Just another day in Paradise.

Just another day in Paradise.

Monday, July 28, 2008

You don't own me.

That's right, I went into a Target for the first time in a long time and I got out of there without spending over $50 (A feat I had previously thought impossible). And to be honest, it wasn't as exciting as I thought it was going to be. I guess I haven't been missing anything this past year after all. Although I did enjoy the familiar popcorny smell and bright lighting.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shark Week

It's Shark Week on Discovery Channel - and I don't have TV -yet. Bummer. I guess I'll just have to contribute with my own correspondence on the matter.
I'll kick things off with this little bit of news coming to us from Leeward Oahu - "Woman survives shark attack off Makaha with 'chunk' out of arm". You can read the entire article by clicking on the headline. Or I can sum in up in the three words spoken by the snorkeler - "Help. Please. Shark." Allegedly it was a 16 ft. Tiger Shark. We (Ben and Brady) had a shark sighting at the very same spot before while snorkeling. Only it was about 4-5 ft and most likely a reef shark. Although I'm pretty sure they still have teeth.
So shark attacks are pretty rare right? For the number of folks who go in the water and the number actually bitten, yeah. But in the year we lived in Hawaii, there were three incidents on Oahu alone. They were not highly publicized - bad for tourism I'm sure. Ben was working in the E.R. when one came in. Two were snorkelers, one a body boarder, no one died. In fact the waves themselves cause more harm than these lovable sea creatures. But that's not what we're talking about. At least not this week.
I'm afraid of sharks, at least when I'm on land. I'm also a researcher. I like to know every possible outcome to every situation so when it comes to sharks I was delighted to find this gem of a spreadsheet - http://www.sharkattackfile.net/ - The Global Shark Attack File - tracking incidents by species, event details, injuries and location from the beginning of time (1845). Seriously - it's fascinating. And I will probably never go in the water in FL or Brazil because of it. In July there have been 9 attacks in the U.S. alone!
I never spoke about sharks much in Hawaii because I didn't want to jinx myself. I thought as soon as I make a comment or joke, I would be a goner. Or at least lose a toe or two. The funny thing is that when you're out there with them (you can tell when they're around - you can just feel it) it's not so scary. Sometimes I would almost hope to see one. Although the occasional dolphin fin, turtle or leash brushing against your leg might spook one to hope otherwise.
Two things I learned from Discovery's Shark Week 2007 that I would like to pass on - sharks are more attracted to small amounts of urine than blood and to the color yellow more than the color red - not sure if the two facts are interrelated, they weren't presented as so. But those little bits of information may surely change some nasty little habits some of us may have. Frankly, I consider a little pee in the vast expanse of ocean to be nothing compared to some of the things I have seen floating around out there. And besides, how are you supposed to warm up your wetsuit? Just remember sharks can smell fear.
Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


It must be like 70 here or something. On the night we got here we could see our breath it was so cold, and we were so underdressed. So alas, we have arrived in Washington. For those of you counting types, yes, we have been here a few weeks. In fact we are in our fourth temporary residence since we have arrived. This one we will call home for at least the next six months as we figure out what our more permanent arrangements will be.

The new picture above is of the south slope of Mt. Rainer - which April reminded me is called Paradise. Hence us still being "just another day in..." I like that thought. And we like it here. That being said, I was never so happy to see fleece as I was when we were unpacking. That box I had labeled and set aside of "Fall/Winter" clothes for the family, just got opened.

There's really no need to make a list of the things I'll miss in Hawaii (although I still have a few thoughts on our previous life that I'll have to get out I'm sure). I'm following the advice of inspirational cards, motivational plaques and dear john letters everywhere - if you love something, set it free, if it was meant to be, it'll come back to you. We love the islands. We will go back. But this is our home now and we are going to love it. Am I trying to convince myself of that? Maybe.

One thing I do love about Washington that I need no convincing of is the friends we have here. But they deserve an entire post and pictures so more on that later. But have they made the transition easier for me and for Avery. Absolutely.
All right so what else do I love about Washington so far:

- Loooonnnngggg summer days. We flew in at 10pm and it was still not quite completely dark. Although it gives you plenty of time to do fun stuff and it's nice for B. to come home in the daylight, it makes it tough to adjust to a new time zone. It will start getting dark and that is an indication to us that it's dinner time. Only it's 9pm. I realize to that there is a flip side to these long days known as winter.
- No frizzy hair. No sweating.

