Friday, March 30, 2007

Chicago bound...

We've just been notified we must travel to Chicago!

Yes, we'll be heading to Chicago's big city in just over a week's time, one city that I can only claim landing in by air, as a layover stop to another destination at Chicago's own "O'Hare airport". This time we get to touch the city soil, meander about a wee bit and hopefully visit some friends along the way.

We won't be there long, just enough time for health interviews and tests, so if you can possibly join in and say a prayer for our safe journey, we'd very much appreciate it.

Thanks so much!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spring has sprung!

Signs of Spring…

We’re beginning to feel as though we left for a vacation in the height of our wintry weather, and then returned to spring in the blink of an eye, a drastic change occurring suddenly from one moment to the next.

All last week we were had front row seating to view and observe the permafrost drifting off the soil, rising up right off the ground. The white cloud-like steamy formations were visible from afar, easily photographed and seen in our photos. One day felt like winter, the next as though it was the middle of the summer with high temperatures heating the house and making us all uncomfortable.

Permafrost lifting from the ground as it unthaws.

Our sump pump suddenly roared on, in high demand again now that the ground has obviously becoming much wetter and almost mushy in many spots, as the ground began to thaw in such a short period of time.

It seemed strange when traveling along the water’s edge on our way to town, noting how the warmer summer-like weather attracted many bicycle riders, folks out walking or jogging or people gathering at the water’s edge taking in a sunset at day’s end. Yet, just beyond them there were still iceberg types of white drifts, frozen solid beyond the beach shores, looking extremely cold and frigid. One could only imagine how it would feel to dip a toe into the water surrounding it, even though it looked as lovely as the Caribbean waters itself, hues of green and blue.

Freely floating icebergs still in view.

This week there are so many birds working busily in the denseness of the trees out back, it sincerely sounds like we’re in the midst of a jungle when the windows are open, or we stroll out into the back yard. We’ve been watching birds working hard, flying back and forth, to and fro, and gathering things to construct their spring nests. As they dart about, often they stop momentarily to visit our birdie num num (wink, from a movie)- well stocked feeder along their return paths on our back deck. They seem to be enjoying every bit of the dog’s outdoor run this year with its copious amounts of straw for the taking, a great addition to their nesting materials. The morning doves are already making their sounds, and this year we know what they are. So far we’ve also seen our usual robins, chickadees, northern cardinals, blue jays and others, obviously also nesting close by.

The crocus’, tulips, and other tubers are budding, getting ready to burst with the next round of warmth due any day now, surely just hoping for more sunshiny weather.

All this talk of spring, sunshine, and warmer weather has focused our attention to the landscaping in the yard. After the long drawn out brick saga we endured last year (see archives for several writings on this topic), we’ve noticed the high maintenance creeping perennials threatening to take over and create chaos in the flowerbeds once again. Several of our trees are in need of being moved to a better location. We’re also in need of more soil to improve dips and valleys in the grass areas on either side of the driveway so we don’t flood there anymore, and we’ve decided to expand the dog run for the two pups to get more exercise when not being walked or let around the children when out and about outdoors.

Ideas have been flourishing since we moved into the house last year, and the goal was to seek out the expertise of a landscaping nursery representative, who came by and paid us a visit this morning to see how he can assist us, and we shall soon see if we can afford to hire out the harder work load to him (wink). I know I can’t begin the dig out and transplant the size of trees in need of relocating myself, nor do I have a vehicle to transport some of the goods we require, however between myself and the teens, perhaps a unique and official spring fling workout would do us all good, a great form of exercise anyway and one we were used to last year hauling wheel barrow after wheelbarrow around loaded with bricks inside. smile


Puppy love!

Thoughts are continually evoked when thinking of the possibilities of this new season officially upon us, formally crossed off on the calendar as the mode of being.

Glorious Spring!

Bunny love!

