Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas To All....

Here are a few of our CHRISTmas highlights. The first is the we had the two missionaries from Hachinohe over for dinner on Christmas Eve, one of which is Australian. It turns out he has no clue about Rudolph, but he shared the following song with us, who knew what Santa used Down Under!



We also made Gingerbread houses with some friends, The Webers, Beckers and Tuckers.

Had a fabulous Christmas Eve dinner with lots of friends: the Pattersons and Alleys minus Merrill, who did Skype us as he was boarding the plane to Afghanistan!
Did the Nativity with the children, it is very fun seeing their excitement. Here's the cast!
Went sledding as well as ice skating!
Had a fabulous Christmas Morning with the Boys, one of the best ever. Max loved his legos that Santa got on Ebay. Sam loved his "whool town Geotrax" Santa found on the Misawa virtual yard sale. Santa is a bargain shopper!

Farnsworths came over for a Christmas dinner and games just like last year, minus Em cracking her head open (on a sharp corner last year, luckily he's a doctor with super glue).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Igloo

Today the snow was perfect. I got home from a couple of errands and Em wanted me to stay inside. I said No way the snow is too perfect. So I went out with the boys and wore myself out building this:
The whole neighborhood of kids ended up migrating over and taking part. Last year I never got the roof on, but was able to complete it this year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Treats

This year Em made home made marshmallows and I made peppermint fudge for our neighbors.

Why am I telling you this? Because I wanted to show you these:


These are the sticky beaters Em let him have from the marshmallows.And this is after I put them in the sink to be cleaned, after he'd been working on them for 15 minutes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Favorite Pictures From Kyoto

Here are some of my favorite pictures of the 300 or so pictures from our October Kyoto trip. IT was quite a daunting task to get through them and delete the extras. Em even accuses me of deleting some of the pictures she wanted to use, but that is bollocks I do declare.

The Kyoto tower. Seen from a high walkway over Kyoto station, reached by accident after riding 7 "terrifying" (for Em) escalators.
Also in Nara- Kasuga Shrine know for its thousands of lanterns. Really cool to see them lining every path. People donate money to the shrine and get on of these. Kinda like a donors wall.





Nijo Castle

The floors of Nijo Castle. Called nightingale floors, this metal apparatus causes the floor to creak so no one can sneak up and kill the Shogun. (The Shogun was the Military leader while the Emporer was the ultimate Divine leader. It seems this was a common power struggle for Japan. The Shogun had to live in Edo Tokyo while the Emporer lived in Kyoto, while it was the Capital. This castle is the place the Shogun stayed while visiting in Kyoto. It was filled with the most amazing wall paintings and wooden carvings on doors etc.)

Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion)
(Max's piano teacher wrote the name of this temple in Kanji in M's piano book after seeing the pics on facebook)This place was beautiful, but crowded with these fun kids. They loved seeing Gabe, who is on my shoulders right now, and then went crazy when I took out the camera.
The Gion-the district of the Geisha. I was among a group of paparazzi waiting out on this street to catch a glimpse of a geisha unfortunately I didn't see any before we went to see a show where two did perform a dance.

In Nara city is the Todaiji Temple, which houses the largest Bronze Buddha in the world and boy is he big.

This is also where the attack of the "tame" deer happened.
This one was Em's. I was trying to get a good shot but failed. Good work Em!
On the last day we went to Kiyomizu-dera, another Buddhist temple. This was the final thing I wanted to see. It was also in the same district where all the famous Kyotoware, ceramics that proved to be out of our price range. As well as the home of one of the most famous Kyoto potters. Em toured the house while the boys and I played Simon says in the little neighborhoods streets.
The wooden balcony is famous for being built of only wood. Ice cream of course.

Notice the Kyoto tower to the right of the pagoda. I liked having the modern tower with the ancient one.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Put Christ into X-Mas

I was waiting for Max to finish his piano lesson one evening and saw a schedule on a white board. It was a group's meeting schedule. On it was a meeting for a X-mas party. So I wiped the X with my finger and wrote in Christ.

So there!!!!

