Tuesday, December 30, 2014

When She Needs It

Before we decided to move to Guam, Rylee and I snooped around on the internet for horse ranches. We found a few. 

Lesson #1 about Guam. People do not utilize the internet. Two of the three ranches have been closed for nobody knows how long. Don't search for a business and trust what you find. Even if you find an address and type it into Google. You could be totally led astray. 

 If you want to find, say, a place that rents out moving vans because you only own a tiny car and need to buy furniture and the soonest date that the store you buy it from can deliver is in FEBruAry (?!?!?!) you don't go find a phone book or fire up Google. You call your wife's cousin who tells you that there's Home Depot or East West Rentals up north. 

Obviously, you first try Home Depot because you and Home Depot are like old friends, right? So you waddle through the heat and talk to two different ppl to find out that the only two flatbed trucks they have are both rented out and they have nothing else. As you walk back towards the heated outdoors, the lazier (smarter, more efficient) spouse will suggest that you call East West to gather  info before driving all the way up there. Good thing you agree, because they want like $150 for a day with their flatbed. Then, you come up with a great idea of your own. Rent a pickup truck from Thrifty. Wonderful. For $80 you got your new living furniture home and had a second car for 24 hours. 

Who needs a truck??? This is how we got our dining tables home. Yes two. It was cheaper than one. 

But this post is about horses! We tried to find the Rock n Rail ranch on our own based on ---you guessed it--- the info Google gave us. One flat tire and two trips later, we finally called the number and spoke with an old artist friend of Auntie Judy's. 

Mrs. Tenorio (who is not pictured anywhere here) has owned the ranch for many, many years. They only do English riding which is utterly different from Western riding. 
This is Jenny, she is a Naval nurse and comes here to ride and help with chores about four days a week. 
We had a good long visit with Mrs. Tenorio, finding out how her daughters' love of horses led to her owning horses and offering lessons. She would only let Rylee watch at first. 
Then, she surprised us by telling Rylee to grab a helmet and try it out. 
She has five horses and two ponies. One horse had just been found lifeless that very morning. She was very old and sick. Mrs. Tenorio had just decided to have her put down soon, so I think it was a tender mercy that she didn't have to. 
This was all very new for Rylee. Mrs. Tenorio kind of grilled her with questions to see how much she knew, but Rylee has never had any reason to learn about leading legs and square stops. Rylee has learned a lot about horses pertaining to her pure joy in riding and desire to be able to take proper care of one. 
Since this day, we have gone out to watch a competition. They had contests like holding a dollar under your leg, and dropping a brush in box. There was one horse that didn't want anything to do with the box. Then, they did jumping which was neat to watch. One girl's horse slipped on a turn and they both went down but none were hurt. We watched a couple of dressage routines and then had to leave. 
English style is not something Rylee is particularly interested in, so I don't know if she'll want to pursue that. She did meet a couple girls her age who are also horse crazy, maybe she'll find a true friend there. 
But, she always loves just being with the horses. So, when she needs it, we know where to go. 

Quips From Kids

In frustration, Morgan told me that he and Harris want to set up their Lego city, but what would be the point since we are moving soon and they'll just have to pack it all up again. I told him to go ahead and live life like we're not moving.

While on this hike at the War in the Pacific Memorial Park in Asan, we topped this clearing on a big hill and a huge liner flew by. Harris told us that that plane is full of people traveling to their destiny. Jake said maybe they're traveling to their destination of Guam? And Harris was very clear that they are traveling to their destiny. 

Here are other pictures from the hike:
This is no mountain but it was pretty steep.
Aren't these leaves great?
This is how big they are.
Then, my battery died. I wanted to share photos of the pillboxes in this hill. Most are just cave-like but there is one that is actually bunker-like. The Japanese hid in these with big, huge guns. The US Marine's first landing was in the Asan Bay. It was brutal.

Prior to the war, this hill was where they sent lepers. At another time it was a prison for Filipinos.  We saw water lines that we suspect was plumbing for that time period. They are trying to restore the trees and such to how it was before the war. They have pictures displayed of the soldiers relaxing on the battered beach; tree parts everywhere. There are apparently still live bombs and other ammo in the area and in the water.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

For Her, It's Effortless

In case you didn't know, my Auntie Judy is a rather well known batik artist. She has a very unique style and paints scenes of traditional Chamorro life. There is a hotel resort here called the Leo Palace. They have a golf course, a small water park, tower rooms, or duplex residences. Oh, they also have a baseball field. The Japanese baseball teams stay there during spring training, and apparently there are also fans who will follow them here. Can you imagine going to a stadium game in Japan? I would feel like someone played the ultimate prank by replacing all the Americans with Japanese people.

Anywho, the activities director for Leo Palace asked Judy to do a workshop for Japanese tourists and Judy invited any of us who were interested. So, Rylee, Porter, and I participated in a batik workshop with several Japanese tourists. It was a blast.

I liked that Rye and Port got to hear and see Japanese people interacting with each other and also with us non-Japanese speaking peoples. It's just so fun to see how differently people of other cultures behave; their mannerisms, physiology, how polite or impolite they may be. Japanese people are very polite. Our favorite was to hear the little children speaking in Japanese.
Um... maybe you don't know this, but Judy is the tall lady dressed in pink.