Here’s a list I’m working on this new few weeks over here myself, with the help of the children of course who are pressing us for extra chores for pocket

  • Have the eaves troughs cleaned out
  • Reorganization in the garage and the barn to ensure all garden tools are within reach, snow shovels placed to the back.
  • Planning of our garden plot, move the raspberries and strawberries nearer to the house.
  • Set up an official compost bin.
  • Trim unsightly branches and old foliages.
  • Inspect outdoor pots for planting some annuals for the deck.
  • Have the lawn mower serviced, the beast leaking oil in the pneumatics..grrr.
  • Clean the deck.
  • Scrub down the barbeque.
  • Call the serviceman to inspect and get the air conditioner ready for summer
  • Wash the windows in and out, let the sun shine in!
  • Sweep the front walkways.
  • Transplant several floral blooming plants around.
  • Gather outdoor toys and ensure they are all in good order.
  • Check all the bicycles for necessary tune-ups.
  • Reorganize the barn and sweep it out well.
  • Stock up on animal food, straw bales, and pet toys.
  • Clear out the old doghouse left here by former owners, burn it as it’s been wasp and mice ladened.
  • Pull out the old rabbit hutch in the long grass, burn it too.
  • What to do with the former small chicken coop? Check for safety.
  • Find a swing set as promised for the little ones.
  • Change the wreath on the back door to the spring one.
  • Clean out the garage and change over the sports equipment lying beneath other winter sports gear.
  • Air out the hockey gear well….ewwwwwww
  • Make sure there’s a kite ready for a blustery day, and lots of string.
  • Grass care, what it needs, make the list.
  • Attend the maple sugaring party to come.
  • Pull out the wildflower and bird guides for reference sake to identify migratory birds and lovely blooms in the fields.
  • Place some enticing feed out for the wild rabbits.
  • Watch the spring skies; Venus is especially clear and bright these past few weeks.
  • Vacuum both vans out well, careful to do a good cleaning detail inside as well.
  • Rev up the weed whackers and begin cutting down the unsightly long grass at the back of the property, those that attracted so many mosquitoes, as west nile was likely around last summer. (Check out the twine supply first.)
  • Scrub down the wooden chairs, the patio furniture too.
  • Delight in the singing of the birds, the quiet of the country and the joy of watching the children playing happily outdoors again.
  • Fill the freezer with future barbeque dinner possibilities, and gather the recipes we love to use doing those cookouts.
  • Stock up on ice, lemonade, summer drinks, and lots of lemon and cucumber for the water jug embellishments.
  • Enjoy the longer days, crickets at night and the calm at the end of the day.
  • Prepare to meet and greet many beautiful sunsets ahead…

Happy spring to you!

Monday, March 26, 2007

While away, some came to play...

While away, the mice did play!

If you are familiar with my previous writing about mice in the country, you’ll know I’m not too thrilled about them running around my home. If you haven’t a clue what I’m referring to, then take a browse through a prior post entitled “OF MICE AND MEN” (HERE) to read it first…

Today I’m taking a detour from the trip writings (though most are already composed and simply need to be uploaded with photos in several more parts), I want to make mention of the fact it didn’t take us long to realize, “While away, the mice did play!”.

During the initial days of our return, we noticed our dogs spending much time upon their return scouting out their home digs, pawing and scratching into the straw within the dog run. Two days ago, when returning from mama-taxi duties, we spied our husky chomping on something, obviously not a toy!

Knowing all too well their hunting senses when watching them sniffing around before we left, I knew then and there without a full view of the “thing”, it just had to be a mouse!

Sure enough, she dropped it several times, scooped it up, and then chomped down hard again. The little critter was not moving, and the husky didn’t appear to be finished to her satisfaction fully when we arrived home and noticed her. One ziplock body bag was in order to grab and seek out the deceased critter... our son's duty since it was his dog!

Last evening, we awoke abruptly when a strong thunder and lightning show danced about over our heads. Yes, spring has sprung; the storms are here again, in earnest.

New "spring" flowers from my hubby!

