Saturday, March 23, 2013

Eye of the Tiger

I've been busy having fun during Spring Break with my kids at the zoo, doing model rockets, movies and tons of other things. No time to write but lots of quality time. Showing them more stuff about Okinawa and praying for peace. Also, I used disinfecting solution yesterday instead of contact solution so I've got a slight chemical burn in one eye. I'm typing this with one eye open and a massive headache building. SO, here's a little video for your enjoyment. *smirk*

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

To my son, with love

Twelve years ago at this time (1:45 pm CST) I was hooked up to monitors at a hospital 40 miles from home, listening to the steady thrum-thrum-thrum of a muffled heartbeat. Nurses periodically checked in on me, taking vitals, feeling for changes. (That one with the particularly large and knobby fingers was NOT welcome again after her first visit. I'm sorry, but NO woman should be subjected to that while in the throes of labor! Witch.) I had worked the day before, a Monday, feeling a bit worse for wear and achey. My husband at the time had had every one of his wisdom teeth removed that day and was loopy as a doormouse. I had gone to bed around 9, very tired and somehow knowing I wouldn't get much sleep for the next 40+ years. We weren't expecting this little bundle for five years but he decided the combination of antacids+ the Pill after too much tequila+ Mexican food on the Fourth of July was the perfect time to make an appearance.

At 3:30 am, the H got up to take his dose of painkillers. This was also the exact time I woke up, gripped my stomach and gasped. The constant Braxton-Hicks I had felt for several weeks was NOTHING compared to the tightening of my entire body and losing my breath in pain. Quickly remembering lamaze techniques, I went into laser-focused Feather mode. In crisis or extreme stress, my sense of clarity is crystal and I begin planning/implementation processes. I also tend to be a bit short with people. (No height jokes, thank you. Yes, I'm little. :-P) We hadn't quite planned for this little one to come two weeks early. I couldn't very well drive myself to the hospital in another city and neither could H since he was on painkillers. A quick call to a good friend had her at our house in a few minutes and on our way to be parents.

On the way to the hospital, I had the same sense of calm as when I recently married the Major. I breathed regularly thru each contraction and smiled, knowing I would soon hold a little bundle of awesome. Over the years, he's shown me how wrong I was. He's way more awesome than I can say. He reminds me so much of my dad, and not just because they have the same eyes and name. This incredibly talented and smart almost-man is as tall as I am with one of the kindest hearts I've ever come across. When the Major is TDY, the J-Meister takes his job of "man of the house" very seriously, watching out for his momma and little brother. His insight is scary sometimes. He knows if I'm not fully telling him the truth, if I'm trying to protect him from certain things. I swear he's like a sponge, absorbing all that life has to offer and learning everything in sight.

This morning, I kept a tradition alive my dad started with me and my sisters when we were little. I finally found a little mom and pop donut shop that made specialty donuts. Most of the shops around here have their donuts shipped in from a bakery. Sure, they may have been made late last night but they couldn't compare to the smell of baked goods wafting from that kitchen. The owner even made a special sprinkles and M&Ms one just for the birthday boy. The kid was stoked!

Sgt. Frog or Keroro Gunso
about an alien frog who tries
to take over the world...badly.
Now, his life is about to change and I'm so proud of how he's handling everything. Looking thru every website he can about Japan and Okinawa. Watching Japanese cartoons (which are HIGH-larious, dubbed in English, btw. They even thru in a "I'll have what Meg Ryan is having." joke!) and asking a million questions about how all of this affects him and his brother. He's an amazing boy and I'm so proud to be his mom.

Happy Birthday, my oldest! I can't thank God enough for putting you in my life!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Drowning in papers

Whew. What a busy weekend! Baseball season has started which means I barely get to see the kids alone, what with all the practices and games. Each moment is precious though. We're in the middle of planning for not only the Okinawa move but also a trip to Europe in June to see the Major's oldest son graduate college in Rome. As I've never been out of the country, this'll be an experience.

