31 October 2011

Monday Medusozoa: Happy Halloween!

I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner!
Next years Halloween costume FOR SURE!
I can't wait!

27 October 2011

An Evening at the Beach

We had some time to pass on an evening last week.  We went to a part of the base where the water is very calm in the evenings and walked out onto a sandbar that is only around during low tide in the evenings.  I actually went to this exact spot where we are walking on land the next morning and it was under water.

bird prints on the sandbar
washed up jellyfish on the sandbar
boys and their big sticks...



Finally found an urchin shell!... then I dropped it on the concrete and it broke :-(

17 October 2011

Our (Honeymoon) Weekend

Leonard's Bakery... yum!
Well, the vows have been traded and the family has all gone home.  The unfortunate part of all of this is that Levus had to go back to work right after we got married.  That didn't leave very much time for a honeymoon.  While I originally thought to myself "hey, we're living in HAWAII! Who needs a honeymoon?" I quickly figured out what the honeymoon really is... a time to spend ALONE as a newlywed couple.  I have to say, with all of the Hawaii Health Dept crap, and all of the work of getting my dependent status and all of our paperwork in order, I had a pretty rough week since I didn't feel like Levus and I got to spend any really valuable alone time together.  This weekend more than made up for that.

On Friday night we rented a bunch of scary movies (to prepare for the Halloween holiday) and walked from our amazing condo in Waikiki to Papa Johns.  While we were waiting for our pizza we walked a little further down the road to an AMAZING bakery called Leonard's Bakery.  Leonard's is famous for a Hawaiian staple called "malasada's".  A malasada is kind of like a doughnut that has been hollowed out.  It is sugary on the outside and filled with creams in the middle.  We got a mixed box so we could try a few different kinds.  Definitely not a healthy night, but very much a tasty night!

On our way to Leonard's we passed a place called Pyramids that served Egyptian and Mediterranean foods.  Because I LOVE trying new things and because I LOVE Mediterranean foods, I suggested that we go there sometime and try it.  My wonderful husband replied that he would like to take me on a date there the following night and he would like for me to pick him something nice to wear and we should dress up.  This was SO exciting to me because I love dressing up and I love that my husband wanted to take me on a date!  On Saturday night we got a little dressed up and walked down to Pyramids.  The food was delicious and reasonably priced, especially for the portions.  I would definitely suggest this place to anybody that likes eating good food and lives in Hawaii!

Levus and Me at Pyramids
(it was kinda dark in there and my "camera" aka phone doesn't have flash)
Baba Ganoush
This is the only food I even had the chance to take a picture of , because we ate everything so fast!

Monday Medusozoa

Atolla Wyvillei
Atolla live exclusively in deep-water habitats.

16 October 2011

My Baby

As some of you may know, there are very strict rules with moving pets to the islands of Hawaii due to the fact that it is a rabies free state.  Because of these rules, my baby Binks the Basset Hound is currently still in Missouri under the care of my mom while we wait for the legalities of his arrival.  Mom sent me a picture of him today and it pretty much broke my heart.  I miss him so much and can't wait to have him here with us!

Doesn't he look patriotic?  He is over at our friends house watching football.  Normally he has to stay home while mom goes to her friends house on Sundays for football all day, but he was invited to attend for a while today.  This is a very coveted invitation, as the Patriotic Football House is always a good time, and the pets tend to receive a good amount of lovins!  I hope he behaved, and in this picture it looks like he did.  Aw... I'm such a proud parent!

Jellyfish for Christmas!

Christmas is a mere two months away.  While I FEEL like that is a long time away, the days have been really flying by lately it seems.  As many of you may know about me (or may have gathered from reading my blog), I LOVE JELLYFISH.  Because of the location we live in, jellyfish "stuff" is a lot more common around here.  We have acquired two pieces of jellyfish memorabilia lately... both in the forms of Christmas ornaments!  I'm very excited about getting a tree to put these on.  I'm even thinking of using my fake tree and making a tree entirely devoted to jellyfish.  My mom has a "white tree" with entirely white ornaments, and people make themed trees all the time, so I don't feel like a jellyfish themed Christmas tree is too crazy. What are your opinions on this?

