Friday, February 29, 2008

Part Coastie, Almost Alaskan

I found this article today and since we are a Coast Guard family moving to Alaska, it piqued my interest. If you want to read it in the original form, here is the site

Here is the text, unchanged by me:

You're likely aware that the notorious Exxon Valdez case is back in court yet again. Yesterday, the Most Profitable Company of All Time argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that it shouldn't have to pay $2.5 billion in damages to Alaskans harmed by the spill. (That was reduced from the original $5 billion, but Exxon argues it shouldn't have to pay any damages. Yes, really.)

It is, of course, morally repugnant almost beyond measure for the company to be fighting this still today. But my outrage and disgust aren't particularly interesting. What might be interesting is a fact you may not know about the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain.

Just four months after the Valdez spill, Sen. George Mitchell introduced S.686, a measure relating to oil spills and liability. Sen. Brock Adams then introduced an amendment (S.Amdt.669) requiring double hulls on all new tankers over 20,000 tons operating in U.S. waters. (Valdez was a single-hull tanker.)

Big Oil's Best Buddy Sen. John Breaux moved to table the amendment. When the vote was taken, the amendment was indeed tabled, by an extremely narrow 51-48 vote.

Guess who voted with Breaux and Big Oil? That's right: Straight Talkin', Special Interest Hatin', Enviro-Maverick John McCain!

Again: four months after the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history, McCain voted against requiring double hulled tankers.

To this day, Exxon is the only oil company that doesn't use double-hulled tankers to ship oil in and out of Alaska.


Such a shame. Why keep the same old same old in office? We can make a change. Support Obama '08.


Thanks everyone for your awesome comments and emails regarding my last post. I am not digging this grieving business at all, and I think that I have hit only the tip of the iceberg. Wouldn't you know that yesterday as I was having an irrational meltdown and put myself in time out by going outside to hang up laundry, "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor came on the radio (one of Mom's songs) and DH turned the radio up so I would be sure to hear it outside. Some people call it goosebumps, but I call it chicken skin. All I know is that I was rocking it.

I will play catch up this weekend and post our family pictures from Japan. Pinky swear.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Happy Birthday

Dear Mom
Happy birthday. Today is your 51st birthday, can you believe it? I can't. In my mind, you will always be 40, that is how I remember you. You were so happy and vibrant at that time, it is hard to believe that you are gone.

Today I made Swedish pancakes with lingonberries for breakfast for us. Just like you used to make. I even used the Jenny's cookbook from the Jenny Lind Society that was your favorite. I was going to make a cake but couldn't decide between a fresh carrot cake with raisins, grated carrots and cream cheese frosting or a fresh coconut cake. I wonder which you would prefer.

I think about you every single day. Some days are better than others, but there are some days where it feels like my heart is breaking, I miss you so much. I still hear songs on the radio that send me reeling and make me stop in my tracks. Everyone kept telling me that things get better with time, but I can't see how. I think that they were trying to be nice, bless them.

This summer, it will be 32 years since you had to make the most life changing decision of your life. You were young and pregnant and you decided to be a single mother. I can't even imagine the stress that you went through raising me at different times in your life as a single parent. I am so thankful that you made the decision to keep me. I needed you and I think that you needed me.

There are times lately when I think of things and try to remember things and can't. Then I think to myself, "Oh, I will just ask Mom, she will remember." Then I realize that I can never ask you things again. I alone am the keeper of our memories. It is up to me to pass down the funny stories and experiences that we had. Such a huge responsibility. It all started with me trying to remember our neighbor's last name when we lived in Glenview 15 years ago, now I have come to this massive revelation that it is all on me.

I miss you, Mom. I hope that you are at peace. And I hope that you know that I love you. Please hang around us, we need an angel and I hope that you can see your little Connor baby. He is so adorable. I talk to him all the time about you.

Your daughter, Missy

Monday, February 25, 2008

Looking for photos?

I started writing the post on Feb 20 and finished it today. Scroll down to the Wed. Feb 20 post for lots of photos.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Want to buy me a present?

Or any other Obama loving, knitting person in your life? Well, go here:

and clickity-click on this lovely sock yarn. Hurry there are only 3 skiens available. She is giving over half of the sale price to Obama's campaign. Rock on!

Maybe I will knit you a pair of socks from it, you never know. Oh, and one skien should make a normal sized pair of socks. I know that you were wondering.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Back from vacay

Yep, we are back. Actually we have been back for a couple of days. We went to Japan for 16 days. It was great, but it is good to be home. I am working on the most picture intensive post that I have ever done. A little darling is learning about Japan in school, so I want to give her lots of info. We took almost 400 pictures with the digital camera alone. I don't know how many rolls of film DH shot.

Anyway, on to some serious stuff...

Wisconsin, I LOVE you!!! Let's keep the Obama train rolling, okay? Now, if I can ask for an early birthday present (it would only be 5 days early)...Texas & Ohio, you have to come through for us. We need you to finish her off.

Do you knit, crochet or cross stitch? And love Obama? Well, lookie here for a chart of the logo: (linky thing isn't working, sorry) This is from my Ravelry group, but can be used for cross stitch as well. Would look so sweet over one made into a bookmark.

Here is another pattern, this one is a "Yes We Can" hat. I love it!

And I wouldn't be a very good Obama supporter if I didn't share this letter with you all. Courtesy of Posie This embodies exactly how I feel. Although I wasn't even born in the 1960's, I identify with how he put his feelings and thoughts down on paper. Well written indeed.

Until next time.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Japan photos

We were in Japan for 16 days. We started out in/around Tokyo, then took the Shinkansen up to Aomori, then took the Shinkansen back down to Kyoto. It was a fun trip. If you plan to go to Japan, plan on taking mass transit. A cab in Japan is quite expensive. We took the high speed train (Shinkansen) for our long trips but otherwise just used the city bus or the subway/train system. Plan ahead, read the guide books and look for the signs in English. Sometimes they can be hard to find, but they are usually there. Or ask someone. English isn't spoken much, but if you gesture and speak slowly, people are more than willing to help. Plus, it will save you from wasting 7 hours of your life on a train going nowhere, like us.

The exchange rate is okay, we got between 104 & 109 Yen to our US Dollar, depending on where we exchanged money. Japan is expensive though. I was going
to order a Coke with dinner one night and it was $5 USD. I had water instead.

If you are in the military, or retired from the military, I can't recommend the Hotel New Sanno in Tokyo highly enough. It is dirt cheap, and is absolutely fabulous. Something is wrong with blogger, I can't enter web links without adding a bunch of HTML code, so use your Google-Fu and look it up if interested.

Anyway, on to the pictures. My apologies to those with slow connections.


Tsukiji Fish Market

Gas Station outside of Tsukiji Fish Market

Guy directing traffic at Tsukiji Fish Market

Commercial sales stall at Tsukiji Fish Market

This is a park right in the middle of Tokyo. Very nice and peaceful.

Cherry blossoms

Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple

Pretty stained glass window over doorway at Tsukiji Hongwanji Temple

Yum, Yum! Don't you want some of these for dinner?

These were right in between two really tall buildings. It was a nice little spot to look for a couple of minutes as traffic zipped by you.

Tokyo Tower

Zojo-Ji Temple with Tokyo Tower in the background

At Zojo-Ji Temple

Tokyo station (train)

At some temples, you can get your fortune told. The way it was explained to us is that people pay a few dollars, then shake a wooden cylinder, they then look inside and see what number is there. The person behind the counter gives them a sheet of paper with their fortune on it according to the number. They then tie it to these lines. We saw some tied to tree branches also. I don't know if this is correct, but it is how it was explained to us.

At temples, you can purchase these little wooden plaques and write your wish or prayer on it, then hang it up. Makes a very interesting display.