After you do a layer of wax, you have let it set before you paint with the dye. After you apply a layer of dye, it has to dry before you wax it again. I had one lady bring me to Judy's painting in the window and ask me (gesturing and speaking Japanese) how to get the crinkle effect. So, I followed suit explaining to her that you put wax all over the whole thing and then kind of squish it. She, at least knew some English words like "wax". The Japanese I know is pretty helpless.
Doing this is seriously SO MUCH FUN :)
After you crinkle the wax you gotta really squish the dye into the cracks.
The last step is to iron it with paper. The paper absorbs the wax, and the heat sets the dye. 

Here is Porter's. He made it for Nicole.

Some people feel too intimidated by drawing with wax because it's very sloppy. You cannot be concerned about perfect lines or drips or you will not have fun. I have a hard time thinking the layers of colors through. Not only do you go from light to dark, but you also go from primary to secondary, and so on, and so forth.
Some of these participants were quite artistic.
I love, love, LOVE, the bamboo idea here, and I think her color choices are so fun.

This is Sumiko. She quickly became very good at drawing with the tjanting tool.

This is very good!

This is Kamae who asked me about the crinkle effect.

Hers turned out very beautiful.

This is mine. Seashells, pine trees, and stars. I'm rather pleased with the crinkle here, too. You just never know how it will turn out.

I know. You're in shock because I NEVER accessorize.
This is Auntie Judy's work. For her, it's effortless.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Food Court This Way-------->

After a long day of fruitless errand running, we felt like we should do something fun with the kids. We had an hour before the next showing of Night At The Museum 2, so we hit the food court for dinner. Then, of course they all wanted frozen yogurt. 
Food courts are nice because everyone can get what they want. Pizza? Chinese? Subs? You got it. Porter and Kiki wanted Panda Express, and while I was standing in line with them, I noticed a delicious looking steak-tip stir-fry that would become my dinner. As we shuffled along the glass case, Kiki said, "Hey, that girl has the same name as you."

Sure enough!
Not just the same spelling either, same pronunciation.

It's a sign!

Well, it's a name tag which is really just a small sign. Even small signs are important, right?

Thursday, December 25, 2014

I'll Eat a Baby

This Christmas we went to Uncle Albert's house for dinner. He is my mom's only brother. Check out this table, and there still weren't enough seats! 
There was so much action going on in the kitchen. The gentleman in the gray shirt leaning over the counter and his wife in the red on the left are both proffessional French chefs. They are actually French, too, which was fun. I thanked him for the delicious meal and he said he didn't do anything; just made the potatoes. Ha. 
This is my very handsome Uncle Albert talking to Mrs. Cassidy, whose husband owns an insurance company. Albert and his wife, Denise, own a cookie factory. 
I found a Chamorro Duck Dynasty guy!
Meet my cousin Sam. He and I were like brother and sister when we were little. Including the fighting with each other. I remember my mom getting frustrated at us. 
Bring my kids to a nice place with cloth napkins and what do they do? Origami, of course!
There was SO much food. Turkey, ham, lamb, four different veggies, three different potatoes, several desserts, and lots of different drinks. This was a classy meal. 
I haven't had lamb since my mom learned to make it in England. It is so yummy. None of my kids would try the lamb. Rylee said there's no way she's eating a baby. I said in my most dramatic voice, "Bring the child. I'll eat him!" 

The lamb sauce was deliciously seasoned. The potatoes au gratin were cooked to perfection, and the asparagus was cooked with peppers and artichoke hearts. So wonderful. I had to go back when I saw the creamy cauliflower on Jake's plate and I had to try Auntie Judy's squash which was stuffed with a creamed greens mixture seasoned with turmeric. (I didn't get a picture!) I just love meeting new flavors. 
Do you know what is a sure sign of a good meal?
When even a blue and orange dragon can't keep you awake. Of course, this guy might also be suffering the effects of going to bed way late and having a kid wake him at six a.m. Honestly, Christmas Day is the only time my kids don't have to be forced to wake up early.
Morgan was finally able to order his robot using the money he made from the equity in the house. He's been holding onto the money since before we moved and had to wait for us to have an address. It got here today. He's so cute!
A full belly and a content heart. That dream CAN come true. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Life Temporarily Furnished

I think some of you have been wondering where we've been staying. We started off staying at my Auntie Judy's Tonggan Guest House. It was only available until the 20th because they have a Japanese guest who regularly comes to stay this time of year. So, we have moved AGAIN. This time into a furnished condo which is only available until the 1st of January!
Here is my view during this morning's breakfast. There is a pool, so the kids like that. We are far from Judy's family beach now.
Memory foam mattress. Jake's back hates it.
Even though I have a map, albeit a tourist map, I still get quite lost, especially at night. The traffic at certain times is so bad in the city, it can take half an hour to go six blocks. If there are back roads, I need to learn them! Add to that the fact that Christmas is about to pop up and I'm not the only one who waited till the last minute to shop...
This is this morning's breakfast.

These are last night's dishes. I kind of like only have enough place settings for four.

I feel like part of me is amputated because I've been without a full kitchen since we sold our house. I feel like I have nothing to offer anyone! What is my life's purpose, again?

Things are still up in the air as far as where we are going to settle down. We are investigating Saipan, where my father is from. We have met with people about starting a lunch delivery service and a take-out restaurant here on Guam.

I concur with the seasoned Americans who have lived here for a while. Living here is an exercise in patience. You might hear people say it takes a little longer to get things done in {insert location}, and while the anecdotes are flying, we are all laughing. But, when you are actually living in the time-space warp of "Why Wednesday????", I assure you, the laughter is somewhat mirthless. I say somewhat cuz you know, we try not to take ourselves too seriously.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas!