Monday, February 25, 2008

"........put on your dancing shoes and come along, we'll be here till the cows come home.......... ALL NIGHT LONG!"

For all you wondering out there, the concert was awesome. I've been to some good concerts, but this one definitely is right up there with the best. The concert was a part of the Kolekole Jam on Schofield Barracks. It's basically one big open field, with a huge stage. You could tell that there were roped off areas for VIP seating, but the area was pretty big, so as soon as the gates opened we high-tailed it to the stage.

Our seating was front right, although we had our fingers crossed for front and center, that was given to the wounded in action soldiers. We decided that they definitely deserved it and came to peace with our slightly to the right, 15 ft. from the stage seats. But even getting to that point was a bit tricky--as spouses of deployed soldiers, we had rights to the VIP area, but with thousands of soldiers deployed from our base, there were still lots of people to maneuver through. **Here's the first rule in concert etiquette.** There are no such things as lines--it is every person for themselves! Although some women didn't quite agree--and we were beginning to wonder if a fight was going to break out. Once a redneck, always a redneck...even in Hawaii where no one even knows what a redneck is!

So, once our seats --or i should really being saying, "plot of grass" was secure with blankets and chairs, we were able to relax and enjoy the show. Six of us went--Hillary, Kim, Renee, Christy and Lyndsay. We had a t-shirt making party a couple of nights before, so we were all matching in our most AWESOME concert attire! Thanks to Kim's catchy slogan, the back of our shirts were lyrics from Montgomery Gentry with a twist--" My Husband's Something to be Proud Of". We actually did catch quite a bit of attention and everyone wanted to know where they could get one. So..future mental note, make extras to sell--drunk people would pay anything for a cool shirt!

Opening for the concert was a 17 year old girl from Texas, Katie Rae Davis. She was pretty good, but mostly played cover songs from artists like Little Big Town and Willie Nelson. Next was an Alternative band, called Bowling for Soup. They were also good--sounded almost identical to Blink 182 and they were hilarious. I think we all enjoyed the times they were talking to the crowd more than the times they were actually playing songs. After that it was finally time to bring out the big guns--Montgomery Gentry came out strong singing "daddy won't sell the farm". I don't think we stopped jumping and screaming the entire time. They played all their best hits, even our shirt song "Something to be Proud Of". This was so exciting we pushed our way to the front, ripped our shirts off (don't worry we were prepared for this with undershirts!) and held them up like signs for the band to see. Which they did see, we were spotlighted and pointed at by Eddie Montgomery himself--we are famous! That was definitely the highlight of the night! Then the show ended with a very appropriate "Gone"--then we went home and crashed for our early Sunday mornings.

So it was a wonderful night with the ladies--wish they had more events like that on the island!

My Cool T-Shirt

The Girls and Private Pickle

Bowling for Soup

Montgomery Genty

Friday, February 22, 2008

February's Flying By

So I can't believe it is already 3 weeks into February! If I get myself started thinking about the rest of the year and everything that I have planned, I start getting seriously overwhelmed--this year is seems to be flying. Before I know it I will be going home in April and then I have some long jobs lined up for the end of the school year. There seems to be quite a few people coming to see me this summer and then Mike will come home for R&R in the fall and then I will most likely be back home for Christmas. WOW.
I have just been staying busy as usual. February has been a bit uneventful and I have actually felt a little stir-crazy. My weeks have been normal--subbing a few times a week, going to meetings for the Army Family Readiness Group, soccer practice, helping friends out with their kids, church on Sunday and then Sunday night dinners with the girls.

Valentines was pretty much just a normal day--Kim and I went to get some dinner and see Definitely, Maybe. Mike did call, on his Vday and mine--which was very sweet of him, and the first time he's called two days in a row since he has been gone, so happy v-day to me! He also got my roomie to get me a gift certificate to a spa here in town. I am excited about that and saving it for a day when i really need it.

In response to my stir-crazed weeks, I convinced my friends to make President's Day our very own Tourist Day (a day we would play tourists at a nice hotel). It really was a beautiful day--although maybe not the best day to choose to sneak into a hotel pool and play tourist. Also on this day, the Fields Open golf tournament started and security was tight. About 10 minutes after we got settled in chairs at the pool, we were politely asked to "leave the area". So, we packed our things and headed to the beach to lay on the sand, because us "locals" aren't allowed the chairs. But it wasn't a bummer for long, because as I mentioned before, the day was perfect. After an hour or two, we decided to get some lunch at the ocean side grill, but before we even made it to the restaurant, Kim decided to faint right out in front of the building. It was of course of big commotion, and even though we happened to be with 2 nurses, the hotel insisted on bringing in their "CPR trained employees" to take care of the situation. After Kim started looking better and the CPR people were taking her blood pressure and stuff, i wanted to try and get a picture of the whole scene, but was scolded by my "not so fun friend" Renee (just kidding!), she said that "this is not the time, Jess". Although, I am certain, Kim would love to have the picture now--and it would be a great addition to this blog! Anyway, all ended well and we went ahead and had lunch but opted out on beaching the rest of the day and instead went home to take naps.