Ever since being a little kid, no I not still a little kid Em, I have hated seeing X-Mas. The first time I remember seeing it was a sign on I-80 in Fairfield for X-Mas Trees. Ever since I cringe each time I see Christ's name abbreviated as an X. It it the perfect symbol for how far our society is from the true worship of Christ on Christmas.

Well, have a good Christmas, a happy x-ikah, a happy X-zaa, and a merry festivus for the rest of us!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Primary Program

Sunday we had our primary program. It was awesome.

It was filled with equal parts humor, tragedy, drama, and of course some spirituality.

Naturally you had the little boy up there waving at his parents in the back of the chapel the whole time. Then there is the kid who does the drive by with his line: not stopping at the podium, but rather his voice starts out low as he approaches the mic and then then is unintelligible as he brushes by it with his lips and then fades out as he passes. The kid who seems to give his part in a foreign language (this is the majority of them) and one where only every other word is a real word. Those who forgot their lines and then there are the kids who know their line perfectly. Those who have an adorable voice. The little kid who surprises you by knowing his part and saying it clearly at the correct distance from the microphone. The most classic of all was showcased by Max at the beginning.

It was the song "I lived in Heaven." The primary chorister arranged it so that Max and two other 7/8 year old boys to sing the second verse. They were positioned in front of the podium and had even been correctly instructed in how/when to raise and lower the microphone for the second verse. I was seated in the back with the two babies (see Em's blog for explanation as the the acquisition of a second baby, yes Gabe is still a baby.) So I couldn't really see Max up front. Then the music started and there was Max's beautiful monotonic voice singing directly into the mic twice to three times as loud as all the other kids. Everyone was smiling and giggling as they looked backward at me. It got really hot in there for a while as I tried not to laugh at it too. It was very funny. He sounded wonderful though and knew all the words to the song. Eventually the microphone was repositioned but he was still near it and continued to out do the other kids.

It was a great program, spiritual as well as entertaining. I made me miss teaching primary while I listened to all those kids singing about Jesus and eternal families. Children are great.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

We went bowling today because the weather was as gloomy as Em's bowling. Usually she is a good to great bowler, but today she was a little off. We are attributing it to the fetus. We went with our good friends. We had two lanes of kids and one for the adults. I finsihed the game with a Turkey to take the lead! My first one! Alas, the combined spouse score wasn't enough to be the H's and we bought the milkshakes. =(

Em and I also got to go on a date to see "Julie and Julia." No Wes it wasn't my idea and I didn't enjoy it. (I actually did like it but don't tell my friends, I just like cooking and Meryl Streep did such a good job I forgot it was her so I enjoyed it.) (I don't like Meryl Streep). It was funny sitting next to two vegetarians while watching them cook so much meat and debone ducks.
video

Oh Yeah! We also watched and quoted THREE AMIGOS!!!!!!!!! True Story.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Ride to the Post Office with Sam


Dad after dinner after the Alley's leave can we pwease pwease pwease play Lego Star Wars?

No, I have a meeting tonight with the Branch President.

Oh yeah. He sucks.*

Why?

One time at the Halloween Party he spanked my bootie. For no reason.

Was he kidding?


No.


I think he was.


TRICKED YOU!! HA HA HA HA

(then a minute later)


Tricking is supposed to happen!

-----
Quote 2

Dad when you went to Jerusalem did you pray and then Jesus came down and you saw him?

No, but I did pray and feel the Holy Ghost.

Well you were more faithful than us.


*Emily would like to state for the record that she does not say "sucks" in front of children.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The longest Day of my life...Or how to get from Fairfield toTokyo

On Tuesday morning I awoke ready to head to the SF international airport (SFO). I had buffered in a lot of time at each step of the trip, driving, traffic, bridge, rental car return, Airtrain to terminal, checking in, security. The only thing I didn't buffer for was the TCCOR 3. Turns out that the typhon that hit Japan, and caused Emily to have to move the trampoline, came to play with the bay area. I began to trip balancing between hurrying to the airport and hydroplanning. This became academic once I hit the halfway point and couldn't go much faster than a bannana slug. So I listened to liberal public radio and didn't stress since NPR kept telling me that the the average time for delays at SFO was over 2.5 hours. One 4 lane stretch of the freeway was reported to be flooded with only one lane passable. By the time I got there they had luckily drained it and the traffic began to move again. (That was about 3 miles from SFO). So I had buffered two hours for the drive and it took close to 3.

