put stress on the joints and cause some swelling and soreness, otherwise called "growing pains".
They put her on a supplement, glucose amine condroitin, which seems to help a bit. She is supposed to rest and not do anything crazy (ha!). She is supposed to live on a carpeted surface (ha! I don't have any left with two dogs in the townhouse, at least not downstairs, but I will keep an eye out for a rug of some sort that can be washed in some way).
Miss Peach's favorite thing to do is be let loose in the football field to tear around (until Mom gets busted by security - who knew it was against the rules?), scramble up the little hills, jump in the narrow little stream and lay in the mud until I lure her out with some sort of biscuit. She has a hard life.
Then there is Little Toot having cereal. He has had a good week. Yesterday the class had a tour of the ship, Sullivans. Guns and missile stuff everywhere, sooo cool. And the sailors were, like, really cool, and with guns. And cool tatoos, one guy. Yeah. Ahem.
Big Boy is contributing to science by volunteering his time playing video games with his best pal, Sam.
I realised that this buddy is the kid who's Dad got deployed and when that happened the Navy moved their family on to the main base in a townhouse, yet when it happened to us, the housing office was all, well, noooooo...anyway, this boy is a sweet and very intelligent kid.
Anyway his parents as well, they are good people. You can't hold it against someone that they had a good experience with housing! Anyway, we are happily settled now...
Frankie is playing Halo or something on the X box, for two hours, then having his reflexes tested, for a research project that Sam is doing. So far, interestingly, playing video games appears to slow one's reflexes / or response time at first, then after a time they return to normal. Perhaps because the boys minds are so focused on a narrow pattern or responses for a while??
Anyway, I know what a hardship it is for Frank to help with this project.

something I don't need...

Ok, I have just gotten something I don't need on line, from Ann Taylor Loft. I have lusted after this jacket for a while and can longer resist the lure - today it went on big sale. I don't know how it will work with the jeans and sweatshirts I normally wear, but its so cute, and sweet, and sunny yellow! I'll hang it in the closet and look at it once in a while, probably. Jose will be so glad I got this when we are really saving for a down payment on a house in San Diego. :)
Now, if only I would look just like the model when I wear it!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

new years resolutions from cricket's paw

Wendy's New Years Resolutions

Drink coffee every morning.

Go to most book club meetings, and when I go, try to read the book beforehand.

When Natsumi-chan barks, let her outside before she pees on the floor.

Keep those last ten pounds to celebrate being almost 40.

keep the white linoleum floors at least a light grey.

finish some of my craft projects, and leave some of them in piles in boxes

do the dishes once in a while

do some laundry once in a while

family game night once a week

embrace the idea that socks do not have to match - it will take out much of the stress of our mornings

try to speak straight from the heart most of the time, and be kind

keep the car a bit messy

stop trying to wear white tops and go for mixed prints that will not show stains

exercise at least once a month

lay an the floor and wrestle with the dogs every night

get the boys doing more household chores!!!

buy handmade as much as possible, recycle, donate stuff and declutter the house

get to know some of the local crows a bit better, and have some fun with hawks, hot dog pieces, and the boy's slingshot

learn the constellations and spend time outside at night looking at them, with the boys

cricket's paw style family newsletter

Wow, things have been happening around here. I mean, besides that fact that Jose and I have been passing some nasty cold bugs back and forth and I lounge around late in the am in pajamas, coughing and blowing my nose.

The boys are doing well. Nate has misplaced his Nintendo DS but I'm sure he'll find it soon. His hair is getting long and shaggy, a shiny, gorgeous shade of chestnut brown. It hangs directly in front of his eyes and makes me nuts. I always brush it to the side when I'm talking to him. He sometimes cops an attitude which has prompted the kindly Mrs. Davidson, 5th grade teacher at Sullivan's Elementary, to call him "Mr. Cool." He make home videos involving his plastic figures, and Mom's camera. He reads mainly comics, Ripley's, and the Guinness Book.

Frankie seems glued to the sofa where he pounds away on the laptop, going by names like "Immortal One" and "Thief Lord". He speaks in one or two mumbled words at a time. He goes through many books at a rapid pace and is always coming home from school with new piles of books to go through. Periodically, he will jump up and go outside, where I will hear him chasing and shrieking and running with fabulous long pointed sticks. Frankie may need to start shaving soon!!

We had a peaceful Christmas but were also a bit homesick for Minnesota, where our families got together and had, I'm pretty sure, a white Christmas.

I mentioned some months ago that Jose applied for a pulmonary fellowship in San Diego. I was dead set against this at first - I had enough of being a Navy wife, wanted to go back to MN, my friends, my family, my old job. What I wanted was My life, not this crazy life where a wife has to up control of her destiny and let go to this huge thing called the Navy. Where she becomes a dependent, a spouse, unaccompanied baggage, nonessential equipment.

Well, my husband is a really really nice guy. I mean, he is one of the kindest and most wonderful people I've ever met. And this means an awful lot to him. He wanted to do this fellowship very badly but was willing to sacrifice it for my happiness. We prepared in our minds, to return to our home state, find a house, get jobs, etc and leave this Navy life behind.

But then I stewed over it and thought, ehhh, life is what you make of it, even this crazy Navy life. And the fellowship would be in San Diego. Jose would be over the moon. What's not to love? No icy sleet and frigid grey landscape 6 months of the year. Let's just go for it.

And so we are planning to move to San Diego this summer and Jose will begin his fellowship. He of course, got accepted. My husband is the golden boy of luck - I swear he has a shining silver aura around him. He tells me that his life is just perfect now. A house to live in, food to eat, a car to drive, his family and friends. He is living in the most fascinating country in the world, that he studied for years in undergraduate. He came back from a humanitarian mission where he was able to speak Spanish and meet interesting people, explore jungles and small towns and eat strange food and have adventures. Now he is back in Japan with his boys and - ahem - fabulous wife, his Japanese interns and the dogs. His joy, his kindness, his go-with the flow attitude rubs off on me. It pulls me to him, its why I wanted to come here with him. For me, there is no better life than going on adventures with Jose.

As for myself, I'll be excited and nervous to get back into doing social work, which I fervently hope to do when we get back to the states.

For now, I'll keep busy teaching a bit of English, volunteering at the Second Hand Rose, doing crafts, and spending time with the boys and our dogs. Not a bad life, really, although I do miss my old career somewhat.

Of course, we don't know exactly when we leave this summer, or where we will live, where the boys will go to school, etc, but that is Navy life. And I guess we will stay in it for a while longer.

So here in Japan, in the beginning of January, in our pajamas with the smell of coffee and leftover cornbread around us, the sounds of cartoons and barking dogs, Jose and I are poised at the top or a roller coaster. And where it ends up we don't know yet!