Thursday, March 31, 2011

Barn Black Hole

This week has been totally barn crazy. So busy every second of the day. I feel like time just disappears at the barn, there aren't enough hours in the day.

The show is ... ummm... only a day away. Yikes! So much still has to be done tomorrow like getting all the horses bathed and braided, setting up the dressage arena and like a zillion other little things. The kids are coming out tomorrow to help with all the show prep. Should be fun/busy/stressful/productive/exhausting. Not particularly in that order. And to keep you all updated, on top of it all Makoto is still lame. His hock is still swollen. He is still out of commission. I'm super bummed he's not going to get to be in the show. So much has happened the last few weeks with horses getting sick or injured. It is seriously the worst timing ever. But, with Makoto it's more than inconvenient. Sure, I love them all, but with him my heart is breaking!

Even though he can't be ridden I'm giving him lots of attention everyday grooming him, cold hosing his leg, giving him lots of turnout and lots of special treats and meals. I sure hope he hurries up and gets better soon!

Wish us luck at the show on Saturday! I'll be back after it's all over and I'll tell you all about it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gojou's New Duds

Last post I mentioned that on Saturday when I went to American Village I went to PetBox for some hedgie stuff. I walked in the store and saw something I just couldn't resist. A ferret shirt that looked to be a great hedgie size. It was just one of those things that when you see it, you know you're not walking out of the store with out it. The Japanese pet owners love to dress their animals up in ridiculous outfits. This includes the "normal" dog stuff, but they also have outfits and harness/leashes for cats, ferrets, bunnies, hamsters etc. So, when I saw this bitty, hedgie sized shirt I was totally in love. I couldn't wait until the evening when Gojou would wake up so I could put him in it.

Whelp, as you could see from the ridiculous video that the adorable bumble bee shirt does not in fact fit Goj. He might win some adorable hedgie picture of the year from these pics at least. Seriously... cutest lil monster ever. Gah I love him.

Officially hedgie obsessed!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Exploring Mihama

Saturday was just a really, really good day for no particular reason. I set out to run some errands and spent a nice hour or two roaming around Mihama American Village. On the island the American Village Ferris wheel is a common sight and landmark.

I headed over there initially to get Gojou some stuff at the pet store, but after that since it was so chilly, I stopped into Starbucks for something hot and treated myself to one of their new lil cake pops. I found a nice seat in the window and watched humanity pass by as I browsed the pictures in a Japanese Marie Claire. I haven't done this in a very long time and it felt great to just relax in the familiar Starbucks setting.

I then decided to walk around and check out some of the cool shops. I somehow hadn't done this before and I had been told about the neat stores in this area. While I've been to American Village a few times before mostly it has been to visit Yogurt Land. I didn't buy anything, but was seriously tempted by some of the crazy Japanese shoes they had for sale. But, I didn't even want to attempt trying to fit my behemoth feet into any of the little sizes.

I love the garden center at the Makeman - DIY store and I found a great one right there in American Village. Flowers always brighten up my day and on Saturday I walked away with a big, puffy pink hydrangea and a pretty mini tree with yellow flowers.

I went to Foster to do my usual Exchange and Commissary errands, but I did treat myself to these fab sunnies:

I love making even the mundane errands fun!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gojou Swimming

Ok so my hedgie is not so great at keeping clean. Remember his first bath a few months ago? Well, he has been getting frequent baths ever since then because he is always dirty, especially his feet.

If you are interested you can read more on how to give hedgies baths here, here or here. Hedgehogs are supposed to like baths, but Gojou still isn't super relaxed or loving his bath time yet. He's adorable. And he is getting to be a pretty good lil swimmer!

I have another hilarious post and video to share with you later this week. You will love it. Stay tuned for more hedgie cuteness shortly.

Classic Date Night

This has been a fabulous weekend. Fabulous since it was the first one Brad and I have spent together in a while. And also fabulous because we did some really fun stuff! I have lots to tell you about.

First, I'll tell you about our dinner and movie date on Friday. I've gone to eat at Sushi Zen like 10 times, but I don't think I've ever really told you guys about it. It is an amazing sushi place where the Japanese chef and owner who previously lived in NYC makes up the most delish rolls ever. Sushi Zen is also in a really cool neighborhood on the Sunabe Seawall and has some really fun bars nearby. I have been wanting to check out these places for a while now, so before dinner we stopped into a couple of places. I loved these bars and I can't wait to go back there for a fun night out with friends.

At Sushi Zen there is only one sushi chef and this is an extremely popular restaurant, so you have to be ready to kick back and relax while you wait for the sushi to come out as it's ready. We started out with a plum wine for me and edamame, and ordered 4 sushi rolls: the Odyssey, Bull Dog, Caterpillar and Red Dragon. I've only recently gotten into spicy sushi and we kind of went overboard ordering 3 out of the 4 rolls with the spicy orange sauce topping. The Odyssey roll was my favorite!