Angry Jellyfish with Wiggly Tentacles!
Green (my favorite color) Glass Jellyfish with Icicle Tentacles!  

I Love Hawaii!

Sometimes during the day I choose to forget how much I love Hawaii.  That's so dumb.  Hawaii is awesome and I need to appreciate it.  Nowhere is going to be like "home", and to face the truth... "home" wasn't always that great either.  These are just some of the reasons I love Hawaii, summed up in photo form:

Hawaii is an island... almost anywhere you look has a view similar to this.
The skies tend to be pretty gorgeous too...
My silly husband is here!
Rainbows pop up randomly.  On an almost daily basis.  Rainbows are cool.
Exotic fruit.  You can find it (and pick it, not sure if that is legal) almost anywhere.
For instance this Star Fruit was just growing in someones yard on a tree in downtown Honolulu.

I'm a Dependent... the work isn't over.

We got married... HOORAY!

I'm so excited to be married to an amazing man!  He make me happy daily, and when he frustrates me I can't think of anybody I'd rather be frustrated with!  Although I originally thought the hard part would be over once we got married (i.e. coordinating our families around the island and to marriage events), the work has just begun.  The most frustrating part of the whole ordeal is the delay that the State of Hawaii takes to take a signed marriage license and turn it into a marriage certificate.  Rumor has it (and according to their website), it is supposed to take about a month or so to get your marriage certificate if your a local, and if you're in the military they will try but they "make no guarantees."  What does that mean?  Well until you have your marriage certificate in hand... your marriage is meaningless to the US Government.  That means no military ID (which means no Commissary or access to the Base without a pass), no insurance and no upped allowances due to a dependent on my husbands finances.  All irritation aside, my persistence with the State of Hawaii paid off and we had our "Marriage Certificate" four days after our marriage license was handed in by Levus' big brother (he is a pastor in Arizona and flew out to Hawaii to marry us!)  By Thursday afternoon I had marriage license in hand, and by Friday we had most of our paperwork in order! We even found out that Levus hasn't been receiving his BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsidies) since he graduated from Basic.  This allowance can add up quite a bit, and the US Government apparently owes him back pay.  You can imagine our excitement about this situation as newlyweds fresh starting off our life and our financial life together!  We are so excited to be able to save money easily!

When we went to the housing office, we also found out another bit of awesome news... there is NO WAITING LIST FOR HOUSING AT HICKAM AFB RIGHT NOW!  On Friday we had the opportunity to go in and look at our future home because there were workers actually at the house that let us in!  The house is currently getting new carpeting, which will be very nice as carpet can get grimy with some people and their pets.  We are also THRILLED that it is an END UNIT townhouse.   Our yard is bigger, which means more space for Binks to run around when he gets here.  It also has a larger porch and a COCONUT TREE in the backyard, which Levus is pee-in-his-pants-excited about.  The unit is actually one door down from a co-worker in his shop.  Every time Levus went to this mans house he would talk about how he wanted to go in their yard and "steal a coconut."  He is now very excited because he "owns a coconut tree."  I am very happy because HE is happy.  I am also very happy because, although I love living in our condo in Waikiki... parking is expensive, traffic sucks, and 300 square feet is awful small for us and all of our belongings.  We don't have an oven, the stove burners are small, and the most exciting surprise... there is no bathroom door.  We've been forced to be extremely comfortable around each other very quickly.  I don't so much view this as a bad thing, but I won't complain about getting the opportunity to have an oven and a bathroom door and a 5 minute bike ride to work for Levus.  Although our condo isn't the most convenient, it does have its perks.  This weekend we have been able to walk to dinner two nights in a row.  We've also been able to enjoy this view from the top floor of our condo....

