Thursday, December 31, 2009

Our pilgrimage to dolly mecca.

Sixteen years ago I would have died to do what I just did the other day. Sixteen years ago I was ten years old and in love with the American Girl dolls. I still remember all of them: Felicity, Kirsten, Samantha & Molly. I had the Samantha and Molly dolls, I loved to dress them, play with them and do their hair! Well if only the American Girl stores were around back then. Today AG has opened these ginormous stores (the Costco of a doll store) dedicated to these dolls. Only now they have enough characters to fill a Hall of Fame plus baby dolls and look alike dolls. Doll clothes, accessories everywhere in this two story wonderland. Girls came through the doors with their dolls, in identical outfits, it was adorable. The poor fathers dragged along huddled in corners of the store with a sting of fear in their eyes. Not sure if it was the estrogen overload or the amount of cash they were getting ready to fork over for their princesses...maybe both.

Mom and I had a great time checking everything out, she even bought a doll that looked just like me! A doll with red hair and blue eyes so that she'd have a model for the doll clothes she loves to make. I officially have a mini-me!

Doll Hair Salon?

Now that's some serious treatment. They even have seatbelts on the chairs!

Tennis & Golf Outfits!

Is this creepy or what? I could see this being in a movie!

Me with my mini-me!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Feasting like the Italians, NOT the Swedes.

A typical Barker family Christmas has come and gone, another fun holiday with minimal fueds, illness and lots of company! We had our lovely Christmas Eve dinner, Italian style. Homemade pasta, fresh jumbo shrimp in a homemade marinara sauce and caesar salad. Oh and bread. LOTS and lots of bread! How did we come across this yummy spread? Well many moons ago my parents debated on who's family tradition to adopt for Christmas. Just to educate you on some of our cultural heritage, here is the my mother's Swedish Friberg fare: lutefisk, potato sausage, lots of white sauce and fruit soup. Italian Barker fare: see above. I'll leave it to the beloved Garrison Keillor to present an explanation of this time honored tradition: 

""Lutefisk is cod that has been dried in a lye solution. It looks like the desiccated cadavers of squirrels run over by trucks, but after it is soaked and reconstituted and the lye is washed out and it's cooked, it looks more fish-related, though with lutefisk, the window of success is small. It can be tasty, but the statistics aren’t on your side. It is the hereditary delicacy of Swedes and Norwegians who serve it around the holidays, in memory of their ancestors, who ate it because they were poor. Most lutefisk is not edible by normal people. It is reminiscent of the afterbirth of a dog or the world's largest chunk of phlegm."  ~Garrison Keillor's "Pontoon"

Fish Jello?

Every few years we migrate back to the frozen tundra for Christmas fully forewarned we will have to partake in this fabulous feast of fish jello. Needless to say we go to bed almost every Christmas Eve with full bellies and visions of sugar plum fairies dancing in our heads. 

Merry Christmas!

Colin scored some major points with the in-laws this year by giving my parents an American flag he flew over Iraq. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Home Sweet Home, a free wreath and happiness in sunny SoCal

Christmastime in San Diego! It may not be white but it sure is cheery! Everyone is decked out for Christmas and in a rather good mood. Including the Barker family. A rare occasion we're all getting along once we're tossed into the same house together! I flew in earlier this month from Guam. A nice respite from the Rock. I got my Target/Starbucks/Miguels fix and that makes me happy! The whole family is getting ready for Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow night, including me! We needed a wreath for the front door so I ran out to Home Depot and raided their tree branch bin...for free! The Barker family wreath officially cost me NOTHING this year! Which is good considering my recent visit to my old pal Nordstrom this week. 

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Running in the Rain...just another day on Guam!

