Sunday, February 24, 2008

Searching for Seoul

On a whim, we decided...enough of this confinement nonsense. We're getting outta town! We leave for Seoul, Korea this Wednesday for a 6 day whirlwind adventure. Actually we planned this a few days before the infamous Order. Nevertheless, the timing couldn't be better. People are going a little batty in confinement. (Is it just me or are things in the world going a little batty this week? Or am I just more glued to CNN than usual? Serbia? Turkey in Iraq? Billion dollar planes falling form the sky??

Anyway, John got us tickets to an LA Galaxy v. FC Seoul game! I hope that Becks graces us with his royal presence and that Donovan locates and dusts off his mojo. We have pretty much devoured the Lonely Planet tour book in the past 4 hours. Any suggestions from you world travelers? Ellen? I can't wait for my authentic Korean massage....

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Okinawa in the Spotlight

So, in case you are not aware, our pleasant little island has been in the international news quite a bit this week, and not for it's lovely scenery. A 38 year-old marine is accused of raping a 14 year-old Okinawan girl. As you can imagine, the Japanese are quite upset about this, and calling for the higher ups to control their boys. They are also calling for apologies from pretty much everyone, save G. Dub. In response, the head of all American forces in Japan has issued an order that no military personnel is allowed to go anywhere but home or to the base. The order applies to all military dependents too, on threat of deportation. So, basically, simply because John and I are not yet married, I have slipped through the legal loophole, and am the only American in sight that can still go to the grocery store or walk my dog (if I had a dog). The order is indefinite, meaning, it could be a WHILE before John can accompany me to Sushi Zen.

Unfortunately, the people who will suffer around here are our great neighborhood eateries. We have gotten friendly with several restauranteurs in our little town, and they will be forced to shut their doors (indefinitely) because a large portion of their business comes from Americans.

This island has over 50,000 Military members. That does not include spouses and children. That is a whopping lot of people and their are bound to be bad seeds. Especially when these guys are plucked from their small towns at the green age of 18 and sent to a foreign country. Thank god I didn't have a commanding officer at the age of 18. Doubt he/she would have given me leave for wednesday nights in Tijuana. Not to compare my youthful indiscretions with this guy, I mean, I don't know why anyone would do this.

Anyway, I guess my point is, it's really a shame that the Americans who are here are getting this bad rap in the international media. It's a shame that our japanese friends in town will have to close their restaurants for a while. It's a shame that John can't walk a block to the beach with me (seriously, he can't.)

We'll keep you posted.


Here's a great recent photo of my 14 year-old brother Anthony surfing. Isn't he amazing!? Hope you're enjoying your day!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Traveling to a foreign country and moving to a foreign country are two very different experiences. When traveling, your senses are open to the smells, tastes and sights in a voracious way. You want to uncover new details at every turn. What a disappointment it would be if one day of your vacation were the same as the next! I particularly like to gauge the newness of a place by the differences in the foliage. Even driving to San Francisco from Los Angeles, freshly planted palm trees are replaced by oaks and redwoods that suggest a more seasoned presence to the land. The damp smell of the redwoods subtly linger with you your entire trip.

I noticed lately that I have not approached Okinawa with that wide-eyed wonder. Stressors have been blocking my senses. (Well that, and two weeks of avian flu.) My priorities have been 1. where and how to buy food, 2. how to set up my jewelry studio and keep business running smoothly, 3. make friends, 4. recreate my old life....just, My guard is up more than I would like as I try to get my bearings. I think this is probably a natural reaction to being surrounded by people with whom it's nearly impossible to communicate. Language is really a barrier. I think that's why they say that blind people are separated from "things" but deaf people are separated from "people". Hand gestures only go so far, and in my recent experience, they don't go very far at all.

For almost two months, I have been mingling in silence with the Japanese. I could say "thank you" and make sure to pepper my interactions with lots of bowing to show respect. Then, this week, miraculously enough and thanks to my classes, I am actually starting to understand the language! I can understand what the lady on the loudspeaker at the grocery store says. I can catch bits of conversations of people walking by. I have so far to go, but with each new lesson, I feel the tension release. I'm coming off my guard bit by bit. As the stress dissipates, my senses are coming back to life, and I am getting more out of the experience each day.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day

Hope you are spending Valentine's Day with the one(s) you love!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Fishy Heaven

Thank you to all of you who inquired about my health and sent me well-wishes this past week (Dad and Judi). Well, at least my readership is up! I'm feeling much better and am prepared to reemerge in Okinawan life.

Any of you who know John know that he is a friend to all creatures great and small. I can leave for the afternoon and return to find him canoodling with Gunner our cat. Gunner is lying there, totally wiped out and John is covered in white fur.

He takes great pleasure in gardening, making sure the eggplants are well-nourished and the tomato plants are not collapsing under their own weight (I tend to think of this as a problem solved by darwinism, and if the plant can't stand up of its own accord, well, maybe tomatoes should go the way of the dinosaurs. This is why I'm never asked to house- or pet-sit. But I digress...

John "the kindhearted" is a pinch of of St. Francis and a dash of Horse Whisperer, affectionately calling every living thing "Buddy" - from glow worms to birds, to, well, tomato plants. "Hey buddy, you gettin' enough sunlight?" "Hey buddy, is that kibble tasty?"

This past month, we've been fish-sitting for Mortachai, Lauren's beta fighting fish. Poor Mortachai was nameless until John christened him. Thinking how boring it must be to swim in circles around his fish bowl, John constructed a "Lighthouse of Luxury" from a plastic water bottle. Now Mortachai towers above of his bowl and experiences life from a whole new perspective. You should have seen how excited he was when Mortachai actually swam up the tower. As John put it earlier, "I blew his little fishy mind!"

He's now researching and developing a kitty levitation mechanism so Gunner can join us at the dinner table. That's all we need...Gunner and Mortachai at eye-level.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Falling off the wagon

I love the topic of health. It's one of my hobbies. I love the idea of eastern medicine and pure foods that heal. I believe in the idea of mind over matter, and healing oneself. It just makes more sense to me than doping up on pills.

I once went to an MD in Beverly Hills for back/shoulder pain and based on my x-rays, he suggested surgery to relieve my pain. I was 25 years old. A couple years later, I went to an acupuncturist twice and I was pain free for months. The same acupuncturist put a needle in my knee, and instantly dissolved the headache I'd been nursing for three days. He could tell I had a headache based on the tension in my leg, and I literally felt my headache melt away.

I suppose this suspicion of western medicine also stems from my experience working in Phen-phen and Vioxx litigation. I am inherently skeptical of pharmaceutical companies and the notion that they have my best interests at heart. Healthy people are not where the money is made.

I've been obsessed with diet since I was young. I'm on film at the age of 8 at Nikki's birthday party saying "no ice cream on my cake please, I'm on a diet." You'd think that a statement like that stemmed from some serious mommy-issues, but my mom was never on my case about appearance - quite the opposite. Looking back, I may have been obsessed with the idea that I was able to control my weight by what I ate. That same obsession has thankfully evolved past the superficial into the idea of controlling my own health by what I eat. I love raw food. I get a little buzz after I drink a glass of spinach juice, flavored with carrots, apple and ginger. I think of how it's healing my lungs from years of smoking, or my eyes, for weeks of sleeping in my contacts. There is no ailment that a healthy diet can't fix.

Okinawans are famous for their health. They have more Centurians than any other country. The elderly are extremely active, and the Okinawan diet is "of the earth" meaning not the non-fat, lo-cal, nutrient-free stuff that American's consider health food. It seems the perfect environment for me to learn more about the natural state of health.


It is a lot easier to ride on the high horse when you're not choking on your own snot. This flu is sapping my will to live and my ability to breathe. I've completely irrigated my nasal cavity with warm salt water, I've meditated, I've harnessed my Chi... I'm now raiding the medicine cabinet, and I will not be shamed.