This next weekend is going to be great fun--Montgomery Gentry is coming to town and is playing on base for free. Since our husbands are deployed, we also get priority seating, so i am certain it is going to be awesome! In preparation for this event, us girls have made matching T-shirts that say on the back "My Husband's Something to be Proud Of" (playing off the MG lyrics, if you are unfamiliar with the band).

The only other news I have is I am now officially a Pampered Chef consultant. I go to enough parties and own enough stuff at this point it just seemed the logical thing to do. I really do believe in the products. Hopefully this will serve as a good side job that I can keep no matter where we move to. So, if you are interested in hosting a party (or for my NC friends, we can do catalog shows or schedule parties when I come home) or are just interested in ordering something you need just let me know.

Ok, so that is all for now. Be sure to check back next week for concert pics!
Presidents Day/ Tourist Day at Ko Olina Beach Club

Lunch at my favorite Burger Joint--Kua'aina Burger
with Katherine, Hillary, Kim, Lyndsay, and Alexandria
I don't know who taught her that!Playing with my FotoFlexer...isn't this just like a poster!
Rocking the 80's outfit and playing DDR--my new favorite past time

Look how cool we are, we can still do back bends!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hawaiian Word of the Week

Haole; pronounced: How-lee--definition: originally foreigner, now means Caucasian

So, I am a haole. If you are white and live in Hawaii, you basically just have to come to grips with this label. It sounds kinda derrogatory, i know, but in most instances it is more of a statement of fact than an insult or racial slur. I am sure if I were to walk down the wrong street or be in the wrong place at the wrong time, someone could call me a haole and mean me harm--but as of my almost 2 years here in HI, I have yet to have that happen.

In church, more so when we first started attending, we and a few other young, white military couples were known as the "haoles". It even went so far that our pastor used us in a demonstration where he pulled 5 "haole" ladies up to the stage and had us try a famous Japanese food, Natto, made from fermented soybeans. It was disgusting, none of us new what we got ourselves into. Needless to say my gag reflex is working as great as ever and everyone in church got to see it.

At work in the schools, I am commonly known as the "haole teacher". One of the first times I subbed, another teacher quickly walked into my room expecting to find the lady i was subbing for, and instead instinctivly said, "oh, your the new haole sub". I was like, "uh, yeah I guess so". I think she may have been a bit embarassed--but it really is just second nature to everyone around here. Also, at school, the teachers refer often to my blond hair and blue eyes...neither of which are very accurate. But to them, we haole's all look alike. Funny considering, before moving here I felt the exact way about the Asian population.

My last example, comes from a friend of mine--a local here in HI. She was talking to me about a date she had went on the past weekend. When I asked how it was, she told me that it was just ok--that there weren't any sparks. I asked what was wrong with him and she replied that he was too "haole". My response was something like, jaw to the ground, "uh i am a haole!" Even though she quickly apoligized and laughingly and said, "jess you know what I mean" and i told her i wasn't sure that i did and put on my best pouty face. She then tried to elaborate and said he was too country, which of course my southern roots did also take offense--but i decided just to let her off the hook.

The fact is Hawaii is a serious melting pot of races and every race and raical mix has a name around here. We all have to use the terminology just to identify whoever we are talking about. So what, I am a haole, here me roar (or even better, here me drawl).

Monday, February 11, 2008

February Down Range

Hello Everyone...Please bare with me as I try to begin what hopefully is a more productive way to communicate with everyone as it has been difficult to talk to everyone through email. It actually seems like I just arrived here a few weeks ago when I have been here well over 2 months meaning approx 16% of my tour is already complete. Many things have transpired while I have been here, but one of the highlights was being promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 2 on January 15th. The pic above is from the ceremony. I had the opportunity to invite one of my very good friends LTC Bob Merkel to fly down from another post and pin me my new rank. Bob is the epitome of what a true officer and leader should be and is great mentor and friend. When I was a young SGT he took me under his wing and took the time to show me what RIGHT looked like and challenged me to always strive for greatness. In addition to Bob being there, there were countless other friends and co-workers there to shake my hand and officially call me "Chief". Among my peers were my Soldiers who are the real reason I love the Army like I do. The ceremony was quick as I had requested it to be so we could immediately go back to work upon its conclusion. I am on my fourth deployment and there have been so many changes as time has passed. We are now living in trailers that are known as a CHU (Containerized Housing Unit). This military term or acronym is just one that I will familiarlize you with during my time here. I have a great friend as a roommate. The space may be small (10' x 5') but we make the most of the space. Jordan and I are both certified workaholics so most of our time is spent away from the CHU as it is used mostly just to sleep. The food is excellant, but it does not come close to Giata night at the Burns house....Overall things are going very well here as we continue to adjust to our ever changing environment. With that please take care and God Bless you all.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Hawaiian Word of the Week