Growing up in SoCal spoiled me so much I viewed the slightest drizzle as a "storm". San Diego news stations will broadcast "Storm Watch 2009"  that results in 1/4 of an inch of rain. Rain is a BIG DEAL for us San Diegans. But Guam? Not so much. Flooded streets are the norm here and to go out for a run and get soaked is actually a luxury, because you keep cool! Running in puddles, hearing your shoes squish as you plod through the streets, wiping water not sweat, off your face, all very normal on this island.

So it's no surprise Cheddar and I got up to attack the streets of Tumon at 5am this morning for the Jingle Bell 5K run! Along with 1,000 of our newest friends we jogged the streets, met new dogs and even made a potty stop (Cheddar, not me). Cheddar decided she was about done at 2.5 miles so I dragged her the rest of the way, when she heard the Christmas music playing at the finish line she picked up her step, that's my girl!

We stuck around with some friends for the usual awards ceremony and raffle. Being on a (VERY) tiny island plane tickets are a commodity around here. So it was no surprise they were giving away a few round trip tickets to Manila and Fiji. Guam really knows how to drag these things out, they always last at least an hour sometimes more. Little prizes usually include umbrellas and foldable chairs, I've yet to go to a race that did not award those. After all you need an umbrella to keep you dry while you sit back and relax during a family fiesta on the beach! The umbrellas would have been helpful when a lovely storm chasing Typhoon Nida moved in and soaked us. We stood in the pouring rain and wind that only graces the presence of Southeast Asia for 25 minutes waiting out the awards and plane ticket raffle. My friend Julie placed 1st in the female open division, as usual. Seriously, that girl is fast! So she accepted her medal as the rain poured off her face. In the end like usual, none of us found out we were traveling to any exotic destinations for free but were relieved to be able to head home to a hot shower. I can say this, this morning was THE FIRST time I used the heater in my car. No joke. I've never used the heater before because this place is hot and humid all the time! But standing in the rain for that long will put a chill on your body so Katie and I enjoyed a warm cozy car the whole drive home, 15 mph through flooded streets and all! I love this place.

Tommy, Cheddar & I waiting to win a prize!

Yeah she didn't like it either.

The crew, braving the storm for a chance to escape the island!

The effects of Typhoon Nida blowing by.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My Man!

I just wanted to show off my handsome husband. I am so thankful for the wonderful guy God put in my life! It's Thanksgiving which means we're about half way through our seven month deployment. With our 1st anniversary coming up (can you believe it??) I get more and more excited about spending the rest of my life with him. I love you babe!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Aiming for the "Hostess with the Mostess" award.

I thought I'd make a quick post, it's been almost a month since I last wrote! I guess that means I've been BUSY! Believe me, that makes things go so much faster! Last week I hosted a Home Show Extravaganza. Think Tupperware on crack. I have five different vendors inside my house at once...with about 50 women...drinking sangria. It was a hoot! Seriously I think the base should have a contest to see how many people they can fit into one bunker---er um, house. I think I would have a shot at winning, seriously!

We had drawings, prizes, demos it was fantastic. I got to meet some new ladies in my neighborhood which is a huge plus and I think everyone had a genuine good time! Cleanup was another story but had to be done because I had another gathering at the house Monday evening. Together with Jolene, Abby, Bea, Juliett and Stephanie we wrapped & ribboned 125 toys for the Children's Christmas Party on Dec 5th. That's not the crazy part. The crazy part is storing 125 wrapped and ribboned toys in my guest room. My house basically resembles Santa's workshop on December 26th. But of course I was up until 12:30am last night cleaning so I can host Bunco tonight! I love Bunco, so much fun and I have some great prizes to give away, yay! It should be a great time!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dancing "Thriller" at 6am!

What can I say, halloween was a roaring success here on the fabulous island of Guam. We may not have fall leaves, cool weather and the smell of logs on the fireplace but we do have fallen coconuts, warm island breezes and a faint smell of salty sea air!