Who knew there was so much paperwork to fill out just to get a passport?
"Fill out form DS-### along with Form DS-#### plus provide 3 types of ID as verification, photocopied and notarized, (etc, etc three pages of instruction later) plus your firstborn's umbilical cord and hair samples..."
Okay, so the last part is made up but STILL! Several pages plus notarized consent forms of my ex just to take the kids. Woof. I can't finish MY application until I get my taxes done and then change my name legally on my SSN. There goes my last paycheck into someone else's pocket to pay all the fees and taxes. *sigh*

I'm not thinking entirely clearly this morning because of the time change. Daily Savings Time is archaic and barbaric. I am not built to be up before the buttcrack of dawn. Thank God for K-Cup quickness.

Much thanks to new readers in the following countries!:
South Korea
Palestinian Territories
And of course, regular readers in the US, UK and Canada. xoxo

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Give til it hurts

Thought of the day:

So, near the highway by our house, there are a couple of men who stand on the corner with homemade signs. These say "God Bless. Anything helps." to "50 Cents? Hungry and homeless." I wonder as I see them panhandling if they really are poor or playing a part. There have been stories in this city of several people making upwards of $60K plus just begging for change.

But here're my questions:
What would you do for a few dollars to keep yourself and kids fed? 
Would you dance on the corner if someone asked you to, just for 50 measly cents? 

Because think of it like this (IMHO. Don't get mad): Your dignity is already gone if you are reduced to standing on the street in the cold and the sun, the wind and the rain, holding up a homemade sign from the cardboard in the dumpster. It's humbling and humiliating to show the public you can't support yourself for the moment. That you are dirty, hungry and depressed about your situation.

If I were in their situation, I would beg. I would dance for dollars. I would sing, albeit off key, whatever was requested, even on the corner. I would entertain, offer hugs, learn card tricks. I would do whatever was needed to get my kids fed & clothed. But I would also go thru agencies who help the poor. This is why I continue to give to those charities. Why it makes me so angry when agencies and organizations who rely on donations & federal/state funding have to close their doors because some ass in government decided his thoroughbred paddock was so much more important than whether some kids get take home food on a weekend from school so they don't starve. </rant>

So what would YOU do? Keep your dignity? Or resort to desperate measures?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Side-boob and cute doc- FTW!

I admit it. I'm a bit of a flirt. But I don't WANT people I flirt with, not sexually anyway. (Trust me, the Major keeps me quite happy, tyvm) I just do it as a joke, to make them feel good about themselves. Humans deserve to feel good and be confident. Human beings fascinate me to no end. I love all kinds of people. What makes us tick? What makes us smile? What makes us cringe? Admittedly, a few well placed words can either cause a smile, a blush or a withdrawal.

Yesterday, I made someone blush. Not really because I was trying. I was just being myself, which some find to be too forward and outspoken. Having three moles I was concerned about and a history of skin cancer in the family, I went to the base clinic. (Yay, socialized medicine!) The doctor who walked in was young, tall and handsome, which took me back a little. AND he was in a uniform. Sorry, but swoonage was in order. Capt. Herb was very nice and straightforward. As it was my first time in a base medical facility and I'm trying to learn the Major's sponsor number, acronyms and the million other terms the military uses, I was a bit nervous. "Welcome to the jungle," he said with a laugh. We bantered back and forth and I became more comfortable. Unfortunately for him, (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) two of the moles were under my left breast. Now, I know women who are very self conscious about visiting doctors. They would probably be mortified at showing where these moles were. This is silly. Hell, I had two very large baby boys and one of them decided I should be in labor for a full week before he made an appearance almost a month early. Doctors were all up in mah bidness for that, and also for complete reconstruction of my plumbing to even HAVE the second child and then after my hysterectomy. Plus I get regular waxings at a wonderful little place here. Shyness at this point is a moot issue. I think I earned the right to show a bit of skin and still look pretty good for my age. If a doctor will shy away from a little side-boob, he doesn't deserve to be a doctor.

As Nurse Kayona prepared the tools and pulled the curtain, I started stripping off my shirt and bra. I don't think she was prepared for my lack of modesty in a medical setting. Of course, I'm damn sexay in a surgical gown. *coughyeahrightcough* Capt. Herb removed the one on my back after an owowow painful lidocaine shot to the area. (Seriously, the deadening shots hurt worse than my tattoos!) Then I laid on my side so he could get to the other mole he could remove in- office. (The last one is actually a cyst to be dug out today and will require stitches. *sadpanda*) Pulling up my gown to show the area but cover my breast, it was difficult to keep the gown in place. So I said, "Screw it. I'm not that modest, you're a doctor and you'd better be able to handle seeing a boob." Off went the gown, blush went the captain. I guess there aren't a lot of women who will do that in front of him, except maybe his wife. (Sorry, ladies, he was taken.) But do you know what caused ME to be embarrassed? When he asked me to raise my left arm up above my head to stretch out the skin better. The first thing that crossed my mind was, "Oh god. Did I shave my armpits??" (yes.whew.)