- The mosquitoes here are bigger and slower. Not only did living in HI make me an expert mosquito squisher, I got bit so many times that I became immune - this is completely true. The ones here must have diluted juice cause I don't even feel the slightest itch.

- The grass is softer and unlikely to have thorns in it. Not that you are likely to be barefoot in it.

- Greater variety of fresh produce and bread.

- Good Mexican food. There's also bad mexican food here, but we have found at least two places that are legit. I think Ben has tried every one. If it has Los or El, any reference to a location in Mexico or any form of 'berto in the name he's there - He even braved a place with Tijuana in the name. Never again.

And for good measure - a few things I'm going to have to get over:

- What seems like nearly 10% sales tax. Double what we paid in Hawaii. Where we live it's around 8.8% but enough to discourage me from shopping anywhere but on base. (Why doth I love the military - let me count the ways...) Okay, so there's no state income tax - we weren't affected by that anyway.

- Wearing shoes. This mostly applies to A.

- People not driving with Aloha. I could write a whole post about this. And I just might.

- Pineapples are expensive.
- Butter takes longer to soften.

- The music. I'm not sure exactly which category to put this one in, because although it's fun to hear bands that remind me of high school - Candlebox, Soundgarden, Nirvana etc. On continuous loop it loses some of it's charm. Not that I liked Reggae any better.

The best news about us moving to Washington for all of you (since you just lost your free vacation home in the tropics - need I remind you) is that you are no longer subject to pictures of me in my bathing suit or Ben shirtless. Although, I can't guarantee the latter. Oh wait, yes I can. It's July and it's freezing.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Post Under Construction

No I haven't fallen off a mountain never to be heard from again. We're just living it up in the Pacific NW - I mean we're househunting.

Friday, July 11, 2008

June Recap

For a number of reasons - namely that we could make money* - we decided to move ourselves and forgo the military move this time. They were late with Ben's orders and we weren't sure if we would be able to schedule a move through them anyhow. By the time everything was straightened out we had already started the PPM (personally procured move) process. Besides, we hadn't unpacked everything from our last move and they damaged some of our furniture last time (hopefully we won't). So far the only casualties of moving ourselves have been the children. Their toys were the first things to be packed up which didn't phase them and they quickly set to work making forts and such with the boxes. They also enjoyed the smell of the Sharpie and would race to try to smell a fresh label before it dried. I did not encourage this. In other unhealthy news, they were nutritionally neglected as the loading date approached going from Pb & J sandwiches to PB & Honey on a spoon to here's a jar of peanut butter feed yourselves. They also ate a lot of popsicles.

*If you are concerned about your tax dollars being pocketed by the Westbrook family, please note that by doing a move ourselves we do get paid to do the work but at a lesser rate than full-time movers. So by helping curb excessive government spending it's a win-win.

Ben - Worked full time all month at the hospital then spent every other minute disassembling furniture and electronics and helping me pack. Not only did he "graduate" from his internship program but he earned his first decoration as a soldier by getting an Army Achievment Medal for his service at Tripler.

Avery - Was our chief box decorator and labeler - I suppose only to get closer to the Sharpie's. She colored boxes with rainbows and dancing roses (her specialties) and actually helped label boxes with me spelling the words for her. She also learned how to spell and write the names of all of the immediate family members and now we know which ones we are in her family portraits.

Miles - Did lots of "boy" things like skateboarding down the loading ramp (on his belly), bringing slugs into the house, kicking things and collecting rocks in his pockets. Some of the things he did while wearing a faux-pearl encrusted pink headband or pink princess bike helmet, but he looked manly just the same.

Me- I spent the majority of the month recovering from my fall - only to find out the mishap could have been avoided had I simply brought a gift, such as a lei, to place on the sacred lands. Luckily I didn't try to take any part of the mountain with me as a souvenir or my injuries would have been much much worse as I was informed by a couple of Aunties at church. To top it off it turned out I had a pneumonia or bronchitis of some sort, which I ignored (as much as you can ignore a hacking cough) until we were finished packing. I finally let B. get me antibiotics (even though I could be described as anti-antibiotics) and guess what? Modern medicine prevailed and I feel a ton better, not to mention people are willing to stand near me again. I thought it for the best before taking a 5 hour plane ride.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Aloha Oe

Until we meet again...


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How to open a coconut.

Stage 5 is what the kids affectionately refer to as the"Uncle Nate" coconut. This entire process took 1.5 hours.