The day began at 430am, I got up in costume (80's style) for a Halloween 5K with my running group, complete with a warmup to "Thriller" at 6am. We may not have been the fastest group but we sure were the most entertaining. While many runners were sprinting to the finish line to claim a coveted t-shirt (which are never guaranteed to every participant!) we danced, pranced, leaped, jumped and twirled our way through the course. Julie and our coach Noemie would simulate Michael Jackson's "Thriller" while jumping over cones, and would run up the stairs of the courthouse to the tune  of "Rocky" while bemused runners carried on. I became quite proficient at traffic cone leaps. I got a cheer every time I hurtled one. How's that for encouragement?

So it was a fun, relaxed race and after checking out the costumes (President and Mrs Obama, a marine dressed as a Hooters waitress (complete with a sock), the cast of Pacman, and three teenage guys (who we are guessing want to be the famed Jonas brothers) wearing speedos and signs over them that said "Censored". So fun!

Later on I put on my costume and Cheddar put on hers. Or rather I painted hers, Smurfstyle.

So what do you think?

My little Smurfette had a grand time. We joined our neighbor Stephanie to hand out candy to trick-o-treaters. She lives on Rota Drive, which is THE happenin' place for Halloween. Also known as the Big Wig street, most of the base's top ranking brass live there so of course, would you expect anything less than supremo candy bars? It was like a tsunami of children, six o' clock hit and bam! Kids were coming in droves. Stephanie and I couldn't even sit down, we were too busy handing out candy to children by the dozen. Cheddar kept busy by "inspecting" everyone's candy bucket.

Once all the kids retreated home into sugar comas I finished my costume and headed downtown to a halloween party with some of my buds from the squadron. I dressed as "Miss March", a proud member of the Calendar Girls this year. Each of us dressed as a month, it was hilarious. I dressed in a green swimsuit with a white skirt, green top and boots. Then I pinned a couple dozen shamrock cutouts to my outfit! I don't have pictures yet but will post them as soon as they become available. But I will say that it was a pretty interesting time. There is no lack of creativity with these people, we had Waldo, Flash the Superhero, Chick Magnet, a beer drinking chicken and Mr Guam, my friend Chris dressed in a cardboard cutout of the island where everyone wrote a memory of theirs on the board. To put it kindly, it was a colorful plethora of "memories".

By midnight I was sacked. No late night for me, I was up early this morning baking for a church luncheon and BBQ with my running girls later.

No rest for the weary!

I apologize for the crooked pictures, Iphoto isn't working with me today. :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Martha Stewart strikes again...

I think I have hit a new low. I know I'm pretty crafty but I'm pretty sure I could have found something else to do with my abundance of time out here. I received a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter in my "Boo Got You!" present a couple weeks back. Wondering what I should do with it I thought it might be fun to make dog biscuits. Cool? I think so. But after taking a good look at my dog, it is pretty clear the pooper is getting starting to look a little round, I attribute that to a few too many pig ears. Not wanting the biscuits to go to waste I figured I would just give them away to the neighbor dogs. 

So I finish making these biscuits. Cheddar's pudgy mouth was drooling with anticipation as I scooped, poured and stirred together oats, cornmeal, milk and peanut butter. When the adorable little gourds were done my mind decided to get creative (sometimes I can't help it!). I bagged a couple at a time and tied them with an orange ribbon. And here's where it goes over the edge. I printed out little tags that say "Happy Halloween! Love, Cheddar" and then made Cheddar "sign" them with her inked paw. She was a tad unhappy about that. :)

So when all was said and done I bagged them up and sent them off to the neighbors. One can only wonder what silly thing I come up with next? :0)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Truly Terrible Tarague Hill

