Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review - January

This year Dustin got smart. When Dustin took off this year he had a plan. I tend to read more books (and more pages for our competition) in the colder months. Add in the fact that he's not with me and I have plenty of time to attack my reading list. But this year he executed a plan.

He took the charger for my Nook.

Halfway through Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion my battery went kaput. No more. Ah! What did people do before there were electronic media?! Oh, wait. The library.

Iwakuni has a pretty great library. I feel like there is a bigger selection overseas than there was at Camp Lejeune. I've spent a good amount of time in our library. Mostly because I haven't quite gotten used to the Nook. It just doesn't have the same aesthetic.

My plan for January was to finish four books including two rereads. I did finish four books; however, only two were from the original list. Below were some disappointments.

The first was not on the list, but I saw a preview for the motion picture that made me chuckle. So why not start the year with zombies and teenage love? After finishing the book (although short story might be a better classification) I have decided that I am more excited to see the movie, because I can add it to the list of movies-that-are-better-than-their-books. It wasn't great. Fun premise and could have been something better, but I felt like it lacked direction. The author built up characters with great detail and then rushes to finish the main plot within a few chapters.

I have been recommended to read this book so many times and I just kept putting it off. For good reason, it's a pain. The foreword praises the author for perfectly capturing the accent and time period of Louisiana in the middle of the 20th century. I'm from the South and I had difficulty following some of the slang. This is another book coming to theaters with Zach Galifianakis in the lead role. Again, I'm looking forward to the movie if only to see how they translate Ignatius to the big screen.

On to month two! Dustin, bring it on.

Monday, January 28, 2013

I miss...

....Dustin. But that's not what this post is about. Recently some friends caught a quick flight to where our husbands are relaxing training. I found it interesting that they chose to eat at a Macaroni Grill - out of all the tasty foreign options! Unfortunately my schedule didn't work out that I could join this past weekend, but I'm hoping for a trip myself. We shall see... but again, not what this post is about.

What foods would you miss if you lived outside of the United States? It's hard to answer that until you know what your options are in another country. I find it interesting to to see what you can get here and what is generally not available. This doesn't include things that we can buy at the Commissary, because that's just shipped from the States. Out in town is another story. For instance, if you love Doritos you are in luck. M&Ms? Snickers bars? No problem. Pringles? Got 'em. Even Snyder's pretzels are here. ColaCola appears to be universal and a major supporter of baseball (no surprise). But root beer? No way! Butterfinger? Three Musketeers? Nope.

One positive aspect of the food selection are the varying flavors. In the United States a KitKat is year-round and any specialty flavors are seasonal. In Japan you can find green tea and wasabi KitKats anytime.

I recently had a coworker list all the things she missed from the United States. She spent a semester as a foreign exchange student in New York and left with a love of all the food. Her list cracked me up and we spent a good half hour trying to describe the tastes and flavors to another Japanese coworker. Her list: marshmallows, Swiss Miss cocoa mix, Pop-Tarts, Aunt Jemima syrup, microwave popcorn, and Lucky Charms cereal.

What would you miss?

Friday, January 25, 2013


It can be difficult to keep up with news and daily events back in the States. Dustin and I usually watch a day-old morning news program while getting ready, but it is mostly fluff. I'm glad we live in such a technologically connected world, otherwise I would have no clue what the status of our nation was day to day. Thank you Internet! Recently, however, I began acquiring updated events from a new source.

The public toilets in my office building.

Yep, every day when I shut the door for some personal time I get three updated messages from the Pacific Command. Not sure who is responsible for updating the daily toilet report, but I really like it. I mean, really, it's about time our government got on board and provided bathroom reading materials. (Just kidding, for all you literal-os out there!)

North Korea is a repeat offender on my toilet report. Updates on the China-Japan battle for the Senkaku Islands is another common message.

Today's report included an update on the USS Guardian that has been stuck on a protected reef in the Philippines. The images that accompanied the paragraph-long snippet were so striking so I though I would share:

(Know who took these? Help me give a photo credit.)

Having been a part of the military family for a few years I can honestly say - someone is in a lot of trouble.

Monday, January 7, 2013

"He left us!"

Today is officially the first Monday in January. Now this may not have any significance to you, but for me it brings on the worst pattern ever. Dustin left for training today. This marks the fourth time he has left at the beginning of the year. Yes, I hate Januaries. The first reaction Zero and I have is panic. "He left us! He left us!"

Being a military spouse has many positives. I get to live in amazing places and meet some of the most amazing people. My military family helps when I feel like the world is against me. Over the years I have developed a routine that helps me get through these tough times.
Step 1: Cry absurdly. I mean honky-snotty hiccup inducing tears. Get it out. We've got stuff to do.
Step 2. Watch The Notebook. Not because it is sad or a romantic love story, but because when they get back together in the rain after the boat ride is your motivation. You will have a great embrace when he returns. This allows you to practice looking pretty while doing it.
Step 3. Everything will break. Seriously. The first time my husband deployed everything broke in our house. Hurricane-force winds dented our garage. Our toilet stopped receiving water. I had two flat tires while driving to work. So roll up your sleeves and have many Rosie the Riveter moments.
Step 4. Develop a routine. Walk the dog, do the dishes, go for a run. Create a routine filled with all the things you want to do. Watch trashy television, eat peanut butter with a spoon, and wear pajamas all day.
Over the next couple of months Dustin will enjoy the wonderful tropical climate the South Pacific. That's okay, because I have a routine that will make this time fly by!
Happy First Monday of 2013!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Must Reads - 2013

Another year has come to an end and that means another chance to beat Dustin in our annual reading competition also comes to an end. Although this year's competition was bittersweet. Yes, I read more books and pages than my loving husband, but I didn't reach my individual goal. It was a slow year for reading. In fact, the last book I read was Anne Rice's The Wolf Gift back in September.

Yes, September! Too much Facebook, video games, and magazines. Although I did get through a large stack of magazines that have been accumulating on the "mail table." Seven issues of National Geographic, seventeen issues of Adventist Review, and three Women's Health - too bad those pages don't count.

This past year we opened the competition up to include our friend Kevin. Honestly, I thought this would be an easy win. But then I forgot the quite lengthy Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Dustin has been reading them for years and is quite excited for the final book to come out this spring. Kevin reread the entire series - all 19,000+ pages and left me in the dust for 2012's competition.

Beginner's luck.

So this year I am taking a different approach to my book reading. Like the dieter who plans his meals for the week, I have mapped out my literary adventures for the first quarter. This will give me some structure (which my A-type personality agrees with) and make sure I stay on progress to slaughter surpass both my husband, Kevin, and any others who dare to join the challenge.

Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey (annual reread)
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks - I've read all his works. Might as well keep it up.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (annual reread)

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

King of Heists by J North Conway
Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

I am a woman with a plan. Although I should point out that it is already five days into January and I've not read a countable page. I am taking recommendations for second quarter. I'm interested in J.K. Rowling's new adult novel, but want to wait until more reviews come in.

Until then - I am off to go snuggle up with Zero and a good book!