Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Condolences For China

As many of the Marines and other service members stationed here on Okinawa are participating in Cobra Gold in Thailand or floating on ships near Thailand (some of our friends included), awaiting word that they can help the people of Myanmar, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.9 slams Sichuan, China.

"To understand the power of this 7.9 quake: one of the worst natural disasters in recent American history, the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Southern California measured 6.7. The scale is logarithmic, meaning -- for instance -- that a 5.0 quake is fully 10 times more powerful than one measuring 4.0."

I know that some of the people reading this were in or very close to Northridge in the '94 quake. It's so much more devastating that I can even wrap my mind around. The same article quoted above reminded me that 9/11 happened a few months before the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Olympics in Utah. The tattered flag from the WTC was raised at that event. Though none of the Olympic facilities in China were affected, according to the news, this will definitely change the celebration and ceremony, understandably.

My thoughts are with the millions of citizens affected by this quake. I think this planet needs some good news soon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Koinobori - Children's Day

May 5th is Children's Day in Okinawa. A holiday celebrating children. Right there during Golden Week. We went to the Hija River, not too far up the road from us, to check out the Koinobori. Koi are carp, "no" is possessive in Japanese, and bori is banner, so it's a carp banner. It USED to be Boy's day, but they changed it to include all children.

Mia asked for it - as recently as Sunday when it was mother's day (mind you, AFTER we celebrated Children's Day with icees and a boat ride!) - "When's kids' day?"
"It just happened, Mia. Not to mention, EVERY day is Mia day!"
The response was pouting. We're hard at work on a plan to get the selfish out of this only child.

Anyway - here's the view as we walked from where we parked toward the small festival.

The koinobori swayed in the breeze.... and Craig and I wondered aloud, "How do they get those things up there?"

We spent a few yen, donned some life jackets, and hopped a quick little boat ride out the river mouth and into the China Sea. Mia is one boat-lovin' sea-farin' kiddo. She was smiling like this the whole time! (Note the still very loose other bottom tooth that hadn't yet been pulled out by yours truly for a rope of licorice. Yes, I know. The irony. I offered licorice if she let me pull out her tooth. And let's have more teeth falling out. Shush.)

This was the view looking up at the flags from the boat.

And this is a zoomed in view from the shoreline. It wasn't really that windy.... sometimes those things were horizontal.
A gorgeous day. I find myself wishing the weather would stay like this. Feels like San Diego out here right now. Alas, I know the scary sub-tropical stickies are headed this way, sooner than I'd like. For now I'm enjoying amazing weather and the last weeks of Mia being in school for 7 hours a day.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Why Are We Here?

Well, not here, like Okinawa - but here like in existence? MOMS! That's why!
On the left, that's my mom, aka Grammy to one pint-sized bottom-toothless wonder. (and also to my adorable nephew, Ben) Mom & Dad drove out to Ohio in April when we were there for my father-in-law's funeral. I was lucky enough to spend some time with her (and my dad) and Mia was gloriously happy to share her reading skills and her loose teeth and giggles with her Grammy.

As any mom will tell you, women don't fully understand what it is to be a mother until we become one. It's a crazy thing, but it's also so amazing how suddenly you appreciate all that woman did for you EVEN more - exponentially more. (And we all know I don't only mean childbirth or diapers...) So thanks, Mom. Especially for mac & cheese when I was sick, carting me around everywhere when I couldn't drive, putting up with my sassy mouth (oh yeah- THAT is coming back to me in spades with my kid), always being there to cry on, and for letting me be me - actually for encouraging me to be me most times - even if you were holding on to those strings a bit. I know why you did. And Craig thanks you too because without you there wouldn't have been one heck of an awesome wedding, which you planned pretty much single-handedly, and you've been there for us for so many things in so many ways. Never enough thanks, mother's day should be every day.

Aine - Craig's mom (pictured on the right) is the dynamo who raised 3 children, Craig being the oldest. She worked to support them during most of their childhood, and I'm amazed at what she was able to do. Craig remembers amazing holidays (she is one fantastic cook), and times when any other woman would've broken raising him and his 16-month-younger brother. (This I could not imagine.) He has so much love and respect for his mom helping him become the man he is today, and because he's my hubby I thank you and love you as well. You raised 3 incredible kids who I'm lucky to call family. Ya done good, Mom!

We love you! Hope you had an incredible day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hello Again!

Recently we went to the Seaside Inn, the restaurant at Kadena Marina, for one of the dinners during my birthday weekend. The food was good. The view was even better. And wow did that sunset cooperate....

Then we arrived home and indulged in the cake that Sena made for me - it was red velvet, and trust me when I tell you that these are the only shots of it because we gobbled it up so fast there were just some reddish brown crumbs left soon afterward. YUM.

This past Friday, I was lucky enough to go shoot this lovely lady again....
along with 4 other talented and fun to be around photogs and 2 other models besides R (pictured above). It was a great day!

Soon I'll have some shots on flickr (more Dragon Boat shots, model shots, sunset shots). Now we're off to do other mother's day type things I guess. HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, Mommies!