Yeah, the weird things you think about when laying on a doctor's table. At least I got some pretty pink and yellow bandaids out of it. And a blush on a cute doctor.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Letter to a Bully's Parent

After yet another child died from bullying, I'm inclined to have certain thoughts, God forgive me, about the parents of these bullies. Please allow me this rant for a few minutes because I'm heartbroken.

Undear Parent of a Bully,

You may just be the reason your poor child has taken it on him/herself to pick on someone else for their appearance/race/gender/sexual preference/beliefs. Were YOU possibly the victim of such a vicious circle of hate as a child that you've passed it down to your own offspring? Because surely you would have seen the signs. Some kids are confident but some are just arrogant. Do you mess with the head of your own kid at home, thinking it'll make them tougher in life, or tell them they don't amount to anything, etc? This is wrong. On so many levels. You were given a child to love, protect, teach and be proud of, NOT belittle, taunt, disrespect and hurt. I've told my own boys that your kids may need some understanding. That your kids' life needs improvement because home sucks for them, for whatever reason. Your kids feel powerless against the misfortunes of life. Unfortunately, your kids don't really know the meaning of love and can't absorb compassion. So they strike back at mine when my boys offer friendship.

I've seen and heard grown women with the mentality of a classic Mean Girl continue a tirade against another woman and her son simply because the other woman's child was a bit younger and not quite to the level in sports that their sons were. And these same women professed to be Christian every Sunday churchgoers. It's no wonder other cultures/religions/atheists look down on Christians when YOU are the example they see. I've also seen grown men manipulate others thru guilt and intimidation to do their bidding. Your kids are sponges and WILL pick up on the subtleties, whether you think they will or not. They take those controlling influences to the playground.

You should be ashamed of yourself and held JUST as responsible for the death of a bullied kid as your children who beat/teased to death that 
precious child. I'm sick and tired of hearing another sad story in the news because you can't seem to be a grown up and teach your child the meanings of right and wrong. Parent of a bully, you SUCK. But I still love you and hope you can change.

Fed up Featherann

Sometimes, you just need a musical interlude in your life. And sometimes, that includes mashing some bubblegum pop with some metal. Oh, say like NIN's 'Head Like a Hole' mashed with 'Call Me Maybe'Admit it. You danced in your seat a little. ;)

Welcome to new readers in New Zealand and Australia (I'm going to visit there soon after we move to Okinawa!), India and the Netherlands! 

Monday, March 4, 2013


When I first started planning a wedding months ago before our actual engagement (hey, a girl was hopeful!), I began a few Pinterest boards. (Almost 1,600 followers as of this writing! Holy COW!) I had an affinity for Alice in Wonderland as a theme because the Major was so much the Mad Hatter. Quirky, funny and at times a bit off his rocker. But that suited me perfectly. And of course, when Downton Abbey came along, I was hooked into the Edwardian time period. Since that's when Lewis Carroll began his classic tome, combining the themes would be the ideal wedding. Classy and fun. As we know, the USAF had other plans, which the Major made incredible with a surprise flashmob wedding, with our own unique wedding vows.

But I didn't necessarily want it so lavish it would break the bank. After all, the Major and I would be paying for it all. Gathering our resources in friends and family, I scoured books, websites and picked the brains of loved ones for fun, inexpensive ways to pull this off. We had set it for our backyard and I began treating the grass, pulling a scrabbly heather-like weed out of the yard whenever possible, cutting back dead tree branches, planting, etc. Anne and I browsed thrift shops for old china dishes and teacups to use as placewear for the reception, which we had pared down to about 75 people. (Most cups were about 66 cents with plates upwards of $1.21 depending on wear) The checkered dance floor would go here, the croquet court (complete with flamingo yard ornaments!) over there and the Cheshire Cat DIY photobooth under the trees there. Even a Caterpillar Lounge with hookah water pipes on the patio covered with a tent for cocktail hour. At most, I was shooting for spending about $2,500, which is pretty damn cheap for a backyard wedding.