Anyway I got to the United Checkin counter and the lady asked if she could help me. It was 11am and the flight leaves at 11:30. "I'm really late for my flight to Tokyo." "Yes", she said, "come over here and lets see what we can do." Turns out that delay stuff didn't apply to my flight. She was super kind and helpful and got me on the 1:30 flight which luckily wasn't sold out and had an exit row seat available. At least this way I got to have lunch there and buy Em her Boudin sourdough bread round for her clam chowder I bought her at Boudin's at the Wharf. (She loved it.)

Made it onto the plane just fine and we taxied out. Then we sat at the runway for 2 hours!!! There was too strong a cross wind for the plane to take off. I guess the trampoline really was in danger if this mammoth 777 couldn't handle it! Luckily there was a nice Japanese stewardess (Ai) sitting near me. But the delay allowed some guy to come and sit next to me invading the little bit of heaven I had in my emergency row by myself. Due to this inconvienience the stewardess and her collegues treated me extremely nice the whole time. Offered me champagne at the end, extra snackes a whole bottle of water instead of just a cup and a little bag of comfort from 1st class. United was very kind to me that day. This long trip was fine since the people around me were nice. Thank you Ai and other ladies who helped me.

Once in Tokyo, Narita Airport, I took the 1.5 hours bus ride, on the Friendly Airport Limousine, (If you call a bus a limo does it make it more comfortable), to the Haneda Airport and spent the night in a smoking Hotel Room. Not happy about that one. The next day I flew up to Misawa with no untoward events and was reunited gleefully by my family. The boys gave me the three best hugs!

*Quick Airline Review for International Travel: Delta has the best in-flight entertainment, United was good, Northwest not too bad, American Airlines was not so nice.

Monday, October 19, 2009

5K for Fae

I did the Misawa Air Base Breast Cancer Awareness 5K! I got my best time at 21:02.
(The route was allegedly 400m short, but who is counting)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Astronauts Rock!

Today Sam and I and Gabe got to meet three of the NASA astronauts! They were in Misawa for the day and we happened to be in the building just as they were about to leave. I talked to the man next to me a bit and asked if he'd been "out there" yet and he said he'd been on one mission to the space station to drop off some Japanese parts and work on the Japanese part of the station. He did 3 space walks. I asked how it was and he said it is indescribable and life changing to see the earth from space. Wow! How cool. Yeah, well I get to do fillings on screaming kids!!! That is life changing too! It was real neat to meet them and feel a tiny particle of their coolness. I actually wasn't that exited when I heard they were here, but when I was next to them it was really cool and exciting. They were very kind to all the kids and adults.

I asked Sam what they do and he responded "They go into space and protect us from the aliens."

*Thank you Mrs. Irvine for taking Sam's picture!
**Sam saw both his Kindergarten teacher and teacher's aid today. He ran to both of them and gave them both giant hugs. I'm so happy to see him doing well this year! He even walked around the track where we saw on of them holding her hand the whole lap.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I left my heart in San Francisco and just found it again!

I spent the last weekend in SF for a dental seminar. It was so fun being back in my city by the bay. (Yes you can draw out the word bay in the voice of Steve Perry, most acceptable.) My mom was going to meet me at the Airport, from Utah, and when I spotted her, my Dad was there too!!!


So we started off our trip with Costco, of course. (You don't understand so don't try). Then reaffirmed my love for Chevy's Salsa. Followed by a trip through Golden Gate Park. We spent an hour on the chilly Baker Beach which has The GG Bridge at its northern end (as well as nude gay men, but we ignored that). Then we visited the art studio of Paul Ferny. He has awesome landscape paintings and was a very nice gallery host. (Thanks Paul!!!! We'll buy a painting someday!) Checked into the hotel and then ate dinner at my Dad's favorite SF spot, The Tadich Grill, also the oldest restaurant in SF. Fabulous calamari steak.