After dinner we headed over to Foster to see a movie and then we went home to drink wine, read China guide books and got really excited about our upcoming trip... well I got excited, Brad fell asleep on the couch! It doesn't matter that we've been married for years and have gone on hundreds of dates. Each time I'm reminded of why I love this man... we have SO much fun together!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Doggie Day

Last Sunday I was invited to a friends house for a girls afternoon and a puppy play date. While I was sans pup, I was reassured there would be an extra one for me to borrow. So, we all met up at my friends awesome off base apartment in Yomitan and then set off with the pups for a walk on the beach. Okinawa is pretty unusual and unique in that there is no zoning, or none that I can detect. Animal farms and vegetable farms are crammed into every available space between apartment buildings, shops and single family homes. As we walked down to the beach near Torii we passed beautiful homes, cows, sheep, ponies, farms growing all kinds of things, and flowers popping up out of every crack in the pavement or any available soil not being used for farming.

When we got down to the beach we let the pups go play as we collected shells and sea glass. The dogs had a ball playing together and running around in the water.

After our beach walk we dropped the dogs off and then went to my friends favorite soba shop for dinner. Delish! For dessert we walked to the bakery in the MaxValue and sampled some of the Japanese sweets. It was such a nice day and so good to hang out with my new friend and meet some new ladies. It was nice getting to play with the pups too, I miss having a dog so much!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Temporary Memory Loss

My hunny is home!! Yay! But, ok, lets all take a minute to make fun of him shall we? On Monday he flew home to Futenma and couldn't find his car. Luckily, I was already planning on leaving work early since my lesson canceled and was on my way home when he called and said he didn't know where his car was. He couldn't remember where he parked it and it wasn't at the squadron. I said oh, maybe the MP's towed it since it was sitting so long... who knows. I told him I'd come pick him up. After our reunion I said we should stop by and talk to the cops to see if they knew where the car was. Even though Brad really wanted to just go home, I reminded him how with both of our jobs, being a one car family is not going to work, even temporarily. So, in he goes to talk to the police. They have no idea where his car is, it's not impounded. So, we think, oh crap, the car was stolen. So, all night we are perplexed by the car situation, wondering if theft is covered by our insurance and wondering if Brad's car was off somewhere with a dead body in the back. We go to sleep and at somewhere between 4 and 5am Brad sits up in bed and says "I know where my car is! It's at Kadena." Dumb dumb! When he left he flew out of Kadena instead of the normal place at Futenma. I was so relieved to know what happened and so glad we didn't have to deal with the car issue. My husband blames his temporary memory loss to exhaustion, poor thing. Sometimes I forget where I've parked my car and have to make an effort to make sure I make note of where I leave it, but basically he can never make fun of me ever again. Silly husband!

Out of Commission

My poor, favorite horse, Makoto, has a huge swollen left hind leg. Seeing him hurting and all gimpy makes me just want to cry! He was ridden really hard this past Monday for a long time by a Japanese rider and I think that's what did it. On Tuesday his left hind hock was swollen and sore.

Yesterday, Wednesday, his leg was puffed up and he was totally out of commission. So, I had the Japanese vet come out and she gave him the standard 5 days of penicillin and 4 days of pain killers. These are shots that have to be administered daily. The penicillin is IM (intramuscular) and the pain killers must be given IV (intravenous).

For IM injections (easier) you inject into the muscle of the horses neck. You clean the area with alcohol, insert tip of the needle into the muscle, pull back slightly on the syringe, so you are sure you are not in the vein and if there is no blood, then you inject into the muscle.

For injecting IV (harder) you first have to find vein by placing a finger or hand firmly at the lower portion of the neck and watch and feel for swelling in the vein above the constriction. If you can see and feel it, you clean the area with alcohol, take the needle and place it firmly into the vein, and you should see blood come out of the the needle into the tubing. Then you have to quickly grab the preloaded syringe and place it firmly on the hub of the tubing and draw up on the syringe and blood should fill the syringe. If it does, then you are clear to inject the drug into the vein in a steady and not rapid motion.

So, it's my favorite horse, I'm super worried and freaked out about him and I have to stick him with needles and hope it all goes well. I'm very confident that it will, it just makes me feel so sorry for him. But, the medicine will make him feel better and hopefully kick-butt against his leg problem. I also had the vet give us this super icy-hot stuff that gets spread all over the leg (the gray stuff on his leg in the pics below).

