Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day Beach Clean Up

Happy Earth Day!

I really wanted to do something for Earth Day this year and decided to try and clean up the beach where we take the horses.  Every time I do a beach ride I am shocked at the trash and crap all over this beach.  Totally trashed.  I'm not sure why this beach is more filthy than others, if its an area where things just naturally wash up, or what.  But, the trash is overwhelming.  You would really think that the Japanese would take better care of their coast, but unlike in the states the Japanese don't really seem to capitalize on beach front property.  In the states you'd find prime time homes, land and resorts.  Here sure there are some resorts, but for the most part the coast is commercial and used for factories and fishing.  Also, the Japanese are for the most part totally sun-phobic, completely covering themselves up in full body garb for doing anything outside from driving, exercising and even beach going. 

So, for Earth Day we asked the Mihara members to come on out and participate in lending a hand to make the beach better and safer for our horses, and at the same time making it better for the environment.

We picked up bag after bag of trash.  It was amazing and shocking the things we found and picked up.  So sad that people here have such total disregard of the negative impact of being a litter bug. 

Unfortunately we had an awful rainy day, so not the best turn out of volunteers, but even so we made a dramatic difference on that beach.  I made Dirt Cups (pudding, oreos, cool whip with a gummy worm on top) for our Earth Day snack.  Brad even came out and picked up trash with me, which was a pleasant shock.  It was a good thing he came too because I needed him to drive the farm truck for our trash pick up! 

The beach looks so much better and now we can feel better about bringing our horses down and not worry so much about what they may be stepping on... well, for a few days until people litter again!

Also, the barn owner decided to get a bunch of baby chicks!  They are tiny and adorable.  Not sure what his plans are for these little guys, but I love them and hope they don't turn into chicken dinner anytime soon.  Wouldn't mind some nice, fresh farm eggs.  Brad was so mean and wouldn't let me take one home, even for a night, even after I begged!  He said Jade would want to eat it, which is probably true. 

So then he brought me home my favorite flowers.  Ha.  He is so awesome. 

Beach Horseback Riding Photo Shoot

On Easter this year my instructor friends and I decided to get together and do a photo shoot with our favorite horses on the beach.  Alexis wanted to trash her wedding dress and so Madie and I decided to join in on the fun.  The night before felt a little like prepping for a show, getting Makoto all polished up and beautiful.  A makeup artist came out to the barn and transformed our early morning faces into masterpieces (thank you, Summer!) and Chris Wilson of Travel 67 Photography was so fun to work with.  I've worked with Chris before, providing horses for his model shoots, and it was great to be in front of the camera this time, especially on Makoto.  At this point I feel so incredibly comfortable on Makoto and even his occasional antics don't worry me too much anymore.  I feel like we've come to a sort of agreement and he has just decided to let me smother him with love and be ok with it.  So, even barefoot, with no helmet, and in a skirt, I felt totally comfortable galloping down the beach. He and Sky were such good boys! 

I had so much fun doing this with a photographer I felt comfortable with, a horse I totally love, and my good girlfriends laughing and making funny remarks the whole time.  Since Alexis was trashing her wedding dress her husband came out in his uniform and they got some really cute shots together.  Sky even allowed them to ride double for a bit.  Seeing that, Madie and I decided to get a couple shots together on Makoto.  Alexis moved to back to the states yesterday, so it is so great to have taken these pictures before she left. 

We had a blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  Maybe I'll have Chris out again to take some pictures of Makoto doing dressage!

I popped Makoto over some jumps last week.  It is so fun to get to work with such a talented dressage AND jumping horse.  And one that I can gallop down the beach.  Love him!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I love you, Sparkle Pup

Tomorrow it will have been a week and I still can't write this post. I can't face it and I can't stop crying when I think about what happened. That my little angel is gone. Stolen from me. Taken suddenly and violently. I am shaking typing this. I can't stop the sobs. It is all too much still.

My pup was attacked and murdered by another dog. Sparky is gone. I had no idea how physically painful loss can be. How completely devastating this feeling is.

Sparky was 13 and lived a long, happy life surrounded by people who loved him. I begged and pleaded for a dog growing up and by some small miracle I was allowed to get Sparky. I remember holding him when he was a few days old, a tiny little thing with his eyes still closed, and I remember bringing him home for the first time, a fluffy bundle of energy. I remember everything and will always treasure what I had with him. He brought so much laughter, joy, and happiness into our family.

Some day I'm sure it will get easier, I will be able to get through the day with out heart wrenching meltdowns, but until then I believe Sparky deserves to be mourned. I loved him deeply. He was a wonderful, good dog and I will miss him.