The next day we went to the Oakland Temple, bought Max some scriptures for his upcoming baptism in December, all are invited! Then we went to Fog City Diner, yum, topped off with a Ghirardelli Hot Fudge Sundae, the best in the world. Followed by an air show with the Blue Angels! They were practising for the Fleet Week Air Show on Sat/Sun for which they didn't fly, due to fog.

We then went up to my old school and home. I became teary eyed when I saw our old apartment and smelt the beautiful eucalyptus scent in the air. I loved it there! IT was weird though not having any friends there to visit.

My brother Mark came and we fulfilled our old tradition eating in North Beach, SF's Italian district, and getting Gelato. Trattoria Pinocchio is my favorite restaurant there and we tried lots. Get the gnocchi! He stayed the night with us and may or may not have slept in my bed. Brothers!

Then my class started on Friday. That night I went over to Fisherman's Wharf and got a whole dungenous crab and my fav Boudin's clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl. Got Em some maternity clothes at Old Navy and the boys some star wars shirts. (Don't tell her she hasn't seen them yet.) Saturday was great cause I met our Friends from SF ward (yes we also went to Cheesecake Factory.) It was great to see Shelly, Alex, and Adrienne and Kathy too. It was awesome to hear about all the youth doing well with whom we worked while in SF. Good job guys!!!!

OK, Sunday the class ended and I took the Ferry across the Bay and my brother picked me up and brought me back to his house in Fairfield. Today we went golfing and did some of Em's bidding at Walmart. (Cheap stuff adds up fast!)

Now we are going to In-N-Out and tonight Pietros's, our fam's fav pizza!

So the trip can be summed up as Eating Shopping and Eating oh and some Family too. Its a nice life!!!!! Now I have to work some suitcase magic.

-pictures will most likely be added at some point.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One of my favorite Joys

The Market!
Just off base is a little market with kind Japanese women running it. Just stepping inside lifts my spirit and soothes my soul. They usually have great prices on their produce too. For example, those giant green onions were 100Yen, the tomatoes 300Yen. The tomatoes at the commissary would have been three times that much probably, Plus its local and really fresh not to mention uniform dark red through out the whole tomato. They have some of the best little yellow cherry tomatoes too. You can't tell the scale but those green pears are about as big as my foot and the the onions as long as my arm! I also saw a Nashi or asian pear there today for 400Yen. It was beautiful and I barely was able to put it down and walk away. They are one of the greatest things to eat.

This feeling is only surpased by the trip to the Apple Lady. My friend calls it the Apple Market and since she was here first, I guess she is right. Anyway it is right by the train station and church. This lady is so nice and always throws in something for free, like a basket of plums or the like. There I buy a crate of about 80 apples for 1000Yen, where as they are at least a dollar at the commissary

Side note: I have never ever had as good an apple as I've had in Japan. They are so crisp, flavorful and juicy delicious.

One last market is the 9 day market. A true farmers market. It is at a plaza in the city on ever day of the month with a 9 in it: 9/19/29. Here you can get anything from fruit to veggies to honey to seeds to flowers to fish to garage sell items. There is one vendor there that is totally high pressure sales. Whenever I buy something she/they will pretend cry until I buy more. Kinda funny and it works.

Well, that is why I'm feeling bloggy today! despite being exhausted.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Darn Kids

Today I was feeling happy, despite a generally hard/bad day, I guess it was just really sunny out. Anyway, I took Gabe Jogging in the bike trailer converted to jogger stroller and stopped at the BX to buy the boys some toys. Gabe was excited about his transformer and equally excited about giving Max and Sam theirs, well I think he was partial to Max.

So we got back and Gabe rushed to take them theirs. I gave M and S their new transformers and they were so excited jumping up and down cheering and chanting: DAD YOU ARE SO AWESOME. I LOVE YOU. I CAN' T BELIEVE HOW COOL YOU ARE!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YO SO MUCH!

well, that wasn't exactly what happened.

