31 July 2011

Moving 1.0

Today I completed my first move in the series of many moves that will be occuring in the unfortold amount of coming months.  I was so lucky to have the help from four other really wonderful people including my mom.  My mom is an amazing person and always does whatever she can to help me.  I know I don't do enough for her, but I hope she knows how much I love an appreciate her.  I know I don't tell her enough, either.  I will be staying with my mother until I move to Hawaii to begin my new journey and the 'next chapter' in my life.  While we were moving my mom and I tried to figure out how many times I have moved.  We came up with seventeen moves and seven states in my twenty four years of life.  Surprisingly to many I'm sure, I am not a military brat.  All of my moves have been in the midwest and in the central time zone, so this upcoming move to Hawaii is a pretty big change.  I also figured out last night that although I have moved a lot, I have only lived further than a one hour car drive away from my mom for about six months of my life.  Yikes!  Although I know that we both are strong women and can handle this change, I am still anxious about the fact that my mom isn't a short car ride away.  She has always been there for me and knows me inside and out.  I guess that is a job for Levus now, and I'd say so far I have full confidence he can handle the task.

Welp, on to bigger and better things now!  I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders now that I am out of my apartment.  Just a few short weeks till Hawaii, and lots of fun coming up between then!  Good bye world of "me" and hello world of "us"!

Monday Medusozoa

Nomura's Jellyfish
The Nomura is the largest jelly in the world!
They can get up to three or four HUNDRED pounds!
You will find most of these jellys in the Yellow Sea and the East China Sea.
The population is on the rise and causing problems for Japanese fisherman.

29 July 2011

I Could Get Used To This!

Today I had another occurrence of something that has been going on in my life for the past many months.  I've been having this strange thing happen where everything is kind of clicking in to place and working perfectly.  I would ordinarily feel like I am bragging about this, but I am REALLY not used to things going so well in my life.  Before, it would seem like every time I would get one step ahead I would immediately get knocked backwards three steps and I would NOT get to Pass Go and collect $200.  I would be a little nervous about writing about such good fortune in fear of jinxing myself, but I refuse to believe in the superstition.  The biggest item of chance that has happened in my life recently is the bringing together and reuniting of Levus and myself.  I will save that story for another day.

Most of the fortune has been blessings of saving *a lot* of many in some hidden and surprising ways.  Part of it has been due to Levus being in the military.  I had been stressing out about figuring out how to pay the high prices of car inspections and registration in Hawaii... until we went to register the car and come to find out active duty military doesn't have to pay a registration fee in the state of Hawaii.  Some of the fortune has come by way of family members helping us in ways we didn't expect.  I had been stressing about being able to purchase rings for our wedding, and lo and behold Mrs. Levus and my mom offer us some REALLY beautiful family heirlooms to use for our wedding rings.  Although we did have to have the rings all resized and some gold added to my engagement ring so it wouldn't snap in half one day, that was less than $200... a drop in the bucket in comparison to purchasing three brand new rings.  A couple other blessings from family members include my dad offering to use his air miles to fly me to Hawaii in July, and offering to do so again in September when I "permanently" return, as well as Mrs. Levus being a gifted and experienced wedding photographer and offering to shoot our wedding for us.  Both of those will save us thousands of dollars in the long run.  We also were so lucky to find a great condo in Waikiki that we are able to stay in at a discounted rate due to some serious number crunching by the owner.  Although we have a little debt to tackle and a lot of savings to catch up on, those tasks will be much less of a burden now after catching the big brakes we have caught in the last couple of months.

U-Haul actually caught us a big break today in the moving expense, and we ended up saving $60 towards the move this weekend to my moms.  Every little bit counts!  Let's hope that our "luck" continues and we can get caught up on our tasks as soon as possible.  It is also so great to know that we have such loving families to support and help us as a young couple!  Our families are such a great influence on both of our lives!  Here's to hoping I can find a good part time job at the island, and that we secure an on base home by or before the end of November

Are you superstitious?  Do you believe in luck?  Is there a time period in your life that you can remember things working out well for you?

