Friday, August 24, 2007

A Big Fat Reason I'm Happy We Live Off Base

I'm playing Zelda on the wii tonight (yes, I know - ok, I gave him a hard time - I play the stupid wii too... it's FUN, ok!? Now shut up - and if you tell Craig I said that, I'll deny it until he reads this post) and Mia's watching me. Craig had to go in to his office (across the island about 20 minutes away when it isn't rush hour) and wasn't here. Of course. Suddenly I'm hearing drum beats - but it's not from the video game. I pause it, and open our sliding doors. DRUMS! SINGING!

"Mia!! Come on! Put on your shoes, let's GO!"
"What? Why..."

We run down the street - It's so amazing - a big parade of Eisa dancers!

The good news: I have video, I just need to cut down the size a bit so it can be posted. They proceeded from a purple apartment building at the end of our block (drummers pictured here):
To right in front of our building (this is the front entrance to the hotel that is our home - we're on the 4th floor - here are the dancers):
And then down the block (this little cutie had whiskers painted on):
The bad news: Besides the fact that Craig missed the whole thing, as you can see - I left the SLR in the apartment and ran outside only with the small Canon to take video mostly - the pictures are pretty awful. But hey, I got AUDIO and VIDEO, people! Be patient, it's almost midnight now when I'm posting this, so I'll do it tomorrow. I wouldn't live on base if they paid me! What a great night.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

America's Favorite Pass-time

Or so it's called. Funny, I heard about that Rangers/O's game on the radio today- the Rangers broke the all-time record for runs scored in one game with THIRTY - Poor O's - final score, 30-3. Ouch. After Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron's record, and the A's (I believe it was) broke the record for most runs scored by one player in a game (10), I guess it was only fitting that Mia picked up a bat & ball when we went to play with Casey & Brice for a bit while they were running their gorgeous pointer, Scout. For the whole lot of pictures, click this.

It's All Good

The critique was so great last night, I'm truly giddy. I think I was so giddy last night that I probably talked their ears off - I left the house and I'd predict they looked at each other and said, "Whew! Well that was exhausting." It's happiness and excitement - and it's up to level 11 at this moment, so it's hard to turn it's all so FUN. Such an amazing experience, and as I had mentioned before, I'm honored and happy to even be considered by an established artist.

My shots came out well (it was very satisfying to get to see them all, and there were a lot of really precious ones in there), and the criticisms were all things I truly knew were coming. Nothing came as a surprise, except the amount of positive feedback. (You're always your own worst critic, right?) I mean while I was there, I cringed at some shots with orange construction cones in the background - but with 15 minutes I knew I couldn't run fast enough, I'd lose the moment. Next time, I won't even set myself up for that fall. I was especially happy because it was Shelia's family that I shot - and that's Serena Nicole's right-hand girl. She knows better than anyone what works and what doesn't, so it could have made or broken me.

My friends and family know I have no confidence issues, I'm proud of the things I do and I know when I do well. (Thanks for that, Mom & Dad!) But because I went into it all not knowing, and not having the real experience in that field, it added this "doubt" factor - kind of like after a regular job interview when they give you no indication of whether you're right for it or not.

So - I'm more excited than ever for Sunday's shoot, wherever it may be. I want to use every bit of advice & critiquing to take it to the next level. And really, "criticism" isn't even the right word - I was a design/art major in college, and when they put your piece on the wall in front of the class and everyone has at it - wow, you really develop a thick skin. I definitely felt the positivity in the room last night, and it was a wonderful thing. An environment that is positive and fun while being professional. Sounds like my job at the credit union, really. And that is high praise.

Anyway, here's a hilarious shot of Mia jumping into her dad's arms off the sea wall - something I think both she & her father would do over and over again forever.
Lastly, a very VERY excited YAAAAAY! Jake (my Army Offcer brother-in-law) is now back in Baghdad awaiting a trip home to his wife after (groan) 15 months away from her. In a few more weeks they'll be reunited, and Craig, Mia and I - not to mention the rest of our family - are so excited and happy that they'll be together again soon to enjoy the amazing city of Seattle together at last! Safe travels, Jake. We miss you and we can't wait to hug you too!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Last Dance Class

Well, since she's going to be in soccer and we don't know what days of the week that will tie up, for now Mia had her last ballet class. Sad, but we'll get her back in there, I know what a great time she has in there. Here she is with Ms. Tara, her fabulous teacher.

Here's lovely little Aubrey (fresh out of her first ballet class!) looking on intently.

The class poses for me.
For more shots, visit the Kodak site. It's 7:30! I'm off to do the "photographer" thing now.