Gabe did rush to give them the toys and I did give them to them. After which Sam promptly took his and went back to watching his friend play the DS. Max at least forced out a meager Thanks Daddy after I stared him down.

Luckily I had prepared myself by trying to erase my expectations, at least the majority of them.

Anyway, they do like them and I was feeling like they could use a random gift from their yenny pinching father.

-I also understand that sometimes the true excitement doesn't show all the time when you get a present. I have been accused of this many a time by my family, dissapointing them by my reaction, despite feeling happy on the inside.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lake Towada-The Perfect Memorial Day Weekend

Last weekend was great. We found a great all you can eat Japanese restaurant on Th night (I gorged myself). Had a beach bash Friday night (yes Friday was a PACAF family day!)(Don't you want to join the AF and have a PACAF family day)(Don't you want to know what PACAF is?)(Guess). Saturday was a perfect day of kayaking at Lake Towada. (A volcanic lake about 1.5-2 hour scenic drive from us)We had previously found this perfect little park with a great lawn, playground, picnic area, small beach perfect for the kids and launching of kayaks. We had about 10 families up there playing. I didn't know "Three Flys Up" could be so much fun and painful as an adult, although the women would argue about us being adults. Then there was one final festival up at the Lake and I went to get some pics of the Nebuta floats lite up at night and the Akita lanterns, which I didn't see. Em was festivaled out so I went with some of the other friends and she headed home with other friends. Then Monday we watched the BYU-OU game and we didn't even know the result yet!! (We have to watch it on Monday since BYU plays on Sunday in Japan. So we have to have a college football "Fast" until Monday. Its almost as hard as a real fast!) That was followed by a fun round of Frisbee Golf with my buddy Wes and a few of our kids. Max actually played all 9 holes with us.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

ENDEX

ENDEX=End of Exercise

Never has an acronym brought such feelings of jubilant glee/happiness/cease of swearing/genuine relief. The past three days have been horrible. The base was doing an "exercise." This was to simulate attacks on the base and since North Korea are our naughty neighbors in this neck of the world the attacks were assumed "dirty" until proven otherwise. This is practice for the graded exercise by the Air Force.

What does this mean? It means I was not a dentist these past few days rather I was in charge of the Triage Team. We started out in MOPP2. This entails wearing over boots/pants/coat/very heavy helmet/even heavier protective vest and carrying the gas mask and gloves. Doesn't sound too bad, and it wasn't at first. The first alarm came and we had to go into MOPP 4. This added the gloves and the gas mask and ducking for cover. (Thank you Elementary School Earthquake drills for the preperation!) Still, not horrible. It lasted about 30 minutes and by that time I was in the middle of a panic attack and feeling very claustrophobic. But I survived. My friend, who "played" in the last exercise, said the longest they were ever kept in MOPP4 was about a half hour or so.

Then a few hours later we hear the next alarm and go back into MOPP4. Only this time the nausea hits me at about 90 minutes! We were in it for about two hours, shattering the last record! It was absolutely miserable.

Can't imagine it?

Let me illustrate the progression: It starts with an uncomfortable cement floor, lying down, trying to fall asleep but worrying about not being able to breath while asleep in a respirator, then about 4o minutes the gas mask feels like it is constricting your head and tearing into your ear, at times the nose itches but can't be scratched, the helmets weight begins to increase combining with the constriction to give the MOPP headache, the leaded vest weighs down on the shoulders increasing the headache, sweat soaks into everything, then Triage team is activated to go triage casualties and you stand up and get hit by nausea (yes these are all symptoms of heat exhaustion). Then you drink some water from the gas mask tube attachment and it takes like rotten plastic... You get the idea. This happened 3 or 4 times each day. Today, day 3, everyone cringed every time there was an overhead page, fearing the dreaded words, Alarm Blue MOPP4!

I survived the attacks and the exercises and did well as the Triage Team Chief. And am a much better person for enduring it. Yeah Whatever! I'm glad to be done and hope to never play this game again. I'm glad I'm not in Korea where they do this much more often. Their was much rejoicing when Endex was called.

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