Penicillin and pain killers are the typical prescribed method for treating the horses over here. No x-rays or blood are taken, no diagnosis is made. It's just "oh, oh, oh, here are the meds." My least favorite thing the vets like to do here is ask me what I think and what I think we should do... ummm I didn't go to vet school. Living over here has really made me gain a ton of experience at being my own back yard vet. It has also made me realise that the horses have amazing healing power and are more resilient than I previously gave them credit for. Remember Woods? Yeah. Sky had a similar problem to Makoto's leg and Sky totally recovered, so I'm sure Makoto will be fine too. Cross your fingers, say a prayer, meditate for him, which ever, ok? Thanks.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Cleaning, Barn Edition

On Saturday we had a massive Clean Up Day at the stable which basically resulted in me turning into a painting machine. I painted all day and felt like I was ready to be done at around 1pm, but oh we kept going until 6pm. In the morning I did a really good job of keeping the paint off of me, but as I got tired the paint just kind of went everywhere. Remind me to never get paint in my hair ever again! It took forever for me to get it out. In addition to the large scale painting projects the upstairs deck area was totally cleaned, all the tack and grooming tools were cleaned, a fence was put up in our little turn out area, a partition was built for the bunny stall to separate the male and female bunnies, and we had a really fun and yummy bbq lunch for all of the hard workers. I hadn't had a turkey hot dog in a long time and man it tasted good after lots of manual labor.

The day was a huge success and the barn is much improved after only one day of work because there were so many people there to help. It was kind of amazing to me how many people gave up there whole Saturday to work at the barn, I was really touched by the people wanting to help. It was such a productive day!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

"My love for you is deathless"

Last night as I was making cookies for the clean-up day at the barn today (more on this soon) this song came on my Pandora station and I don't know how Pandora always knows what to play me, but I really liked this song. Brad will be home in a few days, but this is how I feel when he's gone.

On our front door we have a white board where we write messages back and forth and where I remind Brad to grab his lunch before he goes off to work. Before Brad goes on a trip he has been leaving me little letters on the white board which I leave up for the whole duration of his trip. I see it every day, read it every day and love him more every day.

While his letters always top my list as my favorite, this is my favorite military letter of all time. This is the Civil War letter from Sullivan Ballou to his wife Sarah. I was surprised how easy it was to find on good 'ol youtube. They really do have everything on there. It will turn you into a bawling baby, so be ready, but it is one of the most beautiful letters ever. Ballou writes of his dedication to his wife and to his country, "Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but Omnipotence could break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly with all those chains to the battle field." I cry every time. I first remember hearing this letter as a child on my parents cassette tape of civil war music being played out of the boom box as they were painting my sisters room. Perhaps it was all the painting I did today that brought this letter up in my mind again. This letter has always stayed with me, perhaps it has helped shaped me into the military wife I am today. Enjoy. You're welcome.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Easy, Pretty Nails

Because of my job my hands are in a constant state of being wet, dirty, and/or dry and cracked. I have total manual labor hands. I have short nails of varied length, callouses, blisters and we won't even go into my cuticles. It's just part of working outside with large animals. I can't be worrying about a broken nail or chipped polish. I like to splurge on a manicure every now and then, but with my job they usually don't last long. That's a lot of time and money just for about a day of nice nails, so I reserve manicures for special occasions. And when I do get a manicure, I usually walk out of the salon with at least one nail already smudged somehow. So, my solution? Insta-Dry nail polish. This stuff is amazing and comes in a bunch of really great colors. And plus, it's toluene, DBP, and formaldehyde free. It is perfect for me. The magic brush holds a bunch of polish so you only have to dip it once to do a whole hand, you only need ONE coat of polish and it dries amazingly fast. That's it, you're done! My hands get a bit of color that makes me feel better about the other disasters surrounding the nail polish. Sure, it still chips and gets messed up with my active/outdoorsy activities, but when it's time to take it off it comes off in a flash because it's only one coat of polish. I love this stuff and have a bunch of different colors. Some of my favorites are Rose-a-go-go, Whined Up, Flashy Fuchsia and Pink Breeze.

I also have a massive collection of hand salves, creams and lotions. I am still in the market for that hand product miracle. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Celebrate the Green

Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all my lovely readers!

I love being Irish and today at the barn I'll be wearing my green in support of my heritage. I will also be remembering my cousin Connor who tragically died in a car accident many Saint Patrick's ago. Sad. But, on a non-sad note, I love holidays, big ones, small ones, any excuse to celebrate and be together with family and friends. I will enjoy spending this Saint Patrick's Day with the horses, my students and my barn buddies. While I will not be partaking in any green beer or corn beef and cabbage this year I will be supplying the chocolate at the barn today.

Have a fun St. Patty's and don't forget to wear your green!