This Morning's Quote

Yesterday before and during the haircut, I kept telling Mia that her hair grows so quickly that even though we're cutting a lot off, it'll grow back eventually if she wants it long again. (Was that to convince her, or me? Still not sure....) Meanwhile, she was all smiles before, during, and after the haircut, and is loving her new lighter head and pretty cut.

This morning as she rolled over in bed and I got another look at her, I ran my fingers through her hair and she sleepily said, "Mama.... I don't think my hair grew back yet."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mia's New 'Do

I can't decide - does she look older? Or does she look her age? (which is almost SIX for heaven's sake...)

Had to share these. I took a couple at the salon, but they're super blurry. She was great the whole time, assuring me that she really wanted to do this (though admittedly it was hard for me to watch those gorgeous tresses hit the floor). We'll be back again in a couple of months, and I'm sure it will have grown like a weed. This is easier, cooler for my little sweaty girl, and she's happy. That's what matters. For $8, I am too.

Home Sweet Home

You've been so patient. We've been so busy organizing. Well, it's almost finished, so I thought that after we cleaned extra hard and organized extra hard for guests, a few pictures of the place would be in order.

Here's the right side of the kitchen (counter faces the dining room) - the cabinets are so high I have to use a stepstool to reach them, and we bought that kitchen cart on the end to make more pantry & counter space. That picture on the wall is one of only 3 pictures I was able to hang before I threw in the towel:
And the left (behind the fridge is the washer/dryer) - you can see how tight the counter space is! The obligatory espresso machine, rice cooker, microwave, and banana...haha.:
Living/dining room areas (borrowed dining room table & chairs, new folding chairs we bought, and area rug now in tact):

Mia's delightful room!

From the other angle (2 of the 3 pictures is in there as you can see):

The front entrance - our shoe rack which is perfect for Japan as everyone removes their shoes upon entering homes. On top of the rack you'll notice our Shiisaa and the hammer drill we borrowed from self help that we're returning because it just caused me to curse a lot:

Master bedroom:

From the other side:

Here's a picture of Rich & Craig boxing on the Wii while the kids observed in hysterics:Saw this little guy (about 1 1/2 or 2" long) behind our entertainment center. Hope he got out ok....

Here is me! Yes, I can be in front of the camera too - looking at the extensive menu at Kitakaisen, a great new place we hit on Saturday night:
And Mia - literally shoving the rest of the mouthful of yakisoba in. Who'd have predicted that?Ok, off to hopefully exchange the faulty part of our satellite TV setup - darn thing hasn't worked well since we got it. Now we have NOTHING - and with sports on the way, that's unacceptable. Still to come - pictures of Mia's haircut this afternoon at 3!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Is Anyone Watching This Gem??

Bless his heart, Craig has been downloading TV shows for us since our TV reception is intermittent and I'm not interested in watching repeats of The Biggest Loser and Hell's Kitchen.

We just finished So You Think You Can Dance (Thrilled about the results, and very sad the show is over), and are in the middle of the current season of Top Chef. He also found Mad Men- it airs on AMC, and it is a brilliant "dramedy" about ad men on Madison Avenue during 1960. They smoke like chimneys, the woman's role in the family and the office is insanely archaic and submissive, and the writing is some of the best I've seen on a new show for a very long time.

Matthew Weiner, a former executive producer & writer on The Sopranos, and really shines on this show because he's a fanatic about the time period and getting everything just right. Alan Taylor is one of the directors, who worked on Sopranos, Big Love, Sex and the City, Deadwood, and Rome. Heavy hitter. I'm not sure how AMC ended up picking up this show, but I do know it's available for purchase on iTunes, and if you're not willing to do that - wait for the repeats on AMC or rent it on DVD when it's released. Very interesting and worthy TV in a vast wasteland.

We're Simpsonized!

Thanks again, Edith - these are great. Here are Aviva, Craig & Mia - Simpsonized.

I doubt Craig would wear cargo shorts with black shoes, but that wasn't an option.
And Mia insisted on having a kitty.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

One Reason I Do This

If I can help but one military family before they move here, it's a great thing. Did you see Edith's comment?:

"Aviva, hello I just wanted to let you know what a wave of relief it is to know there are bloggers in Japan such as you and Okinawa Hai. I look forward to reading your blog and going to the places you've been to. I hope your second shoot works out and you get the job!"

Edith, you rock! Thank you so much. And I truly hope you have a smooth & easy move. (She's moving to Japan from Norfolk, VA.) And in case you haven't read that post - walls here are concrete, do not bring too many things you have to hang on the walls. And bring lots of storage bins and any shelving units or drawers you have, and your computer desk.

Also, I visited Edith's blog, and she mentioned this site: I'm on the hunt for my perfect picture, but if you make one of yourself send it on over. How fun!