This morning we were convinced spring had been here for some time, obviously knowing who won the cloud wars overhead the night before, when the sun rose and glimmered upon us at first light. I summoned to everyone to crack open his or her bedroom windows, allowing in the fresh crisp air for the day. During the night however, our son who has his bedroom in the basement heard the scratching of a mouse (or other such critter), perhaps he thought, in the walls after a full search in the wee hours uncovered nothing at all. But, when he opened his blinds to honor my wishes of window openings, there was a little wee fellow between his window and mesh screen, clearly finding his way there during the night and attempting to gnaw his way out somehow, small holes all over the window screen to prove it, but not escaping until assistance was (happily to all) on the way for it to leave the area.

What a commotion!

Everyone buzzed about watching,
eagerly awaiting its departure.

The sun shone on us all day long, heating the winter grounds, and becoming unthawed nicely, thick steam emanating upward from the soil. Temperatures soared to 25 degrees (74 F) becoming t-shirt weather for all of us, requiring the barn windows to be flung open, allowing all the animals some fresh air and cooler temperatures they prefer to have anyway from the type of breeds they are. In fact, they loved winter with its cool air and freezing temperatures.

As the little mouse scurried from its area of entrapment, our older son followed it around to the front, where it scooted underneath a piece of wood in the flowerbed, and when lifted, many small tunnels were noted in the ground below. Picking at the soil with the shovel he was holding, two little mice jumped out and ran away, their nest dismantled completely. Problem is, they just went on their way somewhere else, but how many, and where they are is the question.

So, until the next time then, but I must update you, mice are no longer found in the attic, six in all was the last count, certainly more than enough for us. They can resume their days in farmer’s fields instead and the crop season is surely almost upon us for them to do so.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

New book for "Dummies" we recommend to you.


Welcome to all our new visitors.

We highly recommend this new book to each and every one of you, our family and friends who frequent this blog.

Seriously this is somewhat of a disclaimer of sorts, but we are actually using the writings posted here to create and bind a book for the future, one which will indeed eventually settle as our keepsake into our personal library for the purpose of a memorable reference on life in the east. It will hold many precious memories during the time period of however long we will in fact live here.

We encourage you to leave us comments on any postings or email us anytime.

Thank you for being there for us, for your good wishes, your prayers and we want to make it well known how truly blessed we've been - absolutely beyond measure!

Thank you, thank you!


Friday, March 23, 2007

Imagine this?

Your Hawaiian Name is:

Lana Kalama

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Tag! You're it for a Marriage Meme

Marriage Meme

My friend tagged me with a wonderful meme! Here are my answers...

1. Where/How did you meet? We met at my husband’s home one evening in late September when I was visiting his sister. He was taking a break from playing ping-pong with his younger brother when we were introduced to each other. Then we met again in February at a Valentine’s dance, where cupid flew and hit us hard.

2. How long have you known each other? Gosh, a LONG time! Over 32 years!

3. How long after you met did you start dating? Over 4 months

4. How long did you date before you were engaged? We had a rough and rocky beginning, so about eight months in total, and a long hard road when I finally agreed to wear the engagement ring, after I first refused when he “told” me we would marry and I waited until he actually proposed properly. We both cried when we finally agreed we were destined for one another, and then became mostly inseparable from then on.

5. How long was your engagement? 5 months, though it was initially supposed to be four months longer.

6. How long have you been married? Just celebrated our “Pearl” anniversary – 30 Years!

7. What is your anniversary? March 5th

8. How many people came to your wedding reception? Not sure, about sixty?

9. What kind of cake did you serve? Marble. I’ll never forget, as it was the trend to please both chocolate and vanilla lovers at the time.

10. Where was your wedding? St. Patrick’s Church.

11. What did you serve for your meal? Gee, both mothers arranged it all and the day was quite a blur for us both, but it was yummy with both a Western and Indonesian flare.

12. How many people were in your wedding party? We had our Maid of honor, two Bridesmaids, Best Man, and two Groomsmen.

13. Are you still friends with them all? Just had a lovely reunion with several but haven’t seen our Best man and of our Groomsmen in years.

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony? He bit his lip real hard trying not to, but we both spilled tears. We had much joy in our hearts that only we knew about secretly. What we were experiencing remains a secret to this day we two share alone.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day? Finally, at last, being married and on our way to our new life, the right way!