I love weekends! Not as much as I did when I was working but still, they rock! It began 430am. I wouldn't say this was fun but boy am I glad it's done! I drove down to Tarague beach for running camp. Not having much of a clue as to what was on tap for that day I was pretty relaxed. So like every day we start running down the road that parallels the beach. Not bad, it's pitch black of course so we've got flashlights and reflective gear. We get to the famous Sanders Slope. I say famous because this narrow little road goes from sea level to 600 feet, the highest part of the island in about 1/2 mile. I have never seen such a steep grade before, Colin's car can't even climb it! So we start climbing and about 1/3 of the way into it, I call back to Noemie, our coach in a meek little voice "uh Noemie? "Yes?" "So uh, how far are we going to go this morning?" "All the way Caitleeen (she's french)" "No (pant pant) really, (pant) how far?" "To the top! Keep running!" "(pant)Whaaat??" I yell. "YOU CANNOT STOP KEEP RUNNING!!!!!" (for such a cute little woman, she can scare the pants off you). Seriously there was probably about three inches between my steps as I climbed. Good thing it was dark, I looked PATHETIC! Combine that with cars speeding down the road, I was a mess. Somehow we made it to the top, we all survived it. I only managed to step on one slimy creature (I'm thinking a frog), not bad. The run back down was glorious. I felt like a speed racer, it was fantastic! Somehow the two miles back was nothing compared to that monster hill, amazing how your perspective changes sometimes!

So after I recovered from my torturous run we all went to the Osterhaus's house for Make-Your-Own Calzone night. Wow, Mike could seriously put my Nana to the test. They were fantastic! We played Balderdash afterwards, this is definitely a game you need to play with guys, there is no shortage of creativity in those heads of theirs, reminds me of those times in college when we would put off studying for as long as possible. [Sigh] Those were the days!

Today we all gathered in the "Quad" for football. The quad is the stretch of grass that lies behind our house. Several of our neighbors are from the squadron so naturally, we clearly feel it's our property! Today all the dogs showed up. We had Skipper, Cash, Oscar, Cheddar and Dawson (note, all 60lbs and up) all milling (er, sprinting madly) about the field. The game was more entertaining than College Game day, imagine trying to run down the field for a block as three dogs jump, spin and bounce...right in front of you. Oscar, a tank of a black lab decided to play linebacker and blitzed the QB every time. Poor Levi ran for a catch...straight into Oscar, both executed some Olympic quality somersaults leaving Levi sprawled on the ground and Oscar bounding back up to get the ball. The dog is pure rubber.

My team won of course (why wouldn't we?) and we polished off the evening with brats, burgers and chips. YUM! What is even better is that the ocean breeze swept in and kicked the pants off the humidity, praise the Lord!! The dogs of course were still panting and drooling, but this time by the grill. Relentless I say!

Now it is off to bed, I must rise and shine at 4:30am for my last week of running camp!

Displaying my vote in a rousing game of Balderdash!

Some of us gals after some fabulous calzones!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fall? Where's Fall?

So it's been awhile. I guess I haven't been in much of a "blogging" mood so here's a recap on a typical October in Guam:

  • I've woken up at 4:30AM EVERY Monday, Wednesday & Friday for running camp since September 8th, as hard as it still is to get up, I find myself wide awake at 5am on the other days. :) But it has been an excellent form of discipline for my procrastinating self!
  • Watched the first air show Guam has had in six years. AAFB treated 10,000 locals to some spectacular flying on behalf of the Navy and Air Force. The Thunderbirds made a gracious appearance and rocked the socks off the island. I was humored to read an article in the paper three days later, I swear this the type of stuff that humors us on a regular basis.
  • Trained for the Ko'Ko's Half Marathon (today) of which I was able to do 8 miles of. My knees haven't been too kind to me however it is still better than the six I thought I'd do. I was up at 3:30AM to run that puppy (even in October it is HHOOTTTT), it has become very clear that I must become a morning person to thrive on this island.
  • Last Thursday I ran into the Under Secretary of the Navy & the "Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps", General Amos. This four star sportin' Marine came right up to my friends at I as we were leaving Top of the Rock to talk to us! He discovered we were Navy (he was very excited about that) and he talked about his experience as a pilot  flying both fighters & helos! He wanted to make sure the AF was treating us Navy folk well and announced he was escorting the SEC around Guam that day.
  • Blew a tire on my seven month old car...
  • Started organizing a big Christmas party for the squadron including food and toys for 100+ kids, crafts, games and of course, Santa's grand entrance in a helicopter! Stay tuned for the madness...
  • No scary typhoons this month! Woohoo!
So that's a peek into the last couple of weeks of my life. I talked to Colin a couple of days ago, he is doing very well. Despite the endless routine out there, he loves the flying and people he's with. We're just over two months in, well 63 days to be exact! I'm fortunate to have my favorite holidays on the horizon and I think that will help pass the time more quickly. Before I know it, the love of my life will be home!

