Thursday, January 29, 2009

Keep Your Inner Groin Soft

Yeah, exactly what I thought while doing a Yoga workout the other day. Inspired by my friend Merrill, I have recently decided to make Yoga part of my Weekly workout routine. Before you make fun of me jsut know that it a lot harder than you might think. I figure that it help me with flexability and such. I already have some lingering back pain and as a dentist it is only going to get worse.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Trip Up Hakkoda

We had an Elders' Quorum Snowshoe expedition today. We went snowshoeing up in the Hakkoda mountains. (As you look at the Japanese characters for Hakkoda - 八甲田 - the first kanji is the number eight. Hakkoda is basically a range of eight mountains offering an extensive area for getting deep into the heart of the backcountry.) It was about a 2 hour drive from Misawa. Join me on the recreation of the trip (as in new create not recreation as in exercise, though they both can apply.

This is the beginning on the trail, which is marked by small signs in the trees. We drove up the mountain to the trail head where the snow banks on the side of the road was about 5 feet high.
Four minutes after beginning, I became worried as I was already winded and way too hot. After shedding a layer, (it is really hard to know how much to wear when it can be -40 degree and yet you'll be sweating), I felt better yet still winded. After trudging through the wicked nice powder for about a mile we crossed into a ravine/river bed (no sign of the water 20 feet below except a nice sulfur smell). We then proceeded up this ravine for the next mileish. It stayed powdery for a while then became crunchy and finally icy until we reached the top. These trees were covered in the iciest, hardest snow I've ever seen. The top was a ridge between two of the Hakkoda peaks. Once at the top we traversed another 200 yards to a cabin, the destination. This cabin, I guess, it owned by the government and can be used anytime by anyone. You just show up. We meet our scout troop there, who had come up the day before.

This cabin was crazy. It sits on what looked like a 6 foot high slab of concrete. You climb in at the top (due to the vast depth of snow) through this little doorway and immediately climb down a latter into the cabin. There is one room with three levels of deep long shelves for sleeping. In the middle is an open area for kerosene heater etc. Cool place, but not the type of cabin you'd find in Park City.

It was a very beautiful place, especially in the forest with a little snow fall. At the top are these trees covered with snow. These are the same trees as the ones at the bottom, just buried with 15-20 feet of snow. They call them "Snow Monsters."
After eating lunch he headed back down. It had already snowed so much that I wasn't sure we we on the same trail on the way back. Glad I wasn't leading the way! It took us a little under 2 hours to hike up and 50 minutes to get back down!! On the way down the ravine we were blasted by a bone chilling wind sweeping up the ravine. Thanks to Em, I was outfitted with a warm face mask. I just need some warmer gloves. Also, note to self: You may think a camel pack is a good idea, but after 20 minutes I found nothing but ice in the line!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Snow Fort

The other day we got another 12 inches or so of snow so I set out to build my children a giant igloo for us to sleep in. It was tough work. Unfortunately, it got too late and too cold for packing good snow and the roof never made it on top. But they were left with a giant snow fort which has become the cool place to hang out for the neighbors. They went out again yesterday in yet another storm to play on it. That's Max on top of it. Next time it dumps I'm determined to make a complete one.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Canine Dentistry (Read at own Risk)

You may think I am referring to the pointy teeth we all have, three teeth over from the middle, but I'm not. My tech, that's Air Force for assistant, comes up to me this afternoon and asks, "Do you want to do a Dog Root Canal." Puzzled, I looked at him funny and repeated "Dog Root Canal?" It turns out a couple of the dentist were going up to the base vet to help her give a dog a root canal. So how could I pass up such an opportunity to widden my dental horizon and put my expensive camera to good use!

I called Em and told her and she replied rather mater-of-factly, and I quote, "Don't even bother coming home." I guess I found something that overcomes her love for me. Hmmmm, kinda shallow.

So at the end of work I headed up there and we walked into a surgery room with large black dog laying on a surgery table already breathing on a respirator and under general anesthesia. I even was able to witness the surgery tech put in the rectal thermometer probe. A site that may never leave me. The vet, to pass time while we set up cleaned the ears out with some Q-tips and got the nastiest gunk out. It ended up being a vastly interesting event. The anatomy of the "canine" tooth was fascinating my buddy was able to treat it with a beautiful root canal. Unfortuanly, my camera battery died so the final photos are on my supervisor's camera. But do enjoy the few photos that follow!

I'm just glad I wasn't there when the dog woke up completely, because if they are anything like the kids I treat coming out of general anesthesia, it cannot be pretty or safe.

*Yes Dad, we even put a rubber dam on!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Happy Birthday

We teach the cutest group of 5 year old girls at church. There are 9 of them that come (one boy hasn't come yet). One of them had her birthday last Sunday. We sang happy birthday to her and then some one mentioned doing it in Japanese, but we didn't know how. Then the Birthday Girl said she knew how. She goes to a Japanese school so I don't doubt her. So she starts singing:

Haappee Birfdayyy Tooo Yhouu...

really slowly and carefully. I join in singing it normally. She then tell me, "No Like this!" and proceed as previously demonstrated. I then realize she is singing it just like her Japanese Mamma-sans try to sing it at her school, in English but with a Japanese accent. It was hilarious! But unfortunately I was the only adult present to witness it.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tokyo Recon

In November I went TDY to Chicago (Temporary Duty) for a conference. On the way back I overnighted in Tokyo. I had initially planned to go find the LDS Tokyo Temple. So when I got to the hotel at the airport a lady took my luggage up to my room for me* and I got her to explain in half English and half Japanese and 1/8 gesticulating.** After she left I realized I brought my expired temple recommend. So instead of watching Japanese TV and/or sleep, I decided to go explore the city and reconnoiter for our future family trip to Tokyo. I asked the hotel concierge*** where to go and after thinking for a minute, said "Tokyo Tower." (This is the same response I received in the morning from the lady at the Airport Info when I asked where to go during my two hours of waiting for my flight.) So she instructed me how to take the monorail to the Tokyo Tower and off I went with nothing but some yen and a recently purchased phrase book. I successfully navigated my way around 1/100,000,000th of Tokyo! It was yet another amazing city. Big cities give off an energy to me that vitalizes me and makes me excited to explore. This city was astounding in it vastness. I couldn't believe how huge it was. When I got to the top of the Tokyo Tower, which is built as a replica of the Eiffel Tower, I looked out and the city continued in lights until reaching the horizon for 360 degrees! Here are a few of the photos I took from the tower:The brighter area is the Ginza district a trendy shopping area. It looks a lot like Time Square to me, but I haven't been to it YET.

On my way back I saw a welcome sight of Wendy's but passed it up for a try here:and ate this (Chicken Yakitori): I think I definitely made the right choice. It was a fun evening of exploration and I did it again in the morning. I was pointed to a shopping district but when I got there I just started walking down some side streets seeing what the neighborhoods looked like. That was really cool.

Here was a cool house, notice the underwear hanging on the line. Next door between a bunch of houses was a Buddhist cemetery.This is one of the parking garages near by!!!And on the way back I befriended these cute little kids! It was comic to watch this little two year old struggle to get his tiny fingers into the peace sign for the photo! I don't think I've ever seen a Japanese person take a photo without doing it!
We hope to go down to Tokyo when it warms up and tour the city and check out Tokyo Disney.
*She opened the door and placed the key card in a little slot inside the door. As I left latter I took it out and then went back into the room only to be plunged into darkness. The lights only work if the card is left in the slot by the door. An ingenious way to save on energy! I also had my first experience with a high tech Japanese toilet complete with heated seats and an automated bode!
**I know it doesn't add up Nate...or does it?
***"A concierge is the Winnipeg equivalent of a geisha. This is a woman who has been trained in the fine art of fanciness and pleasure. And when you meet on it is intoxicating. Just what the doctor ordered." (Michael Scott, The Office Season 5, The Business Trip)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Tomorrow comes too quickly

Is it tomorrow already? Without too much further ado...The winner belongs to the following caption:

"Are you really going to let me eat this?"
-by Nate
And I can't believe I let him eat it!

This is exactly what his eyes were saying to me. He seems to pack every square milimeter with as much candy as possible. This is in contrast to Boy #2 who seems to have a touch of his mother's OCD and places his candy just so and looks all tidy.

I feel hesitant to award him anything, but I think that is just because he is always correcting my spelling even though it has been 2.5 years since we were at school together.

So Nate, congrats! Do you want a piece of stinky sushi, come get fresh sushi or some chopsticks?

Photo Contest

I'll announce a winner to the First Annual 100 Yen Sushi Photo Contest tomorrow. And yes all sushi is raw, well most, and now it doesn't mail well. So you can either come here and eat it or I can send you a $5 In 'n' Out coupon. I know Nate you don't live by one and yes Kim you have a plethora of them, but I live even further away from them!* Or I can send you some chopsticks!?

*For some reason Em's Dad sent us a bunch of them.

Friday, January 02, 2009

First Ski/SnowBoard Trip

We were all going to go skiing as family, but Boy #2 has been throwing up for the past 4 days. So Boy #1 and I went together. It was a warm beautiful sunny day. The resort was about a 50 minute drive North of Misawa. It was a small resort with only 3 lifts but it was perfect for his first try. He alternated from excited, to cold, to having fun, to hurt, to brave, to frustrated, to proud and ultimately had a great time. They had a fun looking sleding hill too, but when I asked if he wanted to stay longer and sled he chose going home "Cause I miss Mom. Don't you?" he countered.