Exactly what I was looking for...FloNase. "FloNase" for pete's sake! As I spray this stuff up my nose, I know it is killing my brain cells, and that I'm slowly building my addiction to it. It is putting my reproductive abilities in question, and perhaps taking years off my life (the years mercifully left by Philip Morris). I know that it is actually doing nothing to cure my flu.

However, I can now breathe freely in 45 second increments. ahhhhhh. I'm kneeling at Glaxo-Smith-Kline's alter. I will pay for this heresy, I have not doubt. I'm going to have to drink a lot of spinach juice as soon as I can actually consume fluids again.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Old wives' tale proven true #39: Wet hair will make you sick.

Old wives' tale proven true #39, subsection b(2): Camping in February with wet hair will make you very sick.

I'm out of commission here for a while. Send well wishes to

Also, happy voting, chickens. YES YOU CAN.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I always imagine myself the outdoorsy type. However, I don't think Thanksgiving Day walks in Woodside and bike rides through Torrey Pines qualify me for this description. Two years ago when I went camping in Joshua Tree, CA, in freezing cold December, I brought a comforter, an extra sweatshirt, and a bottle of water. It is my friends' girl scout training that has kept me alive on occasions like this. Nevertheless, I do love camping. This past summer camping in Catalina, having learned my lesson, I came fully prepared with bags of food, a cooler, and several pieces of luggage, along with a large tip for the guy who drove my items from the dock up the hill to my cabin and restocked my firewood. Luxury camping at it's finest.

So on our camping trip this weekend, I was determined to be prepared and to tough it out, considering I was with some seasoned outdoorsmen, woman and dogs. We drove to an island (over a bridge) to a very secret little slice of heaven. Think coconuts, suntan lotion, swaying palm trees. And then add about 10,000 gallons of gushing rain. Here's a photo of what it looked like when we left town. Would you go camping on a day like this?

We got to the beach just as the sun was going down. Like McGyver trying to disassemble a ticking bomb, we got that tent set up in about 1.5 minutes. Unfortunately it was about .5 minutes too late, and it filled with water before we could get the rain shield on. It was a cold and shivery evening. Despite 2 quickfire logs, and a bag of easylite charcoal, we were unable to start a fire and burned through two lighters. All things considered, it was a pretty good trip, and I can't wait to return in the spring.

By the light of his flashlight, John saw this prehistoric bug cross his path. The picture doesn't do it justice. The body alone was 3 inches long.

Here is the beach where we camped. This one is worth clicking to see in it's full size:

Friday, February 1, 2008


Thank God for the internet. I mean really. It's almost as if I'm not on an island in the middle of Southeast Asia. Funny that some people thought I would come down with "island fever" since this island is only about 45 miles long and 5-20 miles wide. Considering I stayed within a traffic-imposed 4-mile radius of my apartment in Los Angeles, I don't even notice the difference.

With more time on my hands than I've been used to in a long time, I have discovered a whole new world of blogs... I'm obsessed with the MOST recent news posts, play by play of candidate knock-down drag outs. Then there are design blogs, art, fashion, architecture, health, and blogs that randomly peek into interesting people's lives. So voyeuristic. So wonderful. It's like having and endless supply of beautiful glossy magazines delivered to my door everyday! Anyone who's ever lived with me and my mammoth stacks of magazines can understand how this makes me feel. Especially since the Post office has taken it upon itself to RETURN my magazines since I am not yet a military dependent. And my orders. And my forwarded mail. And my bank statements. Yep, until we get married, I get no mail. And so I say, once again, thank God for the internet.

I particularly like the cooking and raw food sites. Here is a great raw site....I made her raw mexican feast the other night, complete with vegan raw meat and cheese sauce... yum yum! For being a carnivore, John sure is open minded about my raw "cooking" and even liked my raw nut cheese. Hope you have a good weekend!