Until later...

2009 Air Show

Jolene & I baking in the sun on the tarmac.

Cheddar's two week roommate, Perdita. She and her siblings stayed with some of us on base until their doggy parents (aka Mason, Sarah & Caleb) could get their A/C fixed. As usual Cheddar got over her territorial toy issues and welcomed her new friend in.

I grew weak, I started letting Cheddar hang out on the couch....

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Mother Nature Education

So we managed to escape the brunt of the latest tropical storm "Parma" but it looks like we might get another visit from Mother Nature on Saturday morning. Typhoon Melor is racing towards the Marianas Islands. They think it will pass to the north, sparing us the worst of what she has to offer but these things change their minds every ten minutes, or so it seems. I must say I'm learning a lot about weather out here! Being a native San Diegan I thought I was cool because we could boast having 4 "micro-climates" in one city. I'm learning terms like "tropical disturbance", "super typhoon", "vertical wind shear" and my favorite: "tropical depression" - something we like to think we feel when the cabin fever gets the best of us! I'm also learning that even the best technology cannot accurately predict weather patterns. Yesterday we were supposed to be hit with 45+ mph winds from Parma (the scheduled air show was cancelled), the whole island was on both Tropical Storm alert and a Tsunami alert, from the earthquake near Samoa. As a result, both the weather and the roads  were more calm than my dog during her morning nap. Crazy!

So we'll have to see what Melor is in the mood for. I'm supposed to do the Strides For Life 5K on Saturday morning so I'm bummed I may have to settle for the treadmill, such as life. In the meantime, check out this latest picture below. Does that spell DOOM or what??

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Typhoon Time!

Okay so it's not a formal typhoon...yet anyway. But we do have a tropical storm headed our way and boy is everyone going crazy! I started gathering items last night, candles, batteries, flashlights, water etc. This morning I went to the Commissary (along with 843 other folks) to grab some more water and food. I am pretty sure I have enough but there is this sort of paniky "but what if I don't have enough??" feeling I got so I decided to go. They ran out of carts! It was crazy. I had to wait in line for one and when I finally wound my way around the store for the essentials I waited behind 30 other people (in the express line no doubt!) to check out. It was the same at the gas station too. I decided to pull the ole' generator out of our storage closet and quickly remembered one very important thing I forgot to ask my loving husband before he the heck do I work this thing??? So I spent much of this morning filling it with gas (and going to the gas station for more...again) and playing with hookups and manuals. I have figured out one thing...I can run the monster but I can't hook it up to our house because we forgot to buy a hose for that!!! Since we expect to lose power by tomorrow I"ll plan to use an extension cord to run basic appliances and fans. Phew!

Along with yours truly, Cheddar is getting her first experience with a Guam storm. We made a valiant attempt at our morning walk with our neighbor Stephanie today until a huge wall of wind and rain came off the golf course and decided to curb that idea. Soaked, we sulked home. While I was bringing patio items into the house Cheddar disappeared. Of course without her collar! So I spent the better part of a half hour searching for her. She eventually reappeared but looked quite spooked from everything going on. So until this puppy passes over the island, she's on a tight leash!

If our phone goes out (likely) I have my cell available: 858.883.5079. I only use it for emergencies so I'll turn it off in a couple of days. But if you need to reach me, there ya go!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A last look at VBS!

