Thursday, September 30, 2010

oh, happy day

thanks to this fabulous little place called "suicide market" (because it's quite possible to take one step out of the store and get whacked by a car!)
I was able to score some super fresh produce for super reasonable prices!
potatoes 200 yen
carrots 200 yen
Asian pear 200 yen (ok, maybe not so reasonable for 1, but oh so worth it!)
onions 100 yen
snap peas 100 yen
bean sprouts 35 yen

I have a feeling everyone there will know me by name in no time!

We also went out and bought the hubby a bicycle today.  He, of course, had to pick out one that was bright and unusual.  
 it's been a while, so he did a few laps in the parking lot
 then decided he was having fun and ready to ride home
 I followed him most of the way until he took off for a short cut

Next is my turn to pick out a bike...stay tuned =)

If I were in charge...

Every single change of command ceremony would have helicopters as the backdrop

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I've been called out...

For not following the rules last time, so we're going to give this a 2nd try.  (Thanks, G.I. Joe's Wife, for giving me something to do tonight while the husband works until 10 pm)

I'm to answer these 8 questions then come up with my own questions and tag some of you to answer them, so here it goes

1. What is your least favorite chore? Why?
it used to be dishes (because I hate the way my hands feel after, it's not so bad now that I've learned to wear gloves), but this house we are in now is the 1st one I've ever lived in that hasn't had carpet and I'm starting to despise sweeping/mopping, especially with all the dog hair!
2. If you were to get a tattoo (hypothetically, ladies) what would you get?
I am not a fan of tattoos AT ALL but I think I would like to have one to symbolize my time here in Japan.  I actually had a dream that I got a tattoo of the Imperial Palace, where I plan to run my 1st ever 5K in November...but this is hypothetical right ;-)
3. Everyone asks about your favorite ___ memory... I want to hear about your worst vacation memory. Someone got sick, someone was an idiot - go! =)
This is one of my favorite stories to tell. I don't think I've ever told it on this blog, so bare with me, it's a long one!  If you know me IRL, I'm sure you've heard this before so you can skip to #4!

I used to work for an airline and traveled for free (best job perk ever).  I had a friend studying abroad in a small town in Spain.  Not speaking a word of Spanish, I decided to go visit.  Everyone told me I would be fine, that everyone in Madrid would speak English.  So I flew to Madrid (and had a few too many free glasses of wine in 1st class) and got to the train station where I was to buy a train ticket with no problem.  After wondering around for a while, I finally figured out where to buy a train ticket thanks to my pocket Spanish dictionary.  I got in line, turns out it was the wrong one.  Proceeded to wait in multiple wrong lines.  Finally got in the right line and the train I was supposed to be on was sold out...GREAT!  My cell phone didn't work and I had no idea how to contact my friend and tell him I wouldn't be on the train he was expecting me on.  I didn't want to buy a ticket for the next train because I didn't know how long my friend would wait around for me.  I figured out how to purchase a phone card but couldn't figure out how to call the number I had for my friend (turns out you don't have to dial the country code when you're in the country...I had a lot to learn at that time). I panicked!  I was hungry and afraid to eat anything because I didn't know what was in it.  I was in a foreign country where I couldn't say anything but "beer" and "bitch".  What's a girl to do but sit in a stairwell and cry, so that's what I did.  For a good 20 minutes.  I contemplated getting a cab back to the airport and getting on the 1st flight back to the states.    I eventually put on  my big girl panties and walked out into town and found an internet cafe where I was able to email my friend and make other arrangements for me to meet up with him.  (I also found a produce stand and bought 2 apples and 2 oranges and scarfed them down) When I finally got to the town where he was, I had never been happier to hear someone speak English!  I'm so happy that I stuck it out and didn't give up.  I learned a lot about myself, got to see a gorgeous country
plus I made some life long friends on that trip

4. What is your favorite Disney movie?
Um...I'm not a huge Disney fan...I'm going with the 1st Pirates of the Caribbean movie
5. [Stealing this question from my last attempt] What does your dream house look like?
lots of land, like enough to have horses and a rotating crop and some other animals.  A HUGE kitchen (something like this maybe)
 with a Pantry like Pioneer Woman's
 lots of large windows.  We (my husband) wants a guest suite above our detached garage that has a covered walkway connecting it to the 2nd floor of the main house.  I want a wrap around porch.  Yeah, we talk about this a lot and have tons of ideas =)
6. Flashback moment: Were you a Backstreet Boys fan or an NSYNC fan? =)
NSYNC!  All the way!  I even dated Lance's cousin for a while in HS (not just because he was related to him, mostly just because he was hot.  I have no shame).  I just found a photo of him and I the other day, if I can remember where I put it, I'll post it on here.
7. What is your favorite board game?
We love board games in this house!  My favorite is probably Settlers of Catan...don't know it?  look it up!  It's great!
8. If you could relive just one day in your life, what would it be?
one when my grandparents were alive.

