Monday, October 18, 2010

Design Overhaul: Our Updated Home Decor

Yes, I used to be an Interior Designer back in the States.

No, I have found no design jobs available thus far in Okinawa to those of us who don't speak fluent Japanese.

And Yes, I have to get my creativity out somehow and have chosen to do so by attempting to make my government housing look less "government-housing-ish". That's definately a word.

As you may have heard if you read this blog (or talk to us at all!) my in-law's Don & Leanne visited us a couple months ago. Upon arriving at our apartment, we gave the usual tour, and Leanne was comparing the real-life thing to those videos I had posted on my blog back in December 2009. It then occured to me that I have done quite a bit of re-decorating since that post, and most of our friends and family really don't know what our place looks like now that it's finished. And since I love all things interior design (and I also like to play with our new Canon 7D:) I thought I would take some new shots to show you all. I hope you enjoy!


I don't have a jewelry box right now, so I have to get creative with it

We bought this bench here in Japan - its made of teak and leather and one of my favorite small peices



Living Room

Our photography wall

My favorite chair and pillow - love that Imperial Trellis;)

Have to have some ikat somewhere

Dining Room

Our chopstick collection has a new home

Gorgeous wine cabinet from Hong Kong

Our little Shisa Dogs from when we first got to Japan

I painted this myself;)


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Deployment Destination #2: The Philippines

One thing about being married to the Marine Corps is that your husband will inevitably be deployed at one time or another. On the positive side: Matt's deployments in his current unit here in Okinawa are very scheduled, predictable and short-lived. They are pretty much never surprises, and I am prepared way in advance to keep the schedule clear around February and October. Well, October is here, and so is Matt's second official deployment - this time to The Philippines. Unlike his last deployment to Thailand, he went over with his own unit - the guys he works with on a daily basis. While I really don't know exactly where in The Philippines he is or what he's doing every day while he's there, I do know that the operation is called PHIBLEX (I think that's how its spelled - it's an acronym of course!) and many of the other wives around here have husbands that are a part of it. All I have to say is, "My husband's in The Philippines right now," and I get, "Oh, PHIBLEX" in response. Another thing I DO know - Matt is having to sleep out in "the field" a lot while he's there (meaning: in tents). I have no idea why this is necessary, all I know is that we aren't able to Skype when he's out there:)

Another difference from his last deployment to Thailand (that operation was called Cobra Gold for anyone interested:) was that instead of taking a flight, he had to take a ship. Actually, it is called an HSV (High Speed Vessel), and there are only TWO of them in the entire world! The one that took Matt to The Philippines I believe was HSV-2. Also named "Swift" the fox from David the Gnome... my favorite late 80's/early 90's animated television show... Anyway, the HSV made it from our island of Okinawa all the way to The Philippines in 31 hours, and it wasn't just Matt's first time on an HSV - it was also his first time on a real ship of any type! Dramamine was taken, but he had absolutely no problems with sea-sickness, thank God!

The night before he left, we went out to one of our favorite little restaurants on the Sea Wall - Transit Cafe

Us goofing around outside of Transit


Matt burning all the IP's off his new woodland camis (I know that's a lot of military lingo for one sentence!)

Bustin' out the Boonie Cover!

This is the HSV-2 Swift that he rode on

And the OTHER Swift... you KNOW I had to do it! :)

The truth is, I don't mind Matt being deployed a month or two a year, because that seems like nothing compared to those couples who have to be separated for years while the husband goes off to far more dangerous places like Iraq or Afghanistan. I feel blessed that Matt doesn't have to do that sort of thing for his job, but I am thankful for everyone who does. Two deployments in the last 6 1/2 years (almost) - I think I can handle it! :)

Thanks to all our friends and family who not only follow this blog to keep in touch with us, but for all of your love and support - we both truly appreciate it!

'Till next time...


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Highlights From Recent Trips Down Under

I'm not sure if it's the nice weather we've been having here lately or simply us becoming aware that 2010 is quickly winding down, only to get busier and busier as it goes, but Matt and I have kind of been on a little diving kick recently. So, instead of going over each of the dives separately, I decided it would be more enjoyable for me to write about (and for you to read about) all the highlights from our adventures down under in one post. And by "highlights" I mean cool photos we took or things that we've never done or seen before. Continue scrolling for photos and videos - explanations included...

Gorgeous Ocean near Cape Manzamo

Matt gearing up for a dive

Me about to jump in - my first dive not using a full wetsuit

Giant Lion Fish we saw

Check out this video clip of us off-roading to get to another dive spot - we were literally driving through ditches, mud pits and small rivers to get there!

The parking situation at yet another dive spot

The "trail" - How anyone ever found this is beyond me!

A popular dive spot - The Toilet Bowl - gets its name from its relatively round shape and the ledge that surrounds it. This location is rated 5/5 difficulty on the dive scale, because it can have some strong currents and waves in bad conditions. However, it was super calm this day - just like jumping into a pool

Matt did some cliff-jumping since there were plenty of places to jump in from:

Me jumping in Indian-style

We did some swimming afterward - this is what part of The Toilet Bowl looks like underwater

Black and Green Sea Urchin

A neat cave we swam in

Looking out from inside

Another dive trip to the Kerama Islands - our gear in the back of the dive boat

This time, we got to dive Tokashiki Island

Water shot - I can't help taking photos of this every time... like pool water;)

Me about to jump in off the side of the dive boat (with the help of Captain Bruce)

Our first Sea Turtle on the dive - I was SO excited to see this guy! He was larger than one we've seen on a previous dive!

Check out this video clip of us swimming with the Sea Turtle - he was super chill and didn't care we were there:


Some gorgeous red coral

I love the way the sun rays are shining down through the water in this photo

Matt found some sort of shell thing??

Another cool photo - it feels like we're in an aquarium

I don't think I've ever seen so many fish on a dive as we did on this one!

Tail end of one of the Sea Snakes we saw

Some large coral ball we found on the ocean floor - as you can tell by Matt's expression, we have no clue what it is;)

Me and our friend Amanda on our way down to 70 feet

Shipwreck - not at all as scary as I expected!

Matt and our friend Nick checking it out

Inside part of the wreck

Inside looking out the cabin

Nice macro shot of a Sea Anemone with Clown Fish that Matt took

Matt and Nick swam through a lot of cool crevices on this dive

Check out this video clip Matt took while swimming through some neat coral crevices:

To reach "Dive Master" status, you need 100 logged hours of diving. I'm up to 11 hours 16 minutes... and counting!