Our main character "Gadget" (also known as Doug O'Meara!) composed a video that takes a peek at the three day retreat we organized at church earlier this month. I must admit, craft time was my favorite!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Well this weekend certainly was a whirlwind. I was telling my friend Tessa the other day that my life in Guam is like a New York cab. Busy busy busy, moving fast and then slam! Everything comes to a halt. Before you know it I'm busy busy busy and boom, I'm bored! This weekend provided many a social opportunity for this chick. Friday brought a big giant party at Tessa's house to welcome her husband Christ home for a whopping 36 hours (his ship pulled in port for a quick stop). I'm still mystified she was generous enough to share her husband with 50 of their closest friends for a good portion of that but hey, free food, why not?? :) 

Saturday was insane! In effort to stay busy (and no ability to say no to anyone) I welcomed about 50+ people over to my house for the squadron's customary Hail & Bail and annual basket auction. Every few months we get together for a tradition formally known as "Hail & Fairwell" where the Skipper welcomes in the new officers and their families and sends off the departing ones. This "mandatory fun" event is also a great excuse for the guys to get together over a few beers (it IS the Navy right??). The OSC (Officers Spouses Club) organizes a basket auction every fall to raise money for the children's Christmas party we host for all the kids in the squadron (and yes, I am putting that together...too). Over the last couple of weeks the ladies have gone together and created baskets to auction off. I must say, for an organization that does not hold a 501(c) 3 status, we kicked some booty! These baskets were AMAZING. I've got a couple of pics below for ya. There is no lack of creativity among these wonderful women, I'm just sayin!

A few of the guys came over on Friday to setup a HUGE tent and tables, chairs and a sound system. Yep, a sound system and yep, I realized ten minutes before the event began that I forgot to alert the neighbors about that one. My house hasn't been TP'd and I haven't received any hate mail yet so I think we're all still on good terms! Before you know it we've got dozens of folks milling about the basket tables, licking their chops. And I'm not talking about the mexican food sitting at the end of the line! The JOPA decided it was theme night so they all showed up in bathrobes. Fantastic. Again, like the wives, there is no lack of creativity in these guys. (See pics below!) Tessa and Jolene joined in and put on their robes and sold raffle tickets for our 50/50 raffle (BTW, a huge money maker for all you non-profits!). Todd and Mason did an incredible job of emceeing the night. I haven't laughed that hard in quite some time, they did a fantastic job. I truly think the guests enjoyed the event quite a bit. By the end of the night we raised $3700! It's the most successful basket auction we've had in YEARS. Whooppee! And since I'm putting together this next shindig, I am a VERY happy girl!

So after the mayhem of Saturday, Sunday brought a tupperware party (yes, they still exist and they ROCK!), a kickball game and Chinese food with the Pikes! The most notable part of the day was the Pooch Plunge at the base pool. Scheduled to close for complete remodel the next day they had a dog swim in the pool. Fantastic! The event consisted of owners dragging, throwing, pushing and pulling their dogs into the water. I did all of the above with Cheddar, she was not happy to be dunked!! She held onto me like a baby and kept trying to make a beeline for the edge of the pool when she had the nerve to let go. It was chaos in a pool. She did however master the 1 1/2 foot baby pool with an air of confidence and it probably explains the prissy behavior she displayed shortly thereafter. While running around the kiddie pool with a small pack of dogs, she growled at a dog. I probably shouldn't have intervened because the pool boss came up behind me and demanded I leash "that dog" and remove her from the pool area. The expressions on the faces of those around me were awesome, how lame. Clearly, he'd never been to a dog park...or pool before. So I suppose I am the proud owner of the first and only dog to ever get (almost) kicked out of the base pool! How's that for bragging rights? 

So that is my weekend, hope you enjoy the pictures!

Tessa, Joe & Jolene selling raffle tickets! Who can say no to a woman in rollers? Or a guy in a pink robe?