MilSpouse Friday Fill-In

1. Facebook or Twitter?
Facebook.  I don't actually Twat or Tweet or Twit.  I love staying "in the loop", but I find that Facebook is adequate enough at keeping me up do date at what is going down.  And I don't think I could handle anything more play-by-play than Facebook.  And I don't care what Ashton Kutcher is doing.
2. Hard Tacos or Soft Tacos?
I prefer the crunchiness of hard tacos because I'm a big cruncher, but I also don't mind the occasional soft taco either.  Even better is a soft taco that is just slightly fried and warmed on the griddle before filling it with delicious ingredients!
3. Gardening or crafting?
I like gardening, but I'm better at crafting than growing things.  But once I get in to a house with a garden I might change my mind.  For now I'll have to stick to the farmers market and a local CSA share.
4. Fruit or vegetables?
I love vegetables.  I'm more of a savory person than a sweet... and you can do SO MUCH with veggies all times of the year.  I guess that isn't fair to fruit, because you can probably do just as much with fruit?  Maybe they just tie for the win.  That's a hard question!
5.  Motorcycle or bicycle?
I prefer bicycles to motorcycles because of the obvious: bicycles take man power and motorcycles take gas.  Gas is expensive, and a non-renewable resource.  That all being said, Levus wants a motorcycle I think and once I ride on that thing and go fast down the road there is a good chance I will change my mind.  I have a serious need for speed and dangerous situations.

27 July 2011

Beautiful Bellows

The pavilion for our wedding reception is officially booked as of this evening.  It kinda physically hurt me to pay $150 for a concrete slab with picnic tables and a roof, but I guess we get $50 of that back if we "leave the pavilion in the condition it was found in" and as long as our crazy wedding party (our parents) don't make some kind of scene or get drunk or crazy (nobody will be drinking).  I shouldn't worry too much about the price, since this is literally the most we are paying for anything for our wedding, period end of story.  The officiant of the wedding is doing the wedding for free, Levus' mom is a photographer (and has done weddings before) and will be our wedding photographer, and we don't need a permit to have a wedding at Bellows, just permission from the commander or something.  The only other purchases we will have is our food for the reception and my flowers.  My plan is to save a lot of money with food by purchasing local fruits and veggies for our wedding fiesta!  I got pretty down about the wedding today (again) because I feel like I was being a Bridezilla (Levus insists that I was not) because I wanted to 'have it my way' about the location.  I stopped and thought about it a little more and I really don't think where we get married or anything about our wedding will really matter in the end.  As long as I get to marry the guy I will be the happiest little girl around!  Levus kept trying to convince me that we will do anything I want to do, and I kept trying to convince him that our wedding didn't matter and I would be just as happy to marry him in a cardboard box.  Really though, spending exorbitant amounts of money on anything, especially a one day event that is supposed to be about love and is now a highly commercialized industry.  I'm sure many people that read this will disagree with me, and I don't have a problem with the big weddings and spending a lot of time and money on a special day where you commence your live together and show others your promise to one another; that's just not me.

While I was on the phone I tried to book a campsite at Bellows for the weekend of Christmas.  It is on a Sunday this year and I had suggested that we should go camping then because we both love outdoors and that would be a great way to spend our vacation.  I also figured that even though Christmas is my favorite holiday to celebrate because I like to be cheery and attend holiday gatherings, spread love, give gifts and decorate my home, I also get pretty fed up with people by the time Christmas rolls around.  Getting "out of town" (not that there is such a thing on a tiny island like Oahu) might be a good vacation of the stress of holiday grouches and traffic.  People always get so grouchy at stores around Christmas, and the traffic turns in to an even bigger mess!  Anyway, when I attempted to reserve the day the woman replied in a very thick Hawaiian accent, "Oh, camping in rainy season, yah?  That's not a very good idea, yah?  Is very windy then and rainy, you'll be holding on to your tent the whole time, yah?"  I kinda laughed and replied, "Yeah well... it was our first rainy season on the island and we weren't sure but we thought we wanted to get away."  She convinced me not to book a reservation and also told me that if we change our mind they definitely WON'T be booking all of their campsites out in December (which is uncommon because EVERYTHING at Bellows seems to book quickly) so if we decide to go we can go ahead and pretty much just show up when we want to camp.  We were a little bit disappointed about not being able to camp.  I also asked her if there were any cabins available and she said they were all booked, but if I kept calling I could probably find something to open up between now and December.  Levus isn't a big fan of Christmas and likes the idea of staying somewhere else, but I'm also concerned about the fact that we aren't sure where we will be living in December if we aren't approved for base housing yet.  We only have the condo through the end of November.

What is your favorite Christmastime holiday activity?  Does your family have a special holiday tradition?

26 July 2011

Moving Blues

The air conditioning in my apartment finally got fixed.  I'm not one to keep the temperature in my apartment at 76 degrees when I have to pay the utility bill (I'm not made of money) but due to the heat wave and the fact that I had been living there without air for a while, I'm splurging for my last week there.  I've been really lonely these last few days packing up boxes alone in my apartment.  I'm not sure where this feeling of empty and lonely are coming from.

I did get a break from the lonely because I got to spend some time with my best friend being in town for the last few days!  My best friend, we'll call her Bug, is a very smart graduate student getting her masters in sociology.  She is one of the smartest most talented people I know, not to mention very creative and stylish.  She is a one in a million kind of girl.  I was so happy to get to spend some time with her!  I'm hoping she will be able to come to the wedding, but tickets to Hawaii are SO EXPENSIVE!

Also in big news: we've informed most of the family that we will be having parents at the wedding.  This is somewhat of a stressful and touchy subject for me.  I feel somewhat like I have lost control over my wedding.  I would much rather elope and just be married to my wonderful man, but I do understand that it is important to our family to share in our oh so joyous occasion.  Mrs. Levus and I are now working on the accommodation arrangements for everybody staying.  She found a two bedroom cabin on Fort Shafter with a kitchen.  The kitchen will come in handy for cooking meals to save money on eating out and doing some prep work for our reception meal!  The cabin is really inexpensive (as most accommodations are for military members in Hawaii ) and it will be able to hold both Levus' family and my mom and Bug if she can come so we can have the price split and save even more money!

24 July 2011

Back To Life

Let me tell you, coming home to Heatwave 2011 was the best experience ever.  Not only was there a heatwave going on, but my air conditioning was out at my apartment.  The temperature was actually cooler outside in the 100 degree shade than it was in my apartment.  I was barely able to sleep on the plane, and I was barely able to sleep the night before I left.  Between lack of sleep, coming down with a cold, coming off of a sunburn, missing Levus A LOT, and the overwhelming heat... I was a HAPPY CAMPER.  We decided the best thing (and really only option) was for me to come back with my mom to her house and stay the night until my air conditioner was working again.  Trying to get the air conditioner fixed (as I had been doing since Monday) was a pain, partially because my apartment complex didn't seem to care that my apartment was 105 degrees inside and partially because the man that was supposed to fix it was working on fixing everybody ones overextended air conditioners in our county and many counties over.

On the way to my moms house from Springfield we got to stop at Murphy Orchard to pick up some fruit.  Murphy Orchard harvests peaches in the summer months and then apples in the fall.  They also make really good apple cider that they turn in to a slushy.  The slushy was really good and very thirst quenching on the hot day.
Yummy yummy Apple Cider Slushy from Murphy Orchard
My mom and her best friend that is visiting out of town picked up some yummy peaches.  They had a woman there that was cutting different types of peaches for people to try and decide which was their favorite.

I fell asleep trying to stay up to talk to Levus, but he doesn't get off of work till 16:00 (4PM) Hawaii time, which is 21:00 (9PM) in the midwest.  When he finally did call I was so tired and out of it I could only blab that I missed him and I was tired and a few other things I can't remember.  Life is finally back to normal... for now.  I have to be out of my apartment and moved down to the lake (my moms house) by Sunday.  Although I have moved at least once a year and every year for the past six years, this move is the biggest and is taking the most out of me and really getting to my head.  A few years ago when my parents got divorced and my dad got remarried he boxed and moved everything of mine (baby clothes that my parents were saving all the way up to the half used shampoos and contents of my bathroom) to my moms basement here in Missouri.  I've been putting off going through it for the last few years because it makes me angry and hurts my heart.  When I did start going through it I've found many things that I had forgotten about, things that I thought at the time I could never part with.  I'm trying to combine the past and present as well as get rid of as much as possible.  I have enough clothing to clothe a small nation of women.  I told Levus that he was going to have to get rid of all of his clothing to make room for mine, and hopefully the USAF doesn't mind having a naked airman coming to work everyday.  I've gotten to the point in my apartment that I am ready to part with everything and toss it or give it to the Disabled American Veterans thrift store.  Things are just things, and it will be a lot easier to move every few years for the rest of our younger life if I don't have thousands of pounds of crap to move with us.  I am happy and reassured knowing this will be the last time I ever move without the help of my wonderful husband.  He said if we moved in the middle of living somewhere he might be deployed and I may have to move on my own, but I told him THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN.  We can only hope that it doesn't.

22 July 2011

Last Day (for a while) With My Man in Paradise

Well, the day had to come when Levus and I would have to part ways once again.  Reality always comes sooner than you would like.  It would have been nice to stay, but I have many responsibilities back here in Missouri and Levus has things to take care of back in Hawaii before we tie the knot, get hitched, attach the ol' ball and chain.  My last day there was amazing, and of course made it even harder to leave.  We went back to breakfast at Koa Pancake House because it is close to base and we knew how to get there.  Levus had chocolate pancakes, and I had more corned beef hash (nomnomnom).

At Koa Pancake House
Tell me if that isn't the most amazing smile you've ever put your eyes on.

After breakfast we drove one last time up to Bellows AFB to hang out on the beach and swim in the very blue water off of the very beautiful white beach.  It was surprising to see how crowded the beach was out there, especially on a Wednesday afternoon.  We tried to find a spot that wasn't too congested.  The waves at Bellows are big, and although it is a popular vacation destination for people in all branches of the military to bring their family and children, most everybody ignores the advisory and swims in the waves anyway.

Despite the warning, many people still brave the wave.
We swam for a while.  The salt water makes your eyes hurt after a while, and swimming in waves that big also takes a lot out of you.  I didn't sleep but about two hours the night before because I generally can't sleep before travel.  Between the exhaustion in the waves and the lack of sleep, I was hoping to catch lots of Z's on the plane back and sleep my ride away, but I wasn't that lucky.  While we were swimming we saw a tiny jellyfish swim by us!  It was the first time I had swam WITH a jellyfish!  It was so cute and tiny.  Both of us kinda wanted to touch the tentacle to see how bad it really hurts, but neither of us wanted to take the chance to find out.  I'm sure that we will both have a chance while we are living there between the ocean swimming, beach investigating, and open water swimming that I want to do.  After a while we both sat on the beach to relax.  We ended up getting too much sun (both of us were burnt, Levus more than me) because we neglected to apply any of the sunblock we had packed.

We went to a little Mexican restaurant in the town right outside of Bellows called Serg's Mexican Kitchen.  The food was GREAT there (although the service really wasn't) and it got us thinking that instead of going out to eat after the wedding it might be fun to to a grill out of some fresh fish to make fish tacos and other fresh island foods to go with it.

We are thinking for the menu:
  • Fresh fish from the fish market as well as shrimp all cooked on skewers on the grill
  • Fresh fried homemade tortilla chips
  • Fresh salsa homemade salsa made with ingredients from the farmers market or Foodland
  • Rice and beans purchased from the bulk section at Down to Earth organic market
  • A "wedding cake" (not the tiered kind, but something small like a tiny sheet cake)
  • Fresh fruit drinks with blended fresh fruit and Ginger Ale/Sprite/or Ale8 if we can get some there 

19 July 2011

So a duck walks in to a bar...

Really.  Last night we were at a restaurant (seated in the bar section) and a duck walked right in to the bar.  The waitress didn't seem to mind.  It seemed like a common occurrence.  My phone was dead, and Levus tried to take a picture, but he turned around and walked out when the waitress walked towards him to take a drink to a table.

McDonald's special Hawaiian Breakfast
On the top: SPAM, white rice and eggs
On the bottom: Portuguese Sausage, white rice and eggs
Although Hawaii is part of the United States, the culture is much different than that in the mainland.  And part of the difference is the food here!  Much of the food is influenced by 1) What the island has access to, 2) What grows on the island, and 3) Asian and native culture.  It is easy to find any kind of Asian food you could want on the island: Korean, Japanese, Thai and Chinese are very common in every shopping center and food stand.  Potted meat (think SPAM, tuna, and my personal favorite corned beef hash), macaroni salad, pork products and fresh coconut and other tropical fruits like pineapple are also very common.  The McDonalds even serves special local food (just like you can get "McWings" in China, "Vegetable McCurry" in beef sensitive India, and the Kosher "McShawarma" in Israel) for breakfast.  Even though we both haven't been doing much PT in these last couple of weeks, we HAVE been sampling lots of the local cuisine and hitting some of the best local eateries.  I'm so lucky to have met a man that trust me enough to try new foods I suggest as well as a man that loves to try new things and experience as much as possible.

On top: Burrito plate with fries and mac salad
On bottom: Cheeseburger with mac salad
Koa Pancake House
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue
Chicken Katsu with mac salad and Kalua Pork with cabbage

18 July 2011


And... Levus surprised me!  I always give Levus a hard time because whenever he tries to surprise me, I'm always a step ahead.  That being said, he usually figures out my surprises also.  We seem to be on the same wavelength most of the time.  This time he did a REALLY swell job of tricking me.  All of our rings are family heirlooms, and because of this we had to get all three of them re-sized.  My engagement ring was my grandmas ring to when she was married to my mothers father.  Because it is more than fifty years old, the gold on the band was also very thin so not only did it have to get re-sized, it also had to get gold added to the band so it wouldn't break apart.  We took the rings in the Friday after I got her.  They told us they should be done on the 15th, but when we didn't get a call I got worried.  Apparently they called Levus on Saturday morning.  He wanted to surprise me so instead of telling me they called, he called his sister and had her call him back and pretend to be the jeweler saying that our rings wouldn't be done till 3PM on Monday (today).  He acted really sad and kept apologizing to me even though I wasn't upset.  In my mind, as long as we got the ring before I left, we were okay.

We went to lunch, then to the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet then started driving up Highway Route 83.  We stopped at a really beautiful beach off of the highway and laid on the shore.  The shore there made a ledge where the sand and ocean met the green grass of the park that is currently held to the island by only the palm tree roots.  We both were laying face down on the grass and looking over the side, when he said "Oh my gosh, look what I found!" and held up a ring.  Because our rings were the furthest thing from my mind, I assumed he found some kind of ring or fake ring in the sand, but then I recognized the ring.  I think my first reaction was "shut up" because I was so surprised that he surprised me!  He got down (or up from his laying position) and got on both knees and I sat up and started crying a little and he asked me to marry him.  He tells me every day that it was the best day ever, and every Saturday he tells me that that Saturday was the best Saturday ever because he is with me.  I can now say that I have had some awesome Saturdays... but it was by far the best one ever and the most memorable.  I'm so lucky to have the best man as my future husband!

Monday Medusozoa


12 July 2011

Welcome to Hawaii!

I arrived in one piece in Hawaii on Thursday around 13:00 Hawaii time!  It was SO AMAZING to see Levus!  One of the first things we did was tour the base and go to the beach.  I had shaved my legs the day before, and wow.  I had forgotten how much the salt water makes you burn, especially if you are recently shaved.  The water here is much colder than I thought it would be because the air is so warm here, but I guess we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean... so much water that it is probably impossible for the warm sun rays to heat it all.

We've done and seen a lot, but right now I am less compelled to stay inside and write a blog, and more interested in going outside and enjoying the air.  Heard it was about 101 degrees back in Missouri.  Although it is hot here, I have barely broken a sweat since I've been here thanks to the lovely island breeze.  Honolulu and Hickam AFB are both beautiful.  I'm so ecstatic to have the opportunity for us to call this place home!  A few years of this shouldn't be too hard to handle, although I am already missing the Buffalo River and Table Rock Lake.  I guess the lush botanical gardens and the swimming with giant sea turtles on the sandy beach will have to make up for it.

06 July 2011

Happy Birthday Harriet!

Grandma Harriet and her crew
(((disclaimer: this picture is six years old)))

Today is my Grandma Harriets 77th birthday!  The picture is old, but to date my grandma has three children, six grand children, and four great grand children!  My grandmother and mother are the two most inspiring women in my life.  Although she doesn't have a high school diploma or a college degree, she is one of the smartest women I know.  She has more life experience than anybody and has used her life experience to raise a beautiful, smart, strong, amazing family.   Although we occasionally give her trouble, everybody in the family looks up to her as a great mother, grandmother and great-grandmother!

I am set to leave for Hawaii TOMORROW, and I am so excited!  But I am going down with the illness.  I'm not sure yet what the illness is, but I am coming down with it.  My throat is bothering me and I have been having stomach problems.  I've gone through a bottle of Pepto in the last week which I am/was assuming was stress due to family weekend/life changes/getting things together/etc, but now that I'm getting sick elsewhere I really have no idea.  I would go to the doctor, but alas, not insurance card received in the mail yet although I am supposedly insured.

Flying with American Airlines on the same flight that Levus flew from Dallas to Honolulu.  I'm so thrilled to go through Dallas instead of somewhere on the west coast so that I may spend an extra few hours couped on on the plane.  (Yes, I fluently speak the language of Sarcasm.)  Levus said that in coach class on American there is no meal service for the short eight hour flight, there is only food you may purchase from the airlines at a bloated cost, so I'm going to head to the store today and pack some cheese cubes, apples and jerky for my trip.  I want to try to stay away from the salt for obvious reasons (if you fly, you know), but in order to pack food that won't spoil and will get through security my options are somewhat limited.  I know I shouldn't complain about the food service or the long flight or the being ill, because in less than twenty four hours I will be on my way to see my Airman, but sometimes I can be a bit of a Nancy.

By the way, still at moms.  Need to go back to Springfield to my un-airconditioned apartment to shower and finish packing.  The lake is so nice, and I am in avoidance of the stress and work that must me done at home in order to get myself to the next (temporary) step in my life.  Wish me luck with dealing with my tasks and the motivation to take care of what needs to be done in the months ahead!

03 July 2011

The Best Holiday Ever

Having a great time at Table Rock with my family this weekend!  Lots of babies and dogs, so never a dull moment!  Yesterday morning my mom, cousin and I went skiing in the morning before there were too many boats out putting out a lot of wake on the lake.  I always love watching my mom ski.  I think it is spectacular that my almost 54 year old mom still slalom skis and gets up out of the water on her first try!  And I'm counting down the days before Hawaii... 4 more days till I get to see Levus! 

mom skiing
Lyla with her mommy, about to tube for the first time!

a family favorite: "Health Missiles"
(hot dogs wrapped in bacon)