Slippah-- pronounced, SLIP-A: meaning, a thong-style sandals
Most mainlanders (that is all of those who live on the Continental United States) word for slippah is flip-flop. Mainlanders also call their house shoes "slippers" which is very close to our word of the week "slippah".

Below I have provided pics to illustrate the difference between Islander Shoes and Mainland Shoes.

Here is a pic of the True Hawaiian Rubber Slippah --they start as low as $1.99 and an expensive pair can cost you around $7.99. The dictionary definition for Rubbah Slippah is: pidgin for cheap, rubber thong sandals (rubber slippers). Every hawaiian local knows 101 ways to fix their broken slippah: 50 with tape, 50 with glue, and 50 with a stick to poke the strap back in the hole. Every Hawaiian local owns 2 or more pairs. Slippahs were brought to Hawaii as a cheap way for the Japanese and Filipino plantation workers to have shoes.

Here is the mainland version of the "slipper". Mainlanders prefer to wear their slippers mainly in the house (unless you are my former suitemate, Megan). Slippers are designed age appropriate, to your fun animated ones for the young (and young at heart)-to the simple sock-like slipper with rubber soles, safe for all those slippery hard surfaces in the home.

Mainlanders also wear "slippahs", but they call them flip-flops. Mainland flip-flops can be all colors, all materials and all prices. The Rainbow flip-flop show to the left, is a perfect example of a mainland flip-flop, very overpriced and would probably by considered a dress shoe in Hawaii. The average Hawaiian will probably spend less in a life-times' worth of slippahs than mainlanders do on one pair of Rainbows, Reefs, etc.

This is the Hawaiian verson of the flip-flop.... (ok well maybe I am stretching the truth a little. This is not a wide-spread opinion but just a statement from one of my church youth. She thought flip-flop sounded like a pancake. I thought it was funny.)

Ok, so that is it for this week's edition of Hawaiian Word of the Week. And just to answer that burning question inside everyones head....yes I have converted to the rubbah slippah way of life, i have 4 pair--1 red, 1 blue and 2 black (my favorite is the black with seaturtles on the insoles) and i really do love to wear my Rainbows to church!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hawaiian Word of the Week

So, my good friend Amanda Huerta is coming to visit me in July. She just bought her ticket and I couldn't be more excited. So, in preparation for her time here in Hawaii, I had thought about sending her a weekly email with a Hawaiian vocabulary word. But instead, I have decided that these little bits of wisdom are well worth sharing with all you people out there (and truthfully, although i live in Hawaii, i still have a normal--sometimes boring daily life, and this gives me something new and interesting to write about!).

So, for our first installation, I would like to introduce the word Shi-Shi. This is one that I use DAILY.

SHI-SHI; pronounced: she-she - definition: to urinate.

I am sure that some of you, if you were to think about it for a minute, could have come up with the meaning to this word, or at least an idea of what it means. It is somewhat self-explanitory. Although, upon moving here--the first year I believed this to have to do with a #2 instead of #1. Until, one day I was in the ocean holding my friends young daughter riding the waves, when she preceeded to tell me she was "Shi-Shi-ing". With her current position--sitting on my hip with her legs wrapped around me--I instantly threw her away from me, into the deep water with very disgusted look on my face. She looked hurt and confused, and her mom (after controlling her laughing) explained to me that Shi-Shi was only pee and nothing more (but still, lets be honest, even though a wave of relief did flow through me, the girl did still PEE on me).

I am also sure that some of you are thinking right now how this is a very weird first Hawaiian word to choose to introduce, as well as something pretty unususal to blog about at any time...and maybe that is true. But seriously, I use this word ALL THE TIME. In the preschool I often work in, we are still potty-training, and with 15 or so kids, smelling shi-shi, going shi-shi and cleaning shi-shi is the norm. We give commands like this: "Haley, go shi-shi toilet", or ask questions like this "Kaeo, you need shi-shi?"

And one more thing, this is not just a little kid word here. My nurse friends also use the word when talking to their very ADULT patients. This word shi-shi is common and publically accepted.

So, give the word a try some time--or then again, maybe you shouldn't-- you may expereince a major confusion like I once did.