Ok, now for my 8 questions for others to answer....
1.  What would be the theme song to the movie about your life?
2.  Who would you want to play you in that movie?
3.  What did you eat for dinner?
4.  If you were given $10,000, how would you spend it?
5.  What is your favorite body part on the opposite sex?
6.  Do you subscribe to any magazines?  If so, which ones?
7.  What is one of your dreams/goals in life?
8.  What would your last meal be if you were on death row?

And I tag...
HMB @ Pennies from Heaven
Ann @ Where the Windows are Always Open
Beth @ This American Wife
and anyone else that feels like participating =)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I heard today that there is a crossfit class at the gym on Atsugi.  I can't find anything about it on Atsugi's MWR website, can any of you Atsugi girls help me out with this one?!?!  I want to know what days & time the class is.  I would REALLY appreciate it!

Um, can we say commissary JACKPOT?!?!
Today I found almost everything I wasn't able to find at my commissary at the one near by...almost makes me want to live in the other housing area...ALMOST!  Dinner is going to be so super yummy today!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Flavor of the Week {Jambalaya}

It's been a while!  I'm so glad to be back in the kitchen, even if I do have to get creative with the ingredients!  This may not be the most authentic recipe, but it works for this Yankee =)


1 tbsp EVOO
1 lb sweet or spicy Italian sausage
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 tbsp Emeril's Essence Creole Seasoning (the same stuff I use for chicken & dumplings, you can fin the recipe here)
1 cup uncooked Jasmine or other white rice
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
4 cloves minced garlic
2 cups chicken broth
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp

Heat EVOO on medium in dutch oven or large pot.  Brown the sausage then add the veggies and seasoning and cook about 5 minutes until the get tender.  Add the uncooked rice, tomatoes with juice, garlic, chicken broth, bay leaves and thyme and bring to a simmer.  Then turn the heat down to medium low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the shrimp and cook until pink, about 10 minutes.  Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs before serving!


I hate our commissary!!

This isn't the first, or the last, time you will hear me say this!  SERIOUSLY!??!  I finally taught myself how to cook real food, good food, not hamburger helper or a frozen meal from a bag and now I can't buy 1/2 of the ingredients I want to cook with!  There are 2 other commissaries within a half hour of me that have a little bit better selection but I'm specifically talking about the one right where I live.  Their vinaigrette selection consists of 2 and one of them I don't even count as a real vinaigrette.  There's no fresh bread (guess it's time to invest in a bread maker and learn to make bread).   Cheese?!?!  We LOVE cheese in this house!  Here?  No Gouda, no Asiago.  These aren't super exotic cheeses or anything people!  Come on!  The produce?  Don't even get me started on the produce...UGH!  What they do have is typically way past it's prime and ridiculously expensive (I paid $1.77 for a TINY, starting to wrinkle green pepper today!).  Green beans are my favorite veggie right now and I guess I'll learn to love them out of a can/frozen.  We've been here a month and I haven't seen good green beans here at all.  No shallots?!?!?!  I bought a box of baking soda that was a solid rock, and so was the bag of brown sugar I bought.  GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!  I was so excited that the fresh herbs looked good so I bought some basil to make bruschetta (they do have good, cheap tomatoes here).  Then I got home and opened it and found this:
I'm pretty sure this guy isn't supposed to be in there!

Jason tried to explain to me that they have to order in bulk so some of the shelf stable stuff has been around a while.  I know it's not the commissary's fault that stuff has to come so fat, but I don't have to like it!  I will adjust, I'm sure, but it's really frustrating not being able to do what I love the way I want to.  I'm going to request the stuff I use regularly but we'll see what they say.  There isn't much room to add anything there.

While I'm on the subject (kind of), we don't have an ice machine in our fridge.  No biggie, I can totally deal with that.  What I don't get is the fact that none of the 3 commissaries/2 PX's around us sell and ice storage bucket thing.  You know the one that you empty your ice trays into and it holds all your ice cubes in the freezer?  Yeah, can't find one around here anywhere so right now I have a Rubbermaid storage container in my freezer holding my ice cubes.

I know the Lord will provide what I need and I'm just being a greedy American but man do I miss me some Walmart right about now ha ha!

Today was Jason's 1st day back to work and it's almost 7:30 pm and he isn't home....I hope this doesn't become the norm...

On a happier note, we got internet in our building today =)  Yay for not having to steal borrow internet from the one unsecured network in the neighborhood!

I'm off to make this yummy recipe for dinner (with out the andouille sausage because my commissary SUCKS).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

random Japanese "festival"

So yesterday we went out with a friend looking for bicycles to get us around post and out in town a bit.  We went to a nearby town Machida and came home bike-less but it was a great day none the less.  The hubs did try out a unicycle

He can't really ride a unicycle, but he was able to get up there long enough for me to take a photo =)

We went to lunch at "the next place we see that has pictures in the window"...yeah, my restaurants choosing abilities are the best!  We sit down and start looking at the picture menu (thank God for those things!) and a waitress walks up and starts talking to us in Japanese.  Me, being the genius that I am, assumed she was asking us if we want something to drink so I say "mizu" for water.  She looks at me funny and walks away and the boys (my husband and our new friend Andrew) start laughing hysterically...apparently she asked if we speak Japanese...oops!  I guess she got her answer =)  I'm never going to hear the end of that one but at least I'm trying...right?!?!

After lunch, we saw a lot of people walking around in robe like clothing and about 30 minutes late we hear chanting up ahead so we hurry up the road and find this

  I have no idea what was actually going on, but we followed the crowd down the street and found that it ended at a festival of sorts
 with lots of interesting foods

and performances
 and prayers hanging outside a temple (at least I THINK that's what they are)

We didn't come home with bikes, but I'm so glad we went out looking and found this celebration!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I was tagged by the wonderful Kara of Ramblings of a Marine Wife to answer 8 questions about myself and then create 8 new questions and pass them on to 8 other bloggers.  Since almost everyone on my google reader has already done this, I'm just going to be lame and answer the questions and not pass it on.  My 8 questions are:

1. What is your favorite childhood memory?
I don't know if it's my favorite, but the 1st one that comes to mind is this:  My uncle works for the Cincinnati Reds and when I was younger I would ride down with him and sit outside the gate until the gates opened then he would let me in and sit me in a seat with a box of cracker jacks and I would sit there watching the game until he came back for me after the game.  I always felt so cool and independent when I was there.
2. What do you do for a living (if you work outside the home or if you work at home)?
uh...does stay at home wife count because right now that's all I'm doing.  I stopped going back to school so we could pay for the husbands grad school and I was working for EFMP at our last duty station but apparently my services aren't needed here (yet).  I will probably try to get a job teaching English to Japanese ladies after the hubby starts work next week.  I don't have a "profession" or "career" though.
3. What is your favorite song at the moment? What is your favorite song ever?
Right now, I am LOVE LOVE LOVING Tony Lucca's "Long Love Letter" (excuse the chatty girls at the beginning.  I love this video with Tony and my favorite singer/songwriter Ernie Halter rocking his ukulele)
and my all time favorite song is Green Day "Good Riddance" or Time of Your Life as most people know it as 
4. What is your favorite TV channel to watch?
Food Network
5. If you could have any job/profession, what would it be and why?
photographer or chef...I can't decide which. and why?  because I love to see joy on others faces and food and photos normally bring that out in people
6. What is your favorite outfit?
I am 100% a jeans and t-shirt girl but I also love a good summer dress too
7. If you could tell your teenage self something, what would you say?
this is kind of cliche but "you're not as ugly as you think you are"
8. What is your biggest blog pet peeve?
not sure I have one but maybe when people type in a whole bunch of different text sizes all the time, it makes it really difficult to read, so normally I just don't read them!


We're all for the most part, settled in.  This is the 1st time I've had the movers take ALL of our stuff out of the boxes and I will ALWAYS do this in the future!  It has made it incredibly easier to get everything where it belongs. This is our 3rd military move in the 2+ years we've been married and I really wish I would have learned this trick sooner!  (speaking of "sooner(s)", sorry girls(you know who you are), but I gotta yell "GO UC" this weekend!)

I have a video all ready to go of the main floor, but right now I'm stealing borrowing internet from someone in the neighborhood until ours gets turned on Monday and the signal isn't strong enough for a long enough period to upload the video, so for now you get a few photos I've taken.

we hung our DVD racks and set up our "entertainment area"

I hung my beloved wedding photo clock on the enormous wall that spans the living/dining rooms

hung curtains, then realized how wrinkled they were, so I took them down and ironed them (my MIL would be so proud!)
about those curtains, they have these old school curtain "rods" here that look like this
so I spent 30 minutes shoving pins into my curtains while my husband found a way to give himself the punk rock "piercings" he's always dreamed of...gotta love him!

I also found the perfect spot for all my cookbooks and Food Network magazines above the sink

I've been able to cook again, FINALLY!

I made my favorite sweet and sour chicken (not fried this time)

and the most delicious grilled chicken fajitas, which I haven't shared the recipe for yet, but I promise to do so soon!

Today we went and picked up our new Japanese car
this was my 1st time driving off base and I was pretty much terrified, but it wasn't nearly as scary as I had anticipated!

and how stinking cute is our car key?!?! he he, I love that it matches our car!

and spent a relaxing afternoon at the pool on Atsugi Navy base near by

It's finally supposed to start cooling off here so I wanted one last day in the sun and it was just what I needed to relax after all the craziness of unpacking!  We only have a few more days before Jason goes back to work, so hopefully we get to do a little more exploring before our time becomes limited.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

moving in

Friday we moved into our new house on post.  We did our inspection/walk through while the movers waited outside (I'm pretty sure in the US, they would have left and made us reschedule), got our keys and started the move in process.  After moving 5 times in 2.5 years, I'd say I'm getting pretty good at this.  I learned to have the movers unpack all the boxes, it makes it much easier to see what is where and there's a lot less stuff (boxes and paper) everywhere.  Here's how much paper we had and we weren't even 1/4 way done...

When the movers left, we were missing one box.  How 4 crates of stuff makes it here with just one missing box is beyond me, but that was the case.  (it happened to be the box with the xbox and wii in it)  We unpacked/rearranged stuff until about 8pm and I was done.  I couldn't do any more.  I managed to get my entire kitchen organized and I was satisfied with that.
 (excuse the mess, I'm in the middle of making dinner and realized I hadn't taken a photo of the finished kitchen)

Yesterday we decided we wanted to grill for dinner.  We had the grill shipped here so we figured we might as well use it while it's still nice out.  Apparently you can't buy propane on the base where we are, so we decided to venture out and drive to Atsugi Navy base near by.  (Oh, I guess I should have told you that our sponsor is TDY and left us his car while he's gone.)  So we went and bought propane and while we were there we stopped at a car dealership right of Atsugi that pretty much every soldier here has gone to to purchase their vehicle.  We'd stopped by last weekend and saw a car that we liked but it wasn't for sale, well this week, it was so...WE BOUGHT A CAR!  It's a funny process here.  You don't test drive it at all.  You pick one out, start it up and pay a deposit if you want it.  The next step is to go pay for insurance and do some stuff on base then you take it to get inspected and after it's inspected, you take it home.  So Tuesday we will go pick up this beauty of a car
Ok, so it's not really a beauty, and it's the smallest car either of us has ever owned, but it was cheap (that 17 in the car means it's 17,000 Yen, with taxes and all the other stuff you have to pay for over here, I think we're paying a total of like 2,200 USD) and it's practical over here.  If you ever visit Japan, you will understand!   Our sponsors car that we're driving now is a small station wagon and it is like trying to navigate a semi through NYC!

Anyway, back to the grill.  We get home and Jason goes to put the propane under the grill and...
we found the missing box!

I understand that the people that shipped our stuff pay by space but seriously, a note on the door or something might have been nice!  Along with finding the missing box, we also discovered quite a bit of small things that were damaged

This one makes me the most angry because they broke it back in Missouri (I found the piece of red glass that's missing as they were packing things up) and they didn't tell me (if they even noticed) when I was still there and could go pick up a new one.  Now I have to call them and have them ship me one (or3)!

I'm happy that nothing major was lost or broken, all of this stuff is replaceable.

Today (all weekend actually) was Music Fest/Friendship day/Army appreciation day/they called it 100 different things but I think the official name was Music Fest.  We decided to take a break from working on the house and go check things out.  I love that we can walk anywhere on this base.  I may not always want to, but I like knowing that it's an option.  They had different things set up in a big field/the gym and invited the Japanese people to come onto post and see demonstrations of how things work.  We got to get into a Black Hawk and explore
I couldn't beleive they let me take pictures inside!

There was a grappling demo

and a MP dog demo

and a Corps of Engineers table with a manikin giving thumbs up, so I had to do it too


and they had a booth set up with all kind of American junk food and the locals were buying it up

They also had food and beer tents, oh, and music.  Last year Flo Rida performed.  This year, it's Jon B...yeah we didn't stay for that part.

Back to dinner and unpacking...