16. Any funny moments? Yes! My sister and bridesmaids sewed everything in my going away bag to my nightgown, while my brothers and cousin decorated our car to the nines. Confetti flew out of our heater for six months!

17. Any big disasters? No, none, BUT, what were we thinking to have my hubby in a WHITE tuxedo? Shake our heads with that one...

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon? We were not able to have one for eighteen years, though we did have a quick overnight at a nice hotel, all too short though as we were expected back the next morning for a gift opening brunch at my parent’s home.

19. How long were you gone? 16 hours at best.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change? Not much, though in the church, we would prefer to have been down in front of the altar, rather than to the side upon it facing everyone. Emotions were all too high that day, seeing others made it harder. As well, it would have been more intimate to have our backs to everyone and make eyes at each other…smile. If Videographers were popular back then, perhaps some video highlights to show the grandchildren would be nice too.

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on? I sleep on the right side of the bed now, switching sometimes during a pregnancy to be more comfortable on my left side when necessary.

22. What size is your bed? We’ve upgraded to a king size bed, sometimes room enough for little ones between us in the middle of the night still too.

23. Greatest strength as a couple? Our greatest strength as a couple is being able to recognize behind the eyes what is happening there, and also facing life’s adversities hand in hand, holding one another up at all times.

24. Greatest challenge as a couple? There have been many, but our favorite line is “This too shall pass”. At this time, it is health issues, hoping and praying for a miracle, still hand in hand walking this journey together called life!

25. Who literally pays the bills? Husband earns – Wife delegated duty to pay bill officially.

26. What is your song? “Still The One” - by Shania Twain. Our daughter taped a copy of it for our 25th anniversary and surprised us during dinner by turning it on for us to listen to.

27. What did you dance your first dance to? We didn’t have any dancing at our wedding as we were married at eleven o’clock in the morning, though we did have a luncheon, and then left towards dinnertime to be alone together.

28. Describe your wedding dress: Classic and simple. There were sixteen satin covered buttons combined down the back and along the wrist at the bottom of the long sleeves, It was not embellished in any way, no lace, beads or sequins. It had a slightly scooped neckline, fell completely full length to the floor and the fabric was a lovely white crepe satin material.

Since our wedding was in March, one couldn’t predict the weather, therefore my mother had the idea to wear a shawl/cape over top the dress to match the girl’s dresses somewhat with fall colored flowers on it. It was fuzzy soft, and when I stood on the staircase to have a picture taken, I matched the wallpaper behind me, as it was velvety furry patterns as well…laugh.

I still have the dress and cape today, and our girls love to try it all on to have a picture taken in them.

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding? My flowers were white narcissus with an orange center, and the greenery was cascading mini wondering jew. The bridesmaids had similar arrangements, though yellow narcissuses were used with the greenery. The men had a boutonnière of a simple narcissus and greenery.

30. Are your wedding bands engraved? No

How old were you when you got married? 17 and 20, old in our minds though still young at heart today. Contrary to most kids these days, we knew what we wanted at a young age, and were fearless to begin this radical change together, walking side by side, hand in hand, along the road to a lifelong marital committment. smile

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Love never fails.


Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
never fails.

1 Corinthians 13

Some say when cupid strikes, take the arrow.

Joy speaks!

Some say when God directs you to a mate, marry him/her.

More Joy!

Some say, she isn’t right for him, we don’t think he’s right for her. However, would someone tell me just how he or she thinks “THEY” know that answer themselves?


Some say when you are a teenager, or in your early twenties, an early marriage is naturally doomed. Why?

Naysayers are there like a bad smell, handing around, negative, a dark shadow painting all early marriages with the same brush! Why?

Some say a lot of things, becoming a grossly exaggerated naysayer who could really choose to use their energies more wisely, being more productive day by day, blessing others instead of dragging them down and stepping on them once they land on the ground drained from emotional outer baggage, mostly from the tremendous force of negativity.

Naysayers again!