"Rolling Cocktail Party"

"Everything But the Clubs"

"His & Hers" BBQ set

A few items kidnapped from the XO's house. XO decided the golf package was way more valuable than his stuff. =)

Our awesome emcees, Todd & Mason, fully dressed for the part!

"Deployment Survival" basket put together by Tessa & Yours Truly. It doesn't take long for a couple of Det wives to come up with something like this! It went for over $200!

The proud JOPA sporting their finest bathwear. 

Cash holding on for dear life.
Some pups even dressed up for the occasion! 
Look at us!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Half Marathon in Guam....shoot!

So just when I thought I was over my impulsive tendencies, I caved...again. So I was out shopping for some items for my "Deployment Survival" basket for our squadron basket auction on Saturday. I decided to run over to Hornet Sports and sign up for a couple of 5k's. I figure that would motivate me to run and well, just get me out of bed on Saturday mornings. Now, coming from a high tech company that processes online registrations for thousands of athletic (and participatory!) events each year, you'd think I'd expect to go online and register for these events, conveniently. Oh! But this is Guam! Haha, I almost forgot. Take back 10 years and that is what we've got here. Old fashioned paper and cash registration.

So I'm at Hornet browsing the whopping two 5k's they have posted when I come across the Koko's Half Marathon next month. People have been asking why I hadn't signed up for it and I said, it's just too humid and why punish myself for 13.1 miles on this cliff laden Rock? Why I didn't propose that argument to myself in the store, I have no idea. But I can say the rush of race day came back to me again and I thought, I should sign up, surprise everyone and do it! So I did. I paid my $30 (THAT is a reason to do it right there, a steal!) and walked out only to get in the car and go "HOLY BEANS! WHAT ON EARTH AM I THINKING???" And yes, I'm still saying that to myself. I guess I'll let you know when it stops. 

But for now I will get my tush out of bed each morning and push myself toward a goal of 13.1 miles by October 18th. Yes, ONE MONTH FROM TODAY! Oh geez, that's a new record for impulsive race signups for me. And I didn't even have the atmosphere and peer pressure to cave into. Just 100% humidity, 85 degrees and dirt, lots of dirt and my current ability to run about three miles at a time. Oh and did I mention the base doesn't allow joggers to use i-pods? 

I'm not in Kansas (ahem, San Diego) anymore am I?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Go Go G.A.D.G.E.T!

So the last five months of my life culminated last weekend with Vacation Bible School at church. A few obstacles got in our way but God prevailed and we were able to succeed. Yes, normally VBS is supposed to be a summer activity but due to some conflicts with the Guam Public School's schedule we had to delay VBS by a few weeks. So we turned it into a weekend retreat, sort of a welcome back to the island, family event, parents included! "Gadget's Garage" came to Lutheran Church of Guam with music, drama, games, dinner and storytelling! For three nights 25 kids and their parents came to church and what a time we had! The parents got some much needed time away with a bible study with Pastor Austin and the kids....well they had a pretty darn good time. For two and a half hours each night we sang, danced, painted, and ran around learning about "God's Always Doing Great and Exciting Things!" - Get it? G.A.D.G.E.T! I spent a better part of my time refereeing the craft table. The kids made robots out of milk cartons, toilet paper rolls, bottle caps and an assortment of other recycled items. If I had any idea how much they liked to paint I probably would've given them a canvas and some finger paint and they would've been over the moon. Our youngest participant, Trevor used his 2 year old creativity on the carton, the table, his shirt...his face. It was a hoot! It was so great to see kids aged 2 - 15 enjoy playing together, they had so much fun! And I must say I did too, it was so great to see all that work culminate into a success...whew!

Enjoy these next couple of pics, truly a great time!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Husbands are fantabulous!