My talented writer sister wrote a lovely blog on Sparky and says the things I want to say so well:

Oh man, my heart hurts.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter from Jade

It couldn't be baby kittens first Easter without a photo shoot! She is pretty much the cutest, sweetest kitty ever. She must really love me lots to put up with me!

Mommy's little Easter bunny:

My key to photography? Lots and lots of photos. I figure that way I'll get one or two good ones.

See, this is really how she felt about the whole thing. If looks could kill. Too funny! I love her.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Happy Easter! It was such an incredibly nice day here. My day started off at 4am, at the barn getting my makeup done and my favorite horse beautiful for a morning photo shoot at the beach! My two girlfriends and I had a ball getting all pretty and running our horses down the beach and splashing in the water. It was one of my favorite Easter mornings ever. I absolutely can't wait to see how the pictures turned out!

After the photo shoot I ran over to the OClub for brunch with a bunch of friends from the squadron. Yummy food and good friends, so nice!

The day was just too pretty to spend inside so after brunch Brad and I headed over to Tropical Beach near our apartment. It was super low tide, so we walked around the tide pools and admired the incredibly almost neon blue water. So amazing! Days like this I love living here!!

Hope you had a great Easter too!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Vietnam Bound

Exciting news from last post: We have booked our next vacation! Yes, so over the moon excited. We will be traveling to Vietnam at the end of the month! On the itinerary is the famous and romantic Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay, staying an overnight on a traditional (but luxury) junk boat as we sail around the bay, swim, explore the area by kayak, and lounge on the beach or boat deck. Next we will tour Hanoi and possibly visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, One-Pillared Pagoda, House-on-Stilts, Temple of Literature, take a cyclo ride in the Old Quarter, and see Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple. All the while we will be staying at a lovely 5 star hotel in a wonderful central location. As a nice bonus, we are stopping in Taipei, Taiwan for a day/night on our way to Vietnam, so we get a quick peek at that city and I get another 2 countries stamps in my passport!

Also on the traveling agenda is NEW ZEALAND this summer. And a cruise to MALAYSIA, THAILAND and SINGAPORE this winter. Excited is an understatement! If we do what we're planning then I will have visited 10 countries in 3 years!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

This has been another pretty great week! To me things feel so normal, unexciting and ho-hum, but I'm living in another country, working a dream job and surrounded by tropical waters and palm trees ... so strange how the abnormal becomes normal!

I got some really, really nice rides on Makoto this week. Our dressage is getting so fancy-schmancy! Love him to absolute pieces. Really need to get some shots of him in action sometime soon.

I had great lessons this week and my students are just blowing me away lately. They have all come such along way. It will be very hard to part with some of them once PCS season starts this summer. This is my student Haley jumping Rocky:

I love my work friends so much. We all met at my favorite bagel place to talk and take care of some business. Probably the most fun work meeting ever. And of course Madie brought little Addison and her adorable, ruffly, pink bottom. She also had this hot pink flower headband and was too cute for words as usual. Baby fever alert!

Two of my co-workers and I are really excited about this weekend! We are having a photographer do a shoot for us with the horses at the beach!! I have never had professional photos done except at my wedding. Thrilled!

So of course I have nothing to wear to this photo shoot. Alexis happens to have her wedding dress here and is going to trash it, in fact it is this reason the whole thing got put into motion. Madie and I don't, so we went out shopping around the meager options on this island. I didn't have high hopes, but I decided to try some new stores. I went to Demure Ladies Boutique and went straight for the dresses, but didn't have any luck finding one full enough that would allow me to sit on the horse. But, the sales lady was oh-so-wonderful and helped me pick out a very beachy, flowy outfit. Here's a sneak peak.

Next I went to American Wave vintage shop and even though the store was pretty tiny it was packed full and constantly reminded me of a grandma's attic. Madie and I took turns in the dressing room putting on classic after classic. Unfortunately, most of our initial favorites were itty-bitty and it's true that people were just smaller way back when. Both of us however came away with vintage dresses to ride our horses in. My dress is far from my original vision, but given the options on this island beggars can't be choosers and Brad even said he liked it, and I know he'll tell me the truth. I tried on ALL my dresses for him and at the end he said "ehhh, no. Go buy something." And buy I did!

And here is Jade, stuffed into her dress that is now too small for her. It feels like just yesterday that it fit her. Getting big too fast! Looks like I need to do some shopping for her too. ;)
And we made some exciting plans for the end of the month! Here's a clue... we are going to the country where pho is from!