Some say they believe God is the “Alpha and the Omega”, as he truly knows the beginning and the end of any couple's story. We prefer to think he has had a plan all along, for us in particular, as a couple, and along the way in our married life together. HE knows how it all began, and HE knows too, how it will all come to pass…until we meet again in the forever of eternity.

Yes, I’m speaking about us, my hubby, and me.

There is a difference when love surrounds future possibilties, a warmth so soothing from loved ones who cheer from the sidelines, who aren't afraid to fall to their knees and pray hard for that particular golden nugget of wisdom to offer, rather than nattering them to death, or even uttering a simple heavenly plea for God to intervene and assist a young couple by wrapping them up in a lovely hedge of protection. It is absolutely pivotal to offer a couple their "space" to grow and flourish as necessary. Oh, and hugs at every turn.

This is what our parents did for us!

This was our golden key to be sure.

Our parent's gentle and godly influence, their total unconditional love and continued support through many years, has always been immensely appreciated by us both. The love of a parent can mimic no other. We had love, lots of it! And, we love our parents in return too!

Without such parents to emulate or hold us up when the road is rocky, we feel a young couple will struggle often, grasping at straws and floundering to the goal of knitting together as "one", body and soul.

Moral of the story? Hands off parents, leave them to become the couple God destined them to be...hands off. smile And, if I may be blunt - go home Naysayers! Be gone! smile

We were young, we were vulnerable, we had big dreams and drifted onward ho in this journey called life with steaming force, likened to a bulldozer we were told in early years, and yet, the roller coaster ride has been the thrill of our lifetimes... so far.

Celebrate with us as we are in our
"Pearl Year",
30 years later after we tearfully pledged
"I do"
at the altar.

More to come...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Home Sweet Home!

Aloha and Mahalo!

Celebrating "30 years" in Hawaii

After close to three weeks, we were able to leave the west all together yesterday as a family, our daughter passing the doctor's inspection with the timely ear infection she was diagnosed with several days earlier. She though wasn’t sure, insecure at best to experience the ear pressure awaiting her for the two flights ahead of course, then when complaining about her stiff neck and sore shoulders, she realized she’d pulled a muscle and a massage from mommy was in order. It was touch and go right up to 4am just before departing for the airport as to whether I would remain behind with her or not for a few more days, or whether she would attempt the first flight east, then take the train with me the rest of the way then, rather than flying again. She slept most of the way home, having no problems whatsoever. All went well, a great relief!

After driving 1 1/2 hours upon arrival to the east heading for our home, we arrived last night safe and sound, and enjoyed climbing into our own beds once again. After six separate hotel stays, a rented house stay, a few children overnight at friend's homes, and many flights of travel in between everything, it was time to come home. Some of our children woke up this morning and mentioned they had to "think" about where they were, having been in so many beds the past few weeks. (laugh)

Sleep has been difficult the past few nights as our minds are full of instant replays, the film reels rolling in slow motion, hubby and I taking in the gulp of each memory made and treasured from our trip with loved ones present, our oh so special and cherished family and friends. A hearty and big thank you to each one of you who filled our hearts with such profound joy and love during our time in the west, we are so incredibly grateful to you all.

Life resumed to normal easily here in the east, our first realization being we were so good about using up all the perishable foods before leaving on our trip, a grocery stop was necessary immediately, at least to get us by for a few days.

The rabbits, hamster, and all the fish faired well, though their cages/tanks are in bad need of a hygienic change.

This morning the dogs were already picked up early this morning from the kennel, but the men are out fixing the gate to the dog run and the large gate to the backyard area, as they noticed both had been severely frozen this past few weeks, snapping at the hinges in the cold while we were away. Never a dull moment I assure you over here!

After being climatized for some time with warmer weather patterns hovering on average at 86 degrees on the thermometer, we are cranking up the heat today and the fireplace is on. Snow flurries were upon us this morning though only for a short while, the sun appearing now and brightening up our day. Even with the lovely sunshine, we can see our breath before us when exiting outdoors, so truly it’s not just us, it is COLD here. Brrrr….

I’ll be back with much to update you all soon, as I’m in the process of downloading some photos as I type this up.

Love to all!

Thank you again!