Levus enjoying the view from the 10th floor
Diamond Head: easily viewed from the sun-deck of our Waikiki condo
Okay... I can't hate a dwelling with a view like this.  Perfection.
We signed our reservation for the townhouse on Friday, sign the lease this coming Thursday and then take the keys on Friday.  Other than saving money on the gas and parking (as well as the above mentioned benefits of on base housing) I am VERY excited about three factors (they all just happen to be holidays, and I LOVE holidays):

  1. HALLOWEEN.  We will be on base for Halloween... this will be the first Halloween in YEARS that I will be living somewhere that has little trick-or-treaters and I've ALWAYS wanted to be able to dress up and hand out candy and decorate my front porch with Halloween decorations.  This year I will finally be able to do so!  I've already figured out where the pumpkin patch is here, and we're going to get our pumpkins at some point before or on Halloween.  We even will get to care them if we so choose to do so!
  2. THANKSGIVING.  I'm SO EXCITED we can have our first Thanksgiving in OUR home together.  With OUR oven and OUR smoker (we're planning on a smoked turkey to celebrate having our smoker).  WIN.
  3. CHRISTMAS.  We don't have to worry about where we will be living and if we will have a home then.  I've also figured out where the Christmas tree farm is, and we will be able to have a place for our first Christmas tree together.  I should also *hopefully* be receiving my Christmas box by then when our HHG (household goods) get here in about 50 - 60 days.  This is exciting news as well.
Levus reserving our townhouse on Hickam
My only current concern is the fact that we don't have a bed.  Even when our HHG get here, we won't have an adequate bed.  I have a double (or maybe a queen) sized bed already, but that isn't going to cut it for us.  Levus is a big man, and we are both crazy sleepers.  I'm on the hunt for a budget friendly, but also dream, bed right now.  My dream bed is an antique (or antique looking) iron framed bed.  For it to be real antique, I realize this may be wishful thinking because they didn't used to make beds of that size.  I'm scouring Craigslist now on a daily basis, and I plan to do some serious hunting around Honolulu this week.  We can get furniture from the Airmans Attic to last us till our furniture gets here from Missouri, but they don't do beds (for health and sanitation reasons, which I agree with and support) so we will need to figure this situation out sooner rather than later.  And I may need to settle.  Grrrrrrr.

example of my dream bed

04 October 2011

My Husband To Be...

...is amazing.  I just have to brag on him a minute.

When we bought our Volvo in Hawaii back in June or July (can't remember), we bought it for very cheap.  We aren't the type of people that want to have debt or car payments to look forward to every month (we like to keep our paychecks in our pockets) so we bought something REALLY cheap.  The car was actually in VERY good condition for the price, but it had a few issues that we have had to address or will have to address.  I am AWFUL at car care.  I know how to add fluids and check fluids and that is pretty much where my car knowledge ends. 

The first very impressive thing that Levus did was change the oil in our car.  After seeing him do it, I realize it isn't that difficult of a task, but I am still very impressed!  Because he will eventually go on deployments while we need our oil changed, I will have to learn this pretty soon.  But how happy am I to have a man that can teach me to do this!?!

Last night we took on another car task.  When we bought the car one of the issues we needed to address ASAP was the drivers side rear view mirror.  I guess the woman that owned the car must have hit something, because it was taped on.  Because we have our Hawaii car inspection coming up in October (oh WAIT, that is NOW) we needed to get that done.  I can also say that I now realize why cars need rear view mirrors because I have almost been in multiple car accidents because you can't see jack and your blind spot is like quadrupled without a side mirror.  I ordered a mirror and it arrived in Missouri - the DAY AFTER I GOT TO HAWAII, AWESOME! So my momma mailed it to us.  Yesterday we got it and Levus put it on.  I can't say I wasn't nervous (well actually I was totally freaked out) when he yanked at full force the broken mirror off of the car, then proceeded to yank the door panel off of the car.  I was so worried that the door panel wouldn't go back on, and I told him that WE are NOT "those people" without door panels in our car.  Who I was talking about, I don't know, I think I lived in the Ozarks too long.  But anyway, the mirror was replaced and the panel is back on the car.  I'm so happy!  And my man impressed me again!

We still have a lot of work to be done to the car, but it is our little baby now.  Our investment car.  If we continue to take care of it the way it was taken care of by the previous owner then we will have this car forever.  If we decide to sell it when we leave the island (which we aren't doing, I'm just saying if we did) then we could probably even get more for it that we spent on it initially (not including repairs).