I began making paper lanterns to hang in the trees, for a whimsical look, with a bunch of old scrap paper I had, tied together with ribbon. The concept was easy:

Materials: Scissors, ruler, scrapbook paper (medium thickness or velum), glue gun and sticks, tape, paper plate, ribbon, lace or strips of old cloth.

1. Cut a hole in a small, sturdy paper plate.

2. Cut strips of square scrapbook paper into 1 1/4 inches wide, yielding about 15-20 strips per page. Cut each strip in half for multiple loops; leave uncut for longer lanterns.
3. (Save about 10-15 half strips for step 5, without looping them.) Connect strips end to end using Scotch tape or staples into loops. I found it made the lantern lighter when I used tape. Alternate patterns of loops for a mismatched look but keeping in the same color scheme.

4. Hot glue each loop to the next, about a fourth of the way down, adding loops to get the length of the lantern you want.

5. Make loops like the others in Step 3, wrapping them around the plate circle you made in Step 1. However many it takes to fill up the circle is how many loop strands you'll make. Glue loop strands to the ends of these. Allow to dry completely, laying flat.

6. Thread a piece of ribbon, lace or piece of cloth thru the bottom ends, tying the piece into a bow. Add a ribbon to the plate to attach to lights, trees, etc. Ta-DA!

Here is a finished lantern. Since we're moving though, I'll just have to pack it flat and bring back out for parties once we get to Okinawa. I still plan on having the Alice in Wonderland party but it looks like May or June, just before the Major leaves. We have to have the movers in before that happens. Anyone have a spare couch or bedroom I can crash for a couple months? :)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Life break #1

We're in the bed with the ick today. I think the pressure and stress finally got to us. We're going thru the bajillion pictures and minutes of video footage to post soon. In the meantime, enjoy this:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Foodie in Peril

"Mangiare per vivere e non vivere per mangiare." 

Eat to live and not live to eat. 

I'm addicted to Italian and Asian cuisines. Luckily for me, we're moving to Okinawa where I can learn to make authentic sushi and other Japanese dishes. I've had a Japanese cookbook since before I was first married more than 15 years ago but I've never implemented it. Too scared! Though I love to eat just about anything. Even those tiny baby octopi in jaew-sriracha sauce...NOM! I've eaten an entire appetizer of these all by myself. Grossed my mom out at our wedding reception which was held at a local Japanese restaurant, Tokyo. My 4-yo niece ate the heads and I ate the bodies. *evil aunt grin* If I wasn't already a chubby bunny, I would have eaten the entire 100 sushi boat too! I'm always excited when my kids try something new and end up liking it, especially exotic (to us) flavors. My oldest has found he really likes sushi, with favorites being Tiger or Dragon rolls. His American tummy can't quite handle sashimi, though he doesn't mind the flavors. The youngest likes eel, teriyaki yakisoba and they both really like my grilled shark. (I'll have another post soon on some of our recipes.)

Mushrooms, red onion, pears,
yellow/red peppers, carrots and celery
Unluckily for me, I'm really, really hoping there might be a deli on the island carrying cappacuolo, salami in wine, prosciutto, mozzarella balls and flatbread. Because I'm seriously hooked on them. Nearly every day for lunch, since I work from home, I have these with some veggies or fruit. Dip them in EVOO with my homemade crushed spices and I'm in heaven! And I could watch the hell out of Giada De Laurentiis. She never ceases to amaze me at how simple the dishes seem to be, even those which use lots of ingredients. One of our favorites around here is just a simple puttanesca of grilled veggies over tortellini with sweet Italian sausage. The kids ask for it at least once a week. Or we'll throw shrimp and scallops in it instead of sausage.

See, I KNOW there's a BX at Kadena AB. I KNOW we can get all kinds of fresh veggies and seafood out the wazoo. What I'm not sure of is whether they'll have some of the usual staples we have here that grace our pantry. I may need to stock up and mail myself some at Christmas!

Anyone who's lived over there is welcome to comment below. What are your experiences at Kadena like with food?