Ahh, I knew there was a reason I married that guy. He spoils me! ;) After organizing a three day retreat at church this week I came home to a package sitting on my doorstep....a NEW GARMIN WATCH! It's a Forerunner 405 and it's pretty!! Despite a car packed to the gills with craft supplies, costumes and set decorations AND a warm humid house (island wide power outage from storm) I sat on the living room floor to check out my newest toy. Oh it is SO COOL! It is so not just a "watch". We are past those days. This sucker is smart! Not only can it time a run, but it has GPS to track distance and direction, tracks your running history and connects to your computer wireless! It also has this little dude on the screen you can race against...who'd thunk!

Oh and it gets better. When Colin realized my watch wouldn't arrive in time for my birthday he contacted my friends Kristina and Crystal (they own a flower business!) and arranged to have them deliver roses. What a guy! So now I have this fabulous watch I get to take adventuring and beautiful flowers to come home to. 

Soooo happy. Can you tell?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Busy Birthday

So I turned the big 2-6 this past Monday. I have to say I don't feel any different. Once you get that discount on your car insurance (and apparently another when you get married??) it's all downhill from there. I've been told once you hit 30, you start receiving those "I'm sorry you're old" cards from your friends so I guess i"ll have to enjoy the next four years!!

Since Colin was gone (again) for my birthday I felt like it just needed to be low key. Well everyone got mad at me for not telling them but I guess I was never one to advertise? It is just a birthday after all, right? Well thanks to Facebook, it didn't take long. My friend Kristina clued in (that clue might have come in the form of an email from my husband) and immediately told me to come over that night for pizza and wine. Who can say no to pizza and wine? I AM a det wife after all. Eventually word got around and before you know it I had a packed schedule for the day! Food court lunch & ice cream with Stephanie (guam kinda closes down on holidays, evenings...whenever it feels like it), pool with Tessa (where we judged a diving competition for some visiting AF dudes who had a grand time making complete fools of themselves), a Pampered Chef party at Erin's (where once again I bought something when I promised my husband I wouldn't...but I've always needed a cheesecake pan and the opportunity was there!), bible study at the Willand's (where I get my share of laughs for the week!) and finally Kristina's for not only pizza and wine but birthday cake! And it was Cold Stone birthday cake...with sweet cream ice cream...with cookie dough on top. Cold Stone knows how to do cakes, if you've never had one, go and pick one up now! Kristina invited a bunch of ladies over as well (including Crystal's little daughter Caroline). They all decided I needed to see a movie that night (it was 10:30pm) so we trucked over to Micronesia Mall. Of course only in Guam would the box office close before the theater ITSELF closed. Now knowing me, I would have said "It's all good!" and gone home, popped in a DVD and called it a night. No. Not with Tessa. My should-have-been-a-lawyer friend decided we were going to see this movie (she rarely loses an argument). So lo and behold, she befriended the usher and over the course of five minutes gave him the biggest guilt trip on this side of the dateline. 

1) We drove all the way from base to see this movie.
2) It was nonsense for a box office to close before the previews even start.
3) It's my birthday!!
4) We are ALL det wives meaning our husbands have been deployed for anywhere from 1-5 months, we are LONELY!
5) Because we're lonely, if we don't get in, we'll start bawling on the spot.

Poor Movie Mark didn't even know what hit him. Before he knew it we had two other employees scrambling for a phone to call the manager at home. Ten minutes later a sweet girl comes back and says "The manager says "Happy Birthday, go and enjoy the movie!" Woohoo! So we even got in for free and had the entire theater to ourselves. Not bad eh?

So all in all it was a great birthday. I got home at 1:30am and called my mom like a good girl to say hello. I got to bed at 3:30am with plans to get up in time to start Running Camp at 5:00am. Yep, lunch + pool + pampered chef + bible study + WINE, pizza and cake + late night movie = I completely slept through my alarm. Argh, so it was almost a perfect 24 hours. I did start running camp on Wednesday however and it kicked my butt, rightly so. 

It's all good right?