Hirosaki Castle in Hirosaki

Lantern at Hirosaki Lantern Festival

Snow slide at Hirosaki Lantern Festival

Snow Sculpture at Hirosaki Lantern Festival

Hello Kitty is crazy popular. This is at the Lantern Festival

Pagoda at Showa Daibutsu

Showa Daibutsu, Japan's largest outdoor Buddha (this was a very neat park)

Barrel of Radishes at a market stall

Gion, the Geiko (Geisha) and Meiko (apprentice Geiko) district in Kyoto

Back side of tea houses in Gion

Better view of tea house in Gion

This is a boarding house (Okiya) in Gion. Girls live here as they are learning to become Geiko (Geisha). Each wooden plaque is the name of a person that lives in the house. So, this house has 4 Meiko (apprentice Geisha) and the large plaque on the right is the family name.

At the Yasaka Shrine, Gion, Kyoto

People rubbed this bull for luck

Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavillion) also known as Rokuon-ji Temple. This was absolutely stunning to see. It was snowing all morning, which made the view much more dramatic.

Another shot

Nijo Castle

Entrance to Gion-Shimbashi

Buckets of water are placed outside of homes and businesses in Kyoto. This goes back to when everything was made out of wood and the fear of fire was on everyone's mind. The buckets are more symbolic now, but there are quite a few all wood structures remaining.

Barrels of Sake at a Shinto Shrine

The entrance of Todai-ji Temple and Deer Park in Nara

They will eat anything and love to be petted as long as you are feeding them

Todai-ji Temple, the Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall) is one of the world's largest wooden structures.

Buddha in bronze

View from Kiyomizu Temple. You can see the city of Kyoto in the distance.

Along the river in Kyoto. Yards & space between buildings is non-existent.

Ginkaku-ji Temple (Silver Pavillion)

Bronze lanterns at a temple

I have a ton more pictures to show, but I wanted to get these up. Next post will be pictures of us in Japan. Again, use your Google-Fu to look up any of these spots that look interesting. Or ask me.


Friday, February 08, 2008

Fun Stuff...

Both Kendra and Kim gave me the "Make My Day Award". Yay! I am not so sure that I am deserving, but I love it none the less (is that supposed to be one word?). Thanks, ladies. You would be on my list for sure. Now I have to figure out two to take your places.

The Rules: Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times.

Here goes (in no particular order...just from my google reader):

1. Cass - You rock...this isn't just the 2 bottles of wine talking. A fellow vodka drinker, she is a homeschooler, a pet sitter and knitter. Girl crush, oh yeah.

2. Phoe - A youngster and one of the absolutely most generous people that I know (virtually). She has already received this award, so this is twice as nice.

3. Jenn - I totally miss you blogging. Come back please!

4. Vicki - An inspiration to the minions like me. I hope that in my next life, I am born a human again and can be like Vicki.

5. Deece - Seriously, could I not inclued you? I am so happy that we have our Saturdays together...wish we would have started sooner. Your creativity and ingenuity are an inspiration to me.

6. Alicia - I don't know you...just a lurker...but I am constantly in awe of your creativity. Keep on doing what you do!

7. Mona - My favorite Kirida...even if I really don't know what that means, and I don't really know you. You say the things that I wish I had the balls to say. And your son is the cutest. Well, next to mine.

8. Debi - We are so alike that I find it weird that we aren't related. WTF? Go OBAMA!!! 2008 is our year, baby!!! I will so get to your tag in a minute.

9. Michelle - I love your style, your photos, and the stitching. I finally saw Marie Antoinette...loved it!

10. Melanie - I wish that we lived are an inspiration! I am loving the the kids could play together!

My BFF, Stels....if you had a blog, you would be on this list. Just know that you make my day all the time. <3. Chiloe, you are on it! And B, if arranged marriages were allowed in this country, I would forfeit my retirement so Connor could marry June...way too cute! And KaLu, I am sending you lots of love...and warm weather wishes...I am hoping we come to LV next year for vacay!). Just have


Love love.

Survivor: Micronesia

Seriously, they are just faking us out. We are watching Palau again...where is Guam? Where is Saipan? Agrihan? Hmm, those are islands in Micronesia that haven't been previously filmed. WTF....Palau? Already done.

Come on. Redone re-runs suck.