Work the Volvo Still Needs:
1) Shocks: not pretty when we drive over the speed bumps (which are everywhere at military installments)
2) Air Conditioning: not usually that bad because of the tradewinds, but the car gets very stuffy when we have to close the windows because it is raining, and rainy season is coming.  Also, traffic really sucks when we don't have air.
3) Stereo:  the front speakers don't work at all, and Levus says we need to replace the back ones as well.  The previous owner must have been really bumpin' to that "Women in Mythology" cassette tape we found in the car.

I'm sure that there is more that needs to be done, but this is what I can think of right now.  Every time an improvement is made on our car, it makes me want to take even better care of the car.  I love taking the Volvo to get baths, and I love to vacuum it out.  This should come as a shock to anybody that saw my last Volvo.  NOT A CLEAN CAR, and NOT WELL MAINTAINED.  What can I say, I'm learning.

03 October 2011

Free Smoker!

Something we have quick discovered about military installments is that when people PCS they dump stuff.  There are a few methods by which families that are PCSing get rid of things: giving stuff away to friends, giving stuff away to the Airman's Attic, or throwing the stuff out on the curb for either the scavengers to pick up or for the garbage man to haul off.  And boy to people like to throw stuff out.  One of Levus' shopmates found a brand new looking gas grill on the side of the road.  Although we thought this sounded to good to be true, last night we hit our own little personal jackpot.  I've always wanted a smoker rather than a grill because I'm in to smoked foods.  I love the rustic woody flavors, NOM!  While we were driving home from a great couponing trip at the NEX we spotted a Char-Broil brand grill/smoker!  Although the paint is peeling and the smoker could over all use some work, I am lucky enough to be marrying (in 5 days) a man who has the ability and knowledge to fix all of those things up on it.  The couple that I am staying with is being gracious to allow us to keep the smoker here until we have housing.  I'm SO excited to get cooking on our new smoker!  I see smoked fish, beer/soda can chicken, brisket, Kalua pork and chipotle peppers in my future!
In other news, the newspaper this weekend was filled with tons of awesome coupons.  We saved almost $15 (and only spent $32... so had about 30% savings off of already low military prices, and don't forget no sales tax!) on our bill last night at the NEX.  The NEX has some great coupon booklets and you're aloud to combine those coupons with the manufactures coupons from the newspaper (or the manufactures coupons from the other military stores).  I clipped last night after we went shopping.  I'm looking forward to being able to shop on my own at the Commissary and other AAFES stores so that I can find the deals and get the most bang for our buck with coupons.

We also went (and spent hours) at the un-airconditioned Pearl City Goodwill on Saturday.  We were originally planning on getting the Fiestaware plates at the AAFES because if one breaks you can easily replace it from wherever you are (either at another Exchange store or through Amazon).  I've always wanted mismatched retro plates, and the Goodwill had a good selection of floral retro dishes, so we ended up getting them from there.  Between the punch card $5 discount and the savings of buying things secondhand, we spent $45 for 11 large dinner plates, 11 small plates and 2 bowls (plus two retro pitchers, a globe for the guest room, an awesome floral trivet, three mini serving dishes, and leis for our family members when they arrive on Wednesday) rather than spending close to $150 for 4 three-piece place settings.  I also went on Friday to get some clothes for Levus and picked up two serving dishes, an awesome retro thermos as well as a $1 stainless steel coffee thermos for Levus to take to work every day.  I love finding things that we were planning on spending $20 on for just $1!

Metal Floral Trivet
2 of 4  of the designs: Floral Dinner Plates
the other 2 of 4 of the designs: Floral Dinner Plates
Floral Salad Sized Plates
Floral Bowls (still need more, only have 2 for 11 place settings)
Paisley-Like Serving Dishes (good for dips and mixed nuts etc)
Glass Pitchers with Green Tops
World Globe (for map/travel themed guest room)
1 of 2 serving dishes purchased on Friday
Vintage Thermos and Stainless Steel Travel Mug Thermos
It is just a few more days till the families start arriving!  The menu which was finalized is now changing again.  I can't decide what I want to do for a good fall salad to go with our meat and our baked beans.  We're also adding some kind of fall themed punch to put in our new pitchers.  I'm currently wondering what we're going to do with all of the food because I know it won't all fit into our cooler.  Hopefully if we can't fit it into the